And they’re off! The IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran has just set off around the world. Francis Joyon with his crew of five on the big red trimaran crossed the start line off Ushant at 02:02:22 on Sunday 22nd November 2015. It is here they will have to return in less than 45 days in order to see their name written on the prestigious Jules Verne Trophy.
It was at lunchtime on Saturday that the suspense concerning the weather opportunity came to an end in the harbour in Brest, when Francis Joyon and his crew of five gave the green light, meaning that the start was imminent. A few hours later, they cast off aboard the big, red trimaran to make their way out of the Brest inlet, in a strong northerly wind. “We are gambling on the weather situation in the South Atlantic becoming favourable. When an opportunity arises, you have to grab it,” said a smiling Francis Joyon. And then, they were off on their way to Ushant.
Back before 6th January 2016
Out there, in the signal station at the Le Créac’h Point, a man was staring at the horizon: Claude Breton, the official time-keeper for the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC), in other words, the official body, which ratifies sailing records. At 02:02:22, he clicked on his watch, when IDEC SPORT crossed the famous line between the Le Créac’h Lighthouse and the Lizard Point in Cornwall.
There was no time for relaxing, as the six men on IDEC SPORT were immediately into the rough stuff. They are expected to reach the Equator very quickly, and they hope to improve on the first intermediate time by getting there in under 5 and a half days (see our most recent interview with Francis Joyon). After that, what really matters is to know what weather pattern they will face after that, when they start heading down the South Atlantic. Until this morning, this was the question that was worrying Francis Joyon and his router Marcel Van Triest. According to Francis, half of this doubt has disappeared. But now, they are no longer wondering about that. They have to be back within 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds sailing more than 26,000 miles – on the theoretical route, but much more out on the water. This means they have to average 20 knots on the Great Circle Route.
So, now we know what the deadline is for IDEC SPORT. They have to return before 15:44:15 on 6th January 2016. The big adventure is underway, but this is just the start.
The crew of IDEC SPORT
Francis Joyon (FRA)
Bernard Stamm (SUI)
Gwénolé Gahinet (FRA)
Alex Pella (ESP)
Clément Surtel (FRA)
Boris Herrmann (GER)