Departure time set for Tea Route Record
Published on January 16th, 2020
Francis Joyon will begin the final Act of the IDEC SPORT ASIAN TOUR at around 0900hrs UTC on January 18 with an attempt at the Tea Route Record on the 31.5m IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran. On this legendary route between Hong Kong and London, the time to beat on the 13,000nm course is 36:02:37.
His crew of four includes boat captain Bertrand Delesne, the assistants and crewmen, Antoine Blouet and Corentin Joyon, and his faithful friend, Christophe Houdet. Joyon will be sailing on the route he sailed to get to the Far East at the end of last year, but this time in the opposite direction and without stopping.
During his outward voyage he set a new record for the Mauritius Route between Brittany and Mauritius and two new reference times for the trips between Mauritius and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), and then between Vietnam and Shenzhen in China. His latest goal is to complete the voyage back to Europe in a time below that set by the 70-foot trimaran, Maserati and Giovanni Soldini’s crew of 36 days, 2 hours and 37 minutes, when they averaged 17.4 knots.
The route is largely characterized by the trade winds that the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran is looking forward to. “We shall be setting off in some decent conditions,” explained Joyon. “They are nothing special, but it does mean sailing downwind in the NE’ly trade winds as we head towards the Sunda Strait and the awesome calms that punished us so much on the way out here.
“It looks like it is going to be particularly calm around the Equator. Once into the Indian Ocean, there is the risk of a cyclone, where we could face average winds of 35 knots, but we will continue to sail downwind.”
Sailing the vast distances in the South and North Atlantic will as usual mean dealing with the large Saint Helena high pressure system in the South and the Azores high in the North, before we make our way right up the English Channel towards the Thames Estuary.
“This Tea Route is really the big one for us in our epic adventure,” added the French skipper. “Christian Dumard, our weather advisor, expects to see us reach the Cape of Good Hope within the record time. So, there should be a lot of suspense on the climb back up the Atlantic.”
The course begins with a crossing of the China Sea, followed by a passage through the Sunda Strait, a crossing of the Indian Ocean, the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope and the climb back up the South and North Atlantic, before they enter the English Channel and sail up the Thames to finish under the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge in London.
The time they will be aiming to beat of 36:02:37 has been held since it was set on February 23 2018 by the Multi70 Maserati skippered by the Italian Giovanni Soldini who covered the distance at an average speed of 17.4 knots.
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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
IDEC SPORT ASIAN TOUR
Act 1: Port Louis, Lorient – Port Louis, Mauritius (8800 nm) – 19:18:14:45
Act 2: Mauritius – Ho Chi Minh (3975 nm) – 12:20:37:56
Act 3: Ho Chi Minh – Hong Kong (870 nm) – 02:20:28:51
Act 4: Clipper Route between Hong Kong and London (13,000 nm).
Source: IDEC press