30 knots or nothing. That is the affectionate nickname Francis Joyon and his five men gave to the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran. The big red trimaran has once again confirmed her qualities.
In a SE’ly trade wind ideally blowing from astern of the boat, IDEC SPORT is able to progress on the direct route towards the Equator. She has begun this New Year in style clocking up 655 miles at an average speed of 27.3 knots. Even if she is still significantly behind the record holder, the gap has been reduced over the past 24 hours by 345 miles. The Equator is around 200 miles in front of them and should be crossed some time this afternoon, putting the boat ahead of her recent routings. Joyon and his troops, Alex Pella, Boris Herrmann, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet and Clément Surtel will have to deal with a transition zone between the SE’ly and NE’ly trade winds. The latter are well established and should enable the men to progress rapidly towards another hurdle, the Azores high, an area of calms that they are going to have to cross before reaching the very strong westerlies that are sweeping across Brittany from this weekend. 3400 miles from the finish off Ushant and with only five and a half days left to beat the record set by Banque Populaire V, Joyon and his men are not deceiving themselves. However, they are still fighting hard and will continue to push the boat all the way as they have been doing over the past 24 hours. In so doing they have already shown how the daring plan of setting off around the world aboard the giant traimaran fitted with a shorter mast designed for solo sailing and driven by just six men was a good one. The time achieved by this same boat in 2010 when she was in the colours of Groupama and skippered by Franck Cammas, was 48 days, 7 hours and 44 minutes. This seems like a perfectly honourable goal to aim for.