The maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT sailed by Francis Joyon, Antoine Blouet, Bertrand Delesne, Christophe Houdet and Corentin Joyon set off on a new adventure yesterday, a new challenge, a new experience in waters that are rarely visited by modern ocean racing boats. The giant trimaran, IDEC SPORT is something of a pathfinder as she progresses towards Australia on a route that is not very efficient in terms of advancing towards the legendary Sunda Strait (between Java and Sumatra), but Francis wants to make the most of the downwind sailing conditions on seas that are not too nasty. That is what has been happening over the past 24 hors with IDEC SPORT easing into the journey to set the best time possible to Ho Chi Minh City. Francis is sticking with his usual goal of performing well, while remaining very cautious. The IDEC SPORT ASIAN TOUR is a long adventure with four chapters far from technical assistance and facilities. IDEC SPORT is sailing independently with her crew watching out for any squalls and wishing to avoid the sort of damage seen by IMOCA or Ultim boats which have collided with UFOs.
Looking after the boat
“I’d like to thank the people of Mauritius for their warm welcome and particularly the Grand Baie Yacht Club,” said Francis Joyon at the end of his first day of sailing, in the second Act of the IDEC SPORT ASIAN TOUR, a stretch that is full of adventure and exoticism between Mauritius and Vietnam. “Everyone did their utmost to welcome us and make the paperwork easy.” The short-handed crew chosen by the skipper of IDEC SPORT for this long voyage of more than 4000 miles, has taken advantage of some decent conditions to get settled in. “The wind is from the north at around ten knots,” added Francis. “Yesterday, it was very hot and heavy, but as we approach the latitude of 26 degrees South, it is much more temperate and we are making satisfactory progress.” The route planned is far from usual. “We need to continue to the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope at around 33 degrees South to pick up the strong westerlies. We will probably have to do some gybes to get in position to avoid a high, before picking up the SE’ly winds, which will allow us to head back up sailing downwind and at speed towards Indonesia. The main thing is we need to look after the boat to avoid punishing her sailing upwind.”
Like a dream
The whole crew is working hard and cautiously. The incidents which have affected other boats in other waters have worried the crew of IDEC SPORT, who are keeping permanent watch. “We raise the appendages, the foils and rudders, systematically when we don’t need them, as we are afraid of hitting a floating object,” explained Francis. Bertrand Delesne, IDEC SPORT’s boat captain for more than a year, cannot hide the pleasure he is experiencing living a dream. A well known sailor from the Mini 6.50 and Class40 circuits, Bertrand is now looking after the legendary maxi trimaran. “IDEC SPORT is amazing,” he told us. “She is an incredible boat. I’m living a dream on an exceptional boat with a very kind crew, so it is almost like a family with legendary Joyon in charge on a route that is very different from our usual race areas in the Atlantic. I am discovering new seas, new skies and I am experiencing an incredible moment as a sailor. Everything is going smoothly aboard, with everyone getting on and respecting each other. We talk a lot. Francis is outside of the watch system. I’m looking after the technical aspects on board and I talk a lot with Francis, who is always so easy going and pleasant. I dreamt of these horizons and this type of exceptional adventure. I’m over the moon!”
“I’m the outsider in the crew in many ways, as they sailed together, when they brought the boat back after the Rhum to Brittany,” explained Francis. “We talked things through a lot yesterday during our first day at sea. Now, the watches are falling into place and we’re getting some rest. It will only be once we cross the Equator again in the China Sea that there will be five of us out on deck to carry out the usual tradition.”