Francis Joyon and his short-handed crew of Sébastien Picault and Antoine Blouet arrived in Marseille yesterday morning as the sun was rising over Marseille at the end of what was on paper a 1500-mile delivery trip, but which due to the tacking that was required from La Trinité sur Mer in Brittany actually meant they sailed almost 2000 miles. The skipper of IDEC SPORT had a beaming smile on his face, having not only fulfilled his goals of testing the boat after her long and complicated winter refit, but also because they had a pleasant voyage, a lively one, just like those who love ocean racing adore.

A lively delivery trip
“The Mediterranean once again surprised us,” joked Francis this morning as he moored his IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran up in front of the town hall in Marseille. “During the delivery trip and more specifically when we entered the Alboran Sea and the Med, we had to carry out more manoeuvres than during our entire successful Jules Verne Trophy.” IDEC SPORT went through a wide range of wind and sea conditions, “flat calm periods, but also some rough weather and strong winds,” explained Francis. It was a lively sail to get used to the boat after she was completely updated this winter, but she proved that she was pleasant to sail. “Our work on the deck hardware has really pleased us,” stressed Francis. “Each manoeuvre seemed that much easier.”

Efficient foils
He also gave us his first conclusions about the behaviour of the maxi-trimaran, which is now fitted with foils. “We were able to test the foil angles quite a  few times and the visual impression was amazing. With less wetted surface, IDEC SPORT is much faster. The benefit gained from these new appendages is clear. We now need to see how we measure up against our rivals to see how we are doing. That is the reason why we are here in the Mediterranean with the Nice UltiMed starting on Friday.”

Francis Joyon, like his fellow skippers also took advantage of the long delivery trip with a short-handed crew to look ahead to the Route du Rhum and solo racing. “Under autopilot, I asked my crewmen to leave me alone to do manoeuvres. I managed to get back into the swing of things, while getting to know the new deck hardware we put in place this winter.”

The Nice UltiMed to begin on Friday
After a few odd jobs were carried out on IDEC SPORT, she is now perfectly ready to tackle this new event, the Nice UltiMed. Bernard Stamm, Quentin Ponroy and Gwénolé Gahinet have stepped aboard. “The race prologue on Friday between Marseille and Nice will be an opportunity to invite some guests aboard,” added Joyon, “as well as those who prepared the boat, who will be rewarded for their hard work.”

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