At the age of 60, he is preparing to make history (for the umpteenth time)


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Watch out guys, because Francis Joyon is about to make history again.
A few days ago he was ousted from the throne in terms of the nonstop solo circumnavigation of the world(by Thomas Coville), but now the 60-year-old from Hanches, aboard the maxi trimaran Idec Sport is close to a new “hit” at the Jules Verne Trophy, awarded to the person who completes the round-the-world crewed non-stop race in the least amount of time (departure from the imaginary line connecting the Créac’h lighthouse on l’île d’Ouessant and the Cape Lizard lighthouse, dubbing the Cape of Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn and returning to Brittany, over an official WSSRC orthodromic distance of 21 600 nautical miles, 40 003 km).

He left 38 days ago from Ouessant, Brittany, and finds himself less than 2,000 miles from the finish line, off the Canary Islands, having crossed the Equator for the second time with a lead of 2 days, 22 hours and 36 minutes over record holder Loick Peyron (who in 2012 on Banque Populaire V took 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds). Idec Sport is currently sailing with a lead of about 1,250 miles on Peyron’s “projected” course and is flying at 30 knots toward Brittany. You can follow Idec’s navigation here.

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), Sebastien Audigane And, as a support from the ground, Marcel Van Triest (a personal story with 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.

The ocean recordman was born in 1956 in Hanches, in the agricultural plain of the small and remote Eur et Loire region. Francis Joyon is the former overall record holder of the solo round-the-world race (57 days, 13 hours and 54 minutes), accrued in 2008, beaten by Coville a few days ago. 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 doesn’t lose heart, and aboard the new 30-meter-long Idec, with an average speed of 19.09 knots achieves an accomplishment that has endured, carved in history, for nearly 9 years (and trust me, in this world of ever-changing technology, that’s not a few). 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.



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