The IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran made it back to her home port of La Trinité sur Mer on Tuesday morning after a quick 8-day trip from Pointe-à-Pitre. After returning by plane from Guadeloupe, Francis Joyon was quite naturally present in Quiberon Bay to welcome home his boat and crew comprising of his closest colleagues, including his son fils Corentin, Antoine Blouet, Christophe and Aubin Houdet as well as Bertrand Delesne, a newcomer to the team. Pleased to be able to bring to an end his triumphant Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, Francis is looking ahead now with a well deserved period in the yard for his boat, a few PR operations and a surprise-packed 2019 season.
Christophe Houdet leading the crew
A long time friend, and companion from Francis’s days in the ORMA racing circuit, Christophe Houdet had the tough job of being in charge of this delivery trip. “I entusted Christophe with the tricky task of watching over my young crew,” said a smiling Francis Joyon when his IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran, the triple winner of the Route du Rhum returned to La Trinité sur Mer. “He did a fine job and the boat is in perfect condition. The youngsters aboard really enjoyed themselves and Corentin even got a personal record at the helm of 41 knots!”
A fast, yet safe delivery trip
After setting sail from Pointe à Pitre on 19th November and on the advice of Christian Dumard, one of the two routers, IDEC SPORT quickly headed up to the series of low-pressure systems to the north of the French West Indies near Bermuda. After a textbook crossing of a ridge of high pressure with a V shaped movement to be able to tack at the right moment on the northern edge of the high, the maxi- trimaran accelerated away in excess of 35 knots towards the south of the Azores, where they had to slow down to let the worst weather associated with a low-pressure front pass over, before crossing the Rochebonne plateau, which was whipped up with a huge swell. “The team did a great job,” said Francis. “The lads enjoyed themselves while doing what I told them by not letting the float rise up too much or the central hull take off, by ensuring they remained sensible in their choice of sails.”
Bertrand Delesne joins the IDEC SPORT team
The sailor, Bertand Delesne, who unluckily was forced to retire from the Route du Rhum in the Class40 category, clearly enjoyed getting back out there. “Bertrand has what it takes to be able to join my team,” added Francis. “Like all the sailors used to sailing in Minis, he has a lot of technical know-how and a lot of skills in everything to do with ocean racing. He makes it look easy and remains modest.” Bertrand was completely won over by the boat and the IDEC SPORT project in general: “Behind what looks like so simple, Francis’s method is very professional and nothing is left to chance,” explained Bertrand. “Christophe Houdet is an incredible person and fantastic sailor. Corentin and Antoine know the boat by heart and we got on perfectly well together.”
Out of the water on Friday for her winter refit in Vannes
As soon as the weather allows, IDEC SPORT will be lifted out of the water to head for the Multiplast yard in Vannes for her winter refit. “The nets are twelve years old, which is the age of the boat,” explained Francis, “So it is time to change them. We’ll be examining the boat from top to bottom, inspecting the daggerboard and all of the cables.”
Francis Joyon reeadily admits that this Route du Rhum wore him out after all the tension at the start and during the race. “In the beginning, this race was seen as Mission Impossible,” he added. “Only Sébastien Picault, who prepared the boat, believed in it and imagined what would happen at the finish. He told me when he found out that Macif was having problems that I would catch him to the north of Guadeloupe, and would overtake him at the finish. It’s still hard to believe what happened. I’m pleased to have made those who support me so happy, starting with Patrice Lafargue. The future belongs to flying boats. I’m convinced of that. But we still have to work on the shape of these boats and personally, I’m keen on looking towards boats that have less of an impact on the environment, using materials that respect the planet and its resources more and are more accessible to a greater number of sailors.”
Francis Joyon and his partner will shortly be announcing the new programme for the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran.