As Francis Joyon’s crew goes on stand-by, while they await abord the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran, we look back at the history of the Jules Verne Triophy. We discovered some symbolic numbers, which reveal just how difficult this race around the planet actually is.

66 This is the tiny number of sailors to have smashed at least once in their life the Jules Verne Trophy record time since 1993. Among them, a certain Bernard Stamm. Exactly ten years after doing it on Orange II (2005), he will be attempting to do the same aboard IDEC SPORT, alongside Francis Joyon. It would be great to see him enter the elite group of eleven sailors, who have accomplished this feat twice. From de Kersauson to Lemonchois and not forgetting Eliès, Coville and the others, there are only big names at this level.

32 hours. That was the difference. Next to nothing on the scale of a round the world voyage. That is the tiniest of times that separates Francis Joyon’s solo time from 2003 and the winning Jules Verne Trophy time by Olivier de Kersauzon and his crew of six in 1997. It was on the same boat, Sport Elec, which became the first IDEC… From that, going on to say that Francis is equivalent to a crew all by himself, is perhaps an affirmation too far.

45 days. The time it takes to get the Jules Verne Trophy. To be precise, the exact time to beat is 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

With Francis Joyon, there will be only six men on board, assisted by a router back on dry land (Marcel Van Triest, see the interview with him). Six is almost half as big as Franck Cammas’s crew, which beat the record on this very same boat in 2010, when they were eleven of them in all: ten sailors and a router, Sylvain Mondon.

20 knots on average. That bluntly is the target speed for IDEC SPORT, as the present record was achieved at 19.75 knots.

First aerial images of IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, training off Belle-Ile, Brittany, on october 19, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC
 Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

50,000 of our kilometers. That is the approximate distance IDEC SPORT has to sail around the world in less than 45 days. In nautical miles, the distance is 26,000, knowing that a mile is the equivalent to 1.852 km… and remembering that they always have to sail more than the theoretical distance. For example to get around the St Helena high or to choose the best wind angle to be as efficient as possible on the climb back up the Atlantic.

8 So far, only eight crews have managed to smash the round the world record. The Peyron family with their crews accounts for half of them, as Bruno smashed it three times and Loïck did it once and is the current record-holder. The other four crews were led by Olivier de Kersauzon (twice), Peter Blake and Franck Cammas.

1 minute. That is the minimum difference in time for the record to be ratified by the WSSRC, the international organisation, which looks after sailing records. That is why Francis Joyon says “If we beat it by one minute, we will have won”. It’s just an anecdote, but the number 1 is also the number of times the record has been smashed by a crew led by a sailor that wasn’t French. That was achieved by the late New Zelander, Peter Blake back in 1994.

10.25 That is the average number of sailors on board the boats on the eight winning attempts at the Jules Verne Trophy, since 1993. Having said that, it has increased since the start of the Century with more often 11, or even 13 or 14 aboard. IDEC SPORT with a crew of just 6 sailors is closer to what went on back in the 90s, when the first three victories were achieved by crews of 5, 8 and 7 men.

3 Adding together all the skippers and crewmen, only three sailors in the world have pulled off this amazing feat taking the Jules Verne Trophy on three occasions. They are Bruno Peyron (1993, 2002 and 2005), Ronan Le Goff (2002, 2005, 2010) and Florent Chastel (2002, 2005, 2012).

33 In metres, that is the height of IDEC SPORT’s small mast…, so it is not really that short. Particularly if it is necessary to send a man up there, as Francis was forced to do on several occasions on his solo triumph. Imagine hanging on at the top of a tube, which is as tall as a ten-storey building being shaken around by the movement of the sea…

16 Taking into account retirements due to damage and other failed attempts to improve on the time, this is the number of failures officially recognised over the Jules Verne Trophy route. In other words, this venture has statistically seen twice as many failures as successes (see the number 8). That just goes to show how tricky it really is.

34 This is the number of days gained between the first success in 1993 and the current time. If we look at the difference in average speeds, we can fully understand how much progress has been made by these boats: in two decades, we have gone from 12.62 knots to an average of 19.75 knots. For those, who love stats, that is a progression of 56.5%. Quite remarkable.

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