IDEC SPORT has reached the longitude of New Zealand, the country, which is most passionate about the America’s Cup. An opportunity for Francis Joyon to support another great sailor, Franck Cammas. Recently injured during a training exercise, he will be representing France in the Cup. The crew on IDEC SPORT is preparing a series of gybes to deal with the wind, which is backing westerly as they enter the Pacific.

At the start of the 22nd day of sailing and the Pacific crossing, IDEC SPORT is sailing this morning close to New Zealand. Here even the taxi drivers know the names of the helmsmen representing their nation in the America’s Cup. A chance for Francis Joyon to support the sailor representing France in the Cup, who is convalescing after a serious accident at sea. We should not forget that Franck Cammas is in fact the person who came up with the idea for the current IDEC SPORT, when she was built as Groupama 3. Franck told us this during the link-up this morning, “We’ve been thinking a lot about Franck… on board we have talked a lot about his accident, as we were shocked by the news. Franck was behind the design of the boat. He fine tuned her and modified her with the small rig with which we are sailing now. The boat hasn’t undergone many changes since. We were really worried about Franck at the start, as people were talking about an even more serious accident. We were relieved to hear that it was a relatively simple fracture. Franck, we’re all thinking about you. We are on the boat you came up with and hope you will soon get better. We’re all with you.” The patient will be pleased to hear this, as great sailors understand each other…

1000 miles of gybing ahead

First aerial images of IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran, skipper Francis Joyon and his crew, training off Belle-Ile, Brittany, on october 19, 2015 - Photo Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC
Jean Marie Liot / DPPI / IDEC

As for the record, IDEC SPORT’s trajectory has now moved towards the NE – meaning they are losing a few miles, as the record-holder sailed 500 miles further south. Now under gennaker (the biggest headsail used downwind), the crew on IDEC SPORT is getting ready for a series of gybes. “The NW’ly wind enabled us to take the direct route. It has backed westerly and so in a couple of hours, we will gybe. It will be night here for us (around lunchtime in France). We have around a thousand miles of gybing ahead of us. We won’t be gybing every three hours though, but we will have the wind from astern.” What lies ahead? “For the time being, it’s a matter of waiting to see what happens. There are lows to our north and we’re examining where to position ourselves in relation to them. The Pacific is looking a bit complicated, as the lows aren’t really moving from west to east and that will only happen in a few days from now, so it’s not going to be easy to go from one system to another.”

“We are being kept busy”

For the time being, after her record crossing of the Indian Ocean, IDEC SPORT is certainly still in the game. The deficit in relation to the record-holder is small and they still have 24 days ahead of them to get back home. Meanwhile, another sailor on board, Gwénole Gahinet, is in the process of setting some new personal records. “In the Mini Transat and the Transat AG2R, I spent 21 days at sea in a row, but 22 days or more is a record for me. This is also the first time I have crossed the Pacific. I’m enjoying it.” Gwénolé Gahinet told us too that the crew are in good shape, in spite of the high speeds and the demanding manoeuvres: taking in and shaking out reefs, sail changes, stacking, etc. “Changing the headsail to hoist the gennaker takes around an hour, so we’re sweating a lot under our three layers of fleeces. We’re being kept busy.” The men are indeed very busy. At 1000hrs UTC on Sunday after 21 days and 7 hours at sea, IDEC SPORT was sailing at 30 knots.

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