Francis Joyon enters the history books of the Route du Rhum

Absolutely incredible! Completely mad! After six days of chasing François Gabart, it all came to a climax in the last crazy section of the race around Guadeloupe, where they had to deal with the wind shadow and calms.

At the Basse Terre buoy leading by seventeen minutes, it looked like MACIF had it in the bag. There were just thirty miles left to go in winds that were dying away. 30 miles of suspense and excitement. Between the south of the island and the finish, Francis Joyon, sailing close to land, managed to get that little bit extra from a puff of wind. Although slowed by a fishing net caught in his rudders, the skipper of IDEC Sport kept the advantage. With two miles to go to the line, the wind dropped away again. MACIF, slightly faster caught up again and the two rivals found themselves side by side at three knots. There was one more tricky change of tack to go. Francis remaine calm and managed to come out on top finishing at 23:21:47 local time on Sunday 11th November just 7 minutes and 8 seconds ahead of the blue boat. A gap which means that this eleventh edition of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe and its winner, Francis Joyon will enter the history books.

The skipper of IDEC Sport took 7 days 14 hours 21 minutes and 47 seconds to cover the 3542 mile course at an average speed of 19.42 knots. He sets a new record time for the course beating the time set in 2014 by Loïck Peyron by 46 minutes and 45 seconds.  At the age of 62, the holder of the Jules Verne Trophy had an exceptional race showing off his physical and mental skills. Right up until the end, he gave it his all to grab victory from his young rival. After seven attempts, he has won the first Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe in his career. Brilliant!

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