Suhaili and Idec Sport: the first and last queen of the world tour

In the beginning was Robin Knox-Johnston, who with his ketch Suhaili closed the Golden Globe Race (nonstop solo round-the-world race) in 1969 in 313 days at an average of 3.39 knots.

Francis Joyon

At the end of our story, which spans nearly 50 years of circumnavigation records is him, who yesterday became the undisputed hero, Francis Joyon, 60-year-old skipper of the maxi trimaran Idec Sport. With his crew (Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet, Alex Pella, Clement Surtel, Sebastien Audigane) he became the fastest man around the world, ever
. 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds at an average speed of 22.84 knots to make the nonstop crewed round-the-world trip (departing from the imaginary line connecting Créac’h Lighthouse on l’île d’Ouessant and 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) and thus win the coveted Jules Verne Trophy. Pulverized the previous record of Loick Peyron, who had taken 45 days with Banque Populaire V in 2012. But the crazy thing is the average speed on actual miles traveled (COG), 2.6412: 26.85 knots, an incredible pace.

But we said. An old 9.88-meter long keel twin-boat versus an ultratechnological three-hulled monster. Let’s get to know them, these two boats that entered history almost 50 years later: we will understand why Joyon, data in hand, went eight times faster than Knox-Johston (remembering alsothe fact that the Englishman was solo and Joyon was crewed).


Suhaili’s story is just as fascinating as the feat he performed. He was born in 1963 in Bombay, India. The design of this two-masted vessel of only 9.88 meters (13.40 with bowsprit bowsprit and aft structure) only 3.37 meters wide is by William Atkins. What is incredible is that Suhaili’s design dates back to 1923 and was inspired by Norwegian rescue boats designed by Colin Archer. It is built with precious but very heavy Burma teak, the long keel weighing two and a quarter tons and 1.67 m deep is made of iron. In 1965 Robin Knox Johnston, until then a naval officer, left India aboard Suhaili and reached England. In 1968, he set off on the Tour of the World, which he won and became the first boat in history to circumnavigate the globe non-stop. Suhaili becomes the most famous boat in the world. She sailed with mixed fortunes-in 1990 she dismasted in the middle of the Atalantic-until she prepared for a well-deserved rest when she became a British national monument at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. But her teak is suffering, and her owner, Knox Johnston, notices. So Suhaili is reborn to new life when he decides to restore her with his own hands and make her sail again. The “new” Suhaili is launched in November 2016.

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.



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