This time, it’s certain. IDEC SPORT will be tackling the Jules Verne Trophy from today, Saturday 21st November. Francis Joyon has just given the green light, meaning the start is imminent. The big red trimaran will be leaving the port of Brest this afternoon to cross the start line off Ushant this evening. A few hours before the start, which looks like being very rough, Francis Joyon explained the situation.

Francis, this time it’s a green light? Will IDEC SPORT be setting off around the world today?
“Yes! We just decided to set off, as we could see there was the possibility of taking advantage of an area of low pressure in the South Atlantic, so we’ll be setting off today with that in mind. We shall be setting off on a very windy day: 30 to 35 knots of wind in Brest, a lot more over Ushant. The conditions at the start aren’t going to be easy…”

No time to sit back and look at the situation, you’re diving straight in?
“Yes, we’ll be setting off with one or two reefs. We are going to have to be cautious in the Bay of Biscay where the seas is very rough with a 4-5m swell forecast and the sea may remain cross, because we had a SW’ly gale the day before yesterday and now we are in a northerly air flow. We will immediately be into the heart of the action.”

The record to the Equator is possibleDoes that mean you are hoping for a good time to the Equator?
“Yes indeed. We hope to beat the reference time to the Equator and it could take us fewer then five and a half days, if everything fits into place.”

How do you feel with just a few hours to go?
“We’re giving the boat one final check-up. To ensure we haven’t forgotten anything and that all the supplies are in place, that everyone has put their passport in the safety locker, lots of little details like that. The crew is happy. They are all used to such starts and are happy when they are at sea…”

Can you tell us about the weather situation?
“The trip to the Equator looks relatively simple. The weather seems settled and we don’t have any questions, apart from what happens tonight with a small area of low pressure, which could cause the wind to drop off in the Bay of Biscay. We mustn’t get caught up in that. But more importantly, we are looking further ahead down to the position of the St Helena High, the pattern of low pressure areas leaving Brazil for the Cape of Good Hope. It’s a mixture of all that that led us to take the decision to set off today.”

Are the doubts you had over the past few days, in particular concerning the situation in the South Atlantic now behind you?
“50% of the doubts have gone, and it’s still a bit of a gamble. We can’t be certain of everything, but we are gambling on a very strong likelihood. In the past, some projects had to wait for months and months to find the right weather opportunity. We have said we have to grab this opportunity.

At what time will you be casting off on IDEC SPORT to head for the start line off Ushant?
“Mid or late afternoon…”

The crew of IDEC SPORT
– Francis Joyon (FRA)- Bernard Stamm (SUI)- Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA)- Alex Pella (ESP)- Clément Surtel (FRA)- Borris Herrmann (GER)

The Jules Verne Trophy in short: The crewed voyage around the world via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin, Horn). 26,400 miles on the theoretical route. The time to beat (Loïck Peyron’s crew: 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds). Average speed required: 20 knots on the Great Circle Route.

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