Francis Joyon: “I’m demanding everything possible from the boat and myself”

We knew that he was motivated and determined and keen to do well in this Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. We might have wondered about the ability of his twelve year old boat and indeed the sailor’s ability to surpass what he has already achieved with so many ocean and round the world successes. At the start of this fifth day of racing in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, Francis Joyon has answered those questions quite directly. Yes, IDEC SPORT can keep up with the pace set by more sophisticated, lighter flying machines. And yes, Francis at the age of 62, remains the Joyon we knew from his round the world records, remaining the king of the helm, always able to get the most out of his faithful boat. Often in excess of thirty knots, constantly firing up his machine, never leaving the helm, enjoying what is going on around him…  Francis is doing it the Joyon way. Perfectly in control and in record breaking mode.

“Sleeping and eating are all over the place at the moment.” With his calm quiet voice, as if he enjoying a joke talking about the life of a solo sailor, has been in the trade winds since yesterday. Francis Joyon is back in legendary shape. The sailor’s sailor at one with his boat. They whisper sweet words to each other about going too fast and flying over the waves. Joyon has been giving it his all for five days. Thanks to his determination and fighting spirit, Macif, with sails designed to do well in this Route du Rhum, just cannot shake him off.

Francis Joyon is completely immersed in the task that he gave himself, trying to show that his IDEC SPORT, the holder of the round the world record with a time of forty days, can still show what she’s got racing against the new generation of flying machines. A race against time. A battle for the history books. This Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe is the sort of challenge that Joyon the sailor and Joyon the man thrives on. He turns up just where you don’t expect him, when everyone said he had no chance. That is what feeds his persistence. Francis has taken up the challenge, working on his strategy in the hesitating trade winds. Showing his perseverance and resilience offering that extra effort in the aerodynamic jet speeds achieved by IDEC SPORT. Whether at the helm or at the winch, his hard work spurs her on.

“I’m demanding everything from the boat and myself,” he admitted, while remaining strangely calm and relaxed after five days of non-stop effort. “I’ m spending a long time at the helm in the warm sunshine and the trade winds. I realise how lucky I am to be here and to be able to sail as I like doing. The boat is in good condition and the sailor too. Our foils at speeds of thirty knots offer that amazing extra little power. They are designed for such high speeds. The float rises up, but IDEC remains well behaved… It’s all about balance at the helm.”

Joyon is once again looking ahead to that important gybe that he will have to carry out shortly to get even more speed on his way to Guadeloupe. “Macif is sailing in a nice corridor of wind. Were not sure if we should leave them. There may be some tactical plays here, but as it remains so close…”

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