Holder of the Jules Verne Trophy Loïck Peyron analyses each option taken by Francis Joyon for his attempt to smash the round the world record. For him, Francis has got it right by choosing a short-handed crew and smaller rig.

“Setting sail with a shorter mast and smaller crew: an obvious solution”

Francis Joyon is making the right choice setting off with his trimaran in solo sailing mode, in other words with a shorter mast. Sailing with the bigger mast would have meant a bigger crew and the weight that entails. By taking aboard just five crewmen (as opposed to the nine on Groupama 3 with the big rig, editor’s note) Francis is going for a lightweight and simple approach. Less weight also means less sail. On a multihull, the less cloth you have, the better you feel. The shorter mast also means less drag in the air. Instead of increasing the power, Francis has decided to reduce the brakes. He is right to have chosen a smaller crew. This is the obvious solution moving in the direction of what we are seeing in ocean racing. It takes fewer and fewer of us to sail these giant trimarans. In the last two Route du Rhum races, we could see that they could even be managed well by a solo sailor. There were 14 of us on Banque Populaire V and looking back, I tell myself, we could have done it with just 11 without any problem. Having said that, it’s not as luxurious, when there are fewer of you. But by setting up a good watch system, the crew of IDEC SPORT will work well. Everyone will have to be out on deck for manoeuvres, and the crewmen will be kept busy, but they are well aware of that. The sailors, who sign up to the Jules Verne Trophy know they’re not off on a Club Med holiday.”

“IDEC SPORT, a good all rounder and safe trimaran”
“Francis Joyon’s trimaran has huge potential. With average power, the former Groupama 3 is a good compromise. She is a boat that is agile and easy to handle, which sails along smoothly and can accelerate quickly. One of her main assets is that she is a good all rounder. She is at ease in practically every condition. They will however have to attempt to avoid being becalmed, as the shorter mast is less efficient in those conditions. Periods when they have to sail upwind in heavy seas are also going to be tricky, as the boat becomes very uncomfortable, as I saw for myself in the last Route du Rhum. The rest of the time, she’s a sheer joy. IDEC SPORT is in fact a very safe trimaran, whose structure inspires confidence. You can push her hard without being scared.”

“Several days to be shaved off the current record”
“My crew’s current record can be improved upon by a few days. In 2012, in the Pacific, we had to make a long detour north because of the icebergs. We lost a day and a half with that, and another day or so at Cape Horn. I hope to be beaten, as that would be the strongest motivation for me to get back out there and show them what I can do.”

“Managing a crew could be the biggest challenge for Francis”
Francis knows what he has to do. He knows the route, the Southern Ocean and knows how to sail a maxi trimaran over a long period of time. That’s a huge thing in his favour. On the other hand, he will be discovering long distance crewed sailing and this is probably going to be his biggest challenge. Managing a crew isn’t easy. That’s something else, where you have to share with others. But Francis is used to doing it all by himself. He is the ultimate solo sailor. His crew and he will have to adapt, but that doesn’t worry me.”

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