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Full Speed Ahead For IDEC SPORT

Published on January 24th, 2017

(January 24, 2017; Day 39; 22:00 FR) – Francis Joyon (FRA) and his five crew on the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT are in their home stretch in their bid to win the Jules Verne Trophy for fastest outright time around the world.

200 miles south of the Azores, IDEC SPORT is starting the final stretch of her round the world voyage in favorable winds, which they have managed to pick up, getting the timing just right ahead of a front associated with a low-pressure system.

With the speedo firmly stuck at thirty knots, Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Sébastien Audigane, Clément Surtel and Gwénolé Gahinet are on the home strait at the pace they set in the Southern ocean, maintaining high speeds, while remaining vigilant as they face the elements.

With just over 1000 miles to go to the finish, they are now expected on Thursday morning in Brest after forty days of racing against the clock, as they enter the final phase of the Jules Verne Trophy attempt.

“We’re very lucky, as the weather is slotting into place. I think Francis must have spoken to the isobars,” joked Bernard Stamm, who has every right to be pleased, with IDEC SPORT sailing smoothly on the North Atlantic swell under mainsail and gennaker in a 25-knot SSW’ly air stream. Approaching the Azores, everything is falling into place to allow them to continue to keep up the pace all the way to the coast of Brittany, as they sail practically on the direct route, clocking up miles in the most efficient way.

“We are entering a SW’ly air stream. It’s more or less a straight line at full speed to Ushant in strong winds. It’s up to us now to ensure we don’t make any mistakes. We won’t be putting our foot down like we did in the Indian. We want to preserve what we have built up, but it is great to finish at such high speeds. We’re all remaining focused not to take excessive risks with the gear, which needs to work properly until the finish. We are remaining very upbeat about this incredible weather opportunity,” added the Swiss skipper, who is about to finish his sixth round the world voyage.

“At the moment, what counts is going fast all the time to stay ahead of the front,” confirmed Francis Joyon, who is right to feel confident about what lies ahead. “We may have to change tack at some point. We’ll see. We’ll be passing quite close to Cape Finisterre before crossing the Bay of Biscay with the wind and the seas on the beam.”

Just like the five crewmen accompanying him on this round the world voyage, Joyon can also count on the qualities of IDEC SPORT and her ability to accelerate and keep up high speeds over long distances. They managed to stay on one tack for eleven days, which allowed them to clock up distances in excess of 800 miles a day in the hostile southern latitudes.

“We found out a lot about the boat during this voyage. She has made a lot of progress, because her sails are bigger, but also because we now know how to trim her more precisely to gain a few extra knots. She is an extraordinary boat, and is still at 100% of her potential with all her sails operational,” he explained, while remaining well aware of the obstacles that lie ahead and could endanger what they have achieved.

“By nature, I am very cautious, and until the line is crossed, we are not out of the woods. There are risks all the way to the finish. But we are well positioned in relation to the low and the weather should allow us to get to Brittany without hitch. We hope to finish in less than two days from now.”

As they approach Brittany, the final stretch of the record setting attempt, their latest 24 hour run of 681.11 nm has increased their lead to 1646.33 nm (+309.58 nm) ahead of the current time set in January 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew on the 40 VPLP-designed trimaran Banque Populaire V of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

Status as of 22:00 FR
Distance to Finish: 1047.00 nm
24 Hour Distance: 681.11 nm
24 Hour Speed Average: 28.4 knots
Ahead/Behind: +1646.33 nm


Note: The 24 hour speed record of 908.2 nm (37.84 knot average) was set in 2009 by Banque Populaire 5, a 131-foot trimaran skippered by Pascal Bidegorry (FRA).

The Jules Verne Trophy is a prize for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by any type of yacht with no restrictions on the size of the crew, starting and finishing between the Le Créac’h Lighthouse off the tip of Brittany and the Lizard Point in Cornwall.

After starting on November 16, Francis Joyon (FRA) and his five crew on the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT need to finish by 22:00:53 UTC on Monday January 30 to beat the current record set January 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew on the 40 VPLP-designed trimaran Banque Populaire V of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

Francis Joyon, Gwenole Gahinet, Clement Surtel, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Sebastien Audigane during the press conference of IDEC Sport prior to their 2nd attempt for the Jules Verne Trophy, crew circumnavigation non stop, on December 13th, 2016 in Paris - Photo Jean-Louis Carli / DPPI / IDEC

Francis Joyon (fourth from left) and his crew comprising Clément Surtel, Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet and Sébastien Audigane.

Jules Verne Trophy
Record to beat: 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds set by Loïck Peyron and his crew of 13 in January 2012 on the trimaran Banque Populaire V (40 m)
Average speed to beat: 19.75 knots
Course: around the world via the three capes, Good Hope, Leeuwin, Horn.
Great circle distance: 21,600 miles
Start and finish line between Ushant (Créac’h Lighthouse and The Lizard (Cornwall).

IDEC SPORT trimaran
Trimaran with foils
Designers: VPLP
Previous names: Groupama 3, Banque Populaire VII
Initial launch: June 2006
Length: 31.50 m
Beam: 22.50 m
Displacement: 15 t
Draught: 5.70 m
Mast height: 33.50 m
Structure: carbon-nomex


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