Francis Joyon is going back in time. While The Bridge 2017 commemorates the arrival a hundred years ago of the American soldiers in France, in terms of the race itself, the skipper of IDEC SPORT is thinking back to his win in the transatlantic race from Plymouth in 2000, when at the helm of his old Irens designed Eure et Loir, he beat the leading ORMAs to win the solo race to Newport.
This time he has four crewmen alongside him to deal with the North Atlantic lows with their fronts, changes of tack on the edge of the ridges of high pressure and NW’ly winds which are for the moment enabling the red and white trimaran to take a direct route to New York at good speed a short distance from the Macif maxi trimaran with which they have been taking it in turns at the front of the fleet since leaving Saint-Nazaire on Sunday.
“We got the front a bit before Macif ,” explained Francis, “so we changed tack before them. They are sailing fast to our north. We are also watching Sodebo, who has also gone further north to get a better angle to come back down again later. We’re pleased to be able to stay on the starboard tack for several hours. We have done a lot of work since the start with our crew which is down to five. We’re just getting set up in terms of the watch system with two out on deck ready to wake up the others if there are big manoeuvres. I’m outside of the watch system and available for everyone as well as taking my turn at the helm. We’re only now getting some rest in short stretches, so we are still feeling a lack of sleep. The seas seem to be easing somewhat. It’s dull with a bit of rain. Everyone on board has been working al out so Alex (Pella) hasn’t had time yet to tell us any of his jokes. The race is far from being a straight line. There are a number of lows to deal with. It reminds me of the transatlantic race from Britain.”
Follow the progress of the Idec Sport maxi trimaran here