Good times along Mauritius Route
Published on November 4th, 2019
(November 4, 2019; Day 17) – As Francis Joyon and the 31.5m IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran seek to improve on the time for the 8800nm Mauritius Route between Port Louis (Brittany) and Port Louis (Mauritius), the huge improvement in the reference time between Port Louis (Brittany) and the Cape of Good Hope (2 days and 19 hours) achieved yesterday has not led Joyon to ease off or modify the pace.
The powerful low he has been speeding along on the edge of for six days still has the fuel required to allow him to improve still further on his performance as he prepares to bend his course north towards Mauritius.
“I am continuing with the same weather pattern in order to advance on the northern edge of this low,” Joyon confirmed. “During the night, I had a bit of a scare, when the wind dropped off suddenly to 14 knots. The skies were completely clear and I thought for a moment that the high had caught me. It was only a short worry, as the wind soon got up again, a bit lighter than during the past couple days, at around 25 knots.”
This means he can still speed along at 27-28 knots and maintain his huge lead of almost 1300 miles over the record pace. Reflecting back to 2009 when he set the current record, this next stage was particularly testing.
“I had to sail a long way east on the stretch down below South Africa,” remembers Francis. “This year, the weather pattern is much more favorable. I shall be maintaining these high speeds for another 930 miles, or for a day and a half, before turning left and climbing up the Indian Ocean towards Mauritius.”
Some brighter weather and a warmer atmosphere lie ahead for Joyon. “Christian (router Christian Dumard) suggested I carry out some gybes during the night to position myself in relation to the Agulhas Current and avoid the nasty waves coming towards me in this area. The wind turned to the south for a moment and the temperature dropped off. I now only have a 12-foot swell and IDEC SPORT is sailing smoothly.”
Joyon is over the moon and enjoying his sailing, and while he has made it all look so simple having to deal with the elements thrown at him, it has taken a lot of hard work and commitment, which from ashore seems absolutely incredible, but the skipper of IDEC SPORT has taken it all in his stride.
For the record:
The Mauritius Route solo record is an 8800nm course from Port Louis (Lorient) and Port Louis (Mauritius), and Francis is attempting to smash his own reference time of 26 days, 4 hours and 13 minutes set ten years ago. To improve on that time, he will have to finish before 1324hrs UTC on November 14.
IDEC SPORT Specifications
Architects: VPLP team (Van Péteghem-Lauriot Prévost)
Previous names: Groupama 3, Banque Populaire VII
Length: 31.50 m
Beam: 22.50 m
Displacement: 18,000 kg
Draught: 5.70 m
Mast height: 33.50 m
Upwind sail surface: 411 m2
Downwind sail surface: 678 m2
Initial launch date: June 2006
After the Mauritius Route, there will be three more record attempts, this time with a crew:
Act 2: Mauritius – Ho Chi Minh (3975 miles),
Act 3: Ho Chi Minh – Hong Kong (920 miles)
Act 4: Clipper Route between Hong Kong and London (13,000 miles).
Source: IDEC press