Tea Route: Back on crushing pace
Published on February 16th, 2020
(February 16, 2020; Day 30) – Francis Joyon and the crew of the 31.5m IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran reached the Portuguese islands of the Azores, closing in on successfully establishing a new Tea Route record from Hong Kong to London. After falling behind the needed pace a week ago, they are now over 400nm ahead.
The team is passing through the middle of the islands between Flores and Faial, reveling in conditions which arrived yesterday to allow their multihull to get back up to high speeds. In a 20-knot NW’ly wind, the red and white maxi-trimaran is advancing at 32 knots towards the English Channel approaches, which are still some 1200 miles ahead of her bows and which the crew expect to reach by early on February 18.
Once in the English Channel, their course continues to the Thames Estuary and heading to the finish line for the Tea Route under the QE II Bridge. The crew are getting an idea now of their ETA and can hardly wait to get back ashore after their long voyage from Hong Kong and a month of sailing. If IDEC SPORT maintains this pace, they will easily eclipse the record by nearly one week.
After starting from Hong Kong on January 18, to beat the Tea Route record of 36:02:37:00 set in 2018 by the Italian Giovanni Soldini and the crew of the MOD70 Maserati trimaran, Joyon’s team of Christophe Houdet, Antoine Blouet, Bertrand Delesne, and Corentin Joyon must finish in London before 1036hrs UTC on February 23.
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