Two months after completing the round the world voyage in 47 days, the ‘ultime’ maxi-trimaran IDEC SPORT is getting ready to return. She will be back for the Guyader Grand Prix from 29th April – 1st May in Douarnenez. Francis Joyon will be taking some young windsurfers, kitesurfers and champions from other small, flying boats. Some people are going to be happy.

Francis, before looking forward to the Grand Prix, a brief word about the Indian Ocean record. The WSSRC has just ratified this with a time of exactly 7 days (0 hrs 0 minutes)*.  It’s amazing to be such a round figure…
“(Laughs) A lot of people have asked me about that. In fact, there’s a very simple explanation: our real time calculated by the GPS on board, was 56 minutes less, but for the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council, the international body, which manages and ratifies sailing records), it is based on position data – the data officially sent back to land. And because this data is only provided every hour during the round the world voyage, it was bound to be a round number. Like that, the record is going to be easy to remember, but for our next attempt, we’ll ask for more frequent data, as you never know…”

It was just over two months that you returned from the Jules Verne Trophy attempt, the round the world voyage you completed in 47 days 14 hours and 47 minutes. What’s been going on with IDEC SPORT and you since then?
“To begin with, we had a few days off to get some rest. Then, we started work on her without taking the boat out of the water with Clément (Surtel) and my son Corentin. We took everything apart. The rudders, deck hardware, autopilot actuators, foils, foil wedges etc. We’re currently putting everything back together, trying to save some weight and make her perform even better.”

What repairs did you have to carry out after the Jules Verne Trophy?
“The rudder exploded, of course, and there was a small leak in the starboard float and the surface on the foils was really damaged. We’re waiting for the parts to redo the mast track. There are still a few things to deal with with the winch transmission system and grinder. The rest is just the usual stuff due to wear and tear: halyards, lines, and pulley bearings etc… lots of little things, which make them consumable goods. Apart from that, we’re trying to slim the boat down. For example, we’ll be getting rid of the generators, which will mean a saving of 60 kilos straight away. But there are other little savings to be made elsewhere so we’re trying to work on that.”

Why are you doing this with the boat in the water? Why aren’t you taking her out?
“It seemed wiser to me to do this major work before taking her out during the summer in August or September. Remembering that we will be on the hard and we need time for the paint and anti-fouling and bio-coating to dry, etc… In winter, it is harder to do this work.”

“It’s going to be fun”
So IDEC SPORT will be back sailing again in late April during the Guyader Grand Prix…
“”Yes, we’ll be there during the first weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 29th April to 1st May. I talked things over with the organisers, as we have decided to invite aboard a dozen young champions, more used to racing small flying boats like the Flying Phantom, or foiling kitesurfing and windsurfing. I thought that might be interesting for them to be able to see what happens on board these big boats… and on the following two days, they will try to beat us on their fast flying machines. It’s going to be fun.”

Will there be any members of the Jules Verne Trophy crew with you?
“Yes, for the moment, we have Clément (Surtel), probably Alex (Pella), perhaps Gwénolé (Gahinet) if he is free. We’ll also have our sail-maker, Quentin Ponroy with us. It’s going to be great… I have already taken part in the Grand Prix three times on my previous boats and each time, it has been in a very festive atmosphere, where everyone enjoys themselves. It’s a fantastic event.”

* The Indian record is calculated between Cape Agulhas (South Africa, 20°East) and South East Cape in Tasmania (146°49 East). It was lapped up by the crew on Francis Joyon’s IDEC SPORT during their round the Jules Verne Trophy record attempt between 1030hrs UTC on 5th December 2015 and 1030hrs UTC on 12th December 2015 with a time of exactly 7 days.
IDEC SPORT sailed on a route a long way south (passing to the south of the Kerguelens in particular), on a very straight line which was very efficient. There was a huge difference in comparison to the time set just a few hours earlier by the giant Spindrift, which completed this stretch taking 32 hours and 45 minutes longer than IDEC SPORT (8 days 4 hrs 45 minutes).

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