It wasin the darkness of the Breton evening (precisely, at 9:14 p.m. yesterday) that one man began his battle to become the greatest sailor in history. Francis Joyon, the man who holds the record for solo circumnavigation of the globe (57 days, 13 hours and 54 minutes), accrued in 2008 aboard IDEC, passed with his new maxitrimaran the imaginary line connecting the Créac’h lighthouse on l’île d’Ouessant, and the Cape Lizard lighthouse.
TO ENTER HISTORY
The goal is to win the Jules Verne Trophy, raffled off for the fastest manned, nonstop, unassisted round-the-world sailing accomplished over an official WSSRC orthodromic distance of 21 600 nautical miles (40 003 km). The time to beat is that of Loïck Peyron and his crew: in 2012, aboard Banque Populaire V they took 45 days 13 hours 42 minutes and 53 seconds at an average speed of 19.75 knots. If he succeeds in the feat (he had already tried at the end of 2015, unsuccessfully), thus becoming the fastest man around the world both solo and crewed, the 60-year-old Joyon will occupy an even more important space in the sailing Olympus of which he is already a part.
FRANCIS JOYON’S LOYALISTS
Few, but very select team members on board: Bernard Stamm (who previously won the Jules Verne aboard Bruno Peyron’s Orange II in 2005), Gwénolé Gahinet (he won the Mini Transat and is the son of the late Gilles, Tabarly’s black beast and winner of two Solitaire du Figarò), Alex Pella (The Race, second at the Mini, first among Class 40s at the Route du Rhum), Clement Surtel (Franck-Yves Escoffier’s grandson, sailed on IDEC Sport when it belonged to Franck Cammas and was called Groupama and on Orange), Boris Herrmann (two rounds of the world, three times passed Cape Horn, 2009 winner of the GOR), and, as ground support, Marcel Van Triest (five world tours behind him).
The maxi trimaran IDEC Sport is the former Groupama III of Franck Cammas (later to become Banque Populaire VII): launched in 2006, it held the Jules Verne from 2010 to 2012 and won, among many successes, the last two editions of the Route du Rhum. Made by the team of Van Péteghem and Lauriot Prévost (VPLP), it is 31.5 meters long and 22.50 meters wide. It weighs 18,000 kilograms with a draft of 5.70 m. The mast is 33.5 meters high and the hull structure is made of carbon and Nomex. Upwind it has a sail area of 411 sq. m., at the carriers of 678.
FRANCIS JOYON IN BRIEF
The fastest loner around the world was born in 1956 in Hanches, on the agricultural plain of the small and remote Eur et Loire region. Francis Joyon is the current holder of the all-time solo round-the-world record (57 days, 13 hours and 54 minutes), accrued in 2008. He had already won the record in 2004 aboard the trimaran Idec, shattering the previous record set in 1989. He would be beaten the following year (by only one day) by Britain’s Ellen MacArthur. But Joyon does not lose heart and, aboard the new 30-meter-long Idec, with an average speed of 19.09 knots achieves an achievement that still endures. A loner at sea and in life, he is a shy and reserved type: a “sponsor chaser” who, in the world of ocean sailing, ends up being a romantic stereotype.