Francis Joyon and his crew of five have been through the first few hours of their attempt to smash the Jules Verne Trophy record. IDEC SPORT crossed the start line off Ushant at 02:02:22 on Sunday 22nd November 2015. The first hundred or so miles are now in their wake.
“The main goal for the first few days of racing will be to avoid breaking anything, as the sea is not going to be easy. Caution is the watchword,” Francis Joyon warned us before leaving the pontoon in Brest. In cross seas following two gales in a row, they had to weather out the conditions. They needed to grab this weather opportunity to try to get a record time to the Equator – around five days – but also to ensure there was a favourable situation ahead (rated 50-50 by Joyon) in the South Atlantic. The record for this first stretch between Ushant and the Equator is held by Banque Populaire with a time of 5 days 14 hours and 55 minutes and it may well be beaten…
The tricky, rough conditions to get to the start area are now behind them. The wind has eased off considerably around Ushant (yesterday there were gusts in excess of fifty knots) with speeds now around 17 to 25 knots. These conditions are not going to last: in the coming hours 30-knot winds are forecast in the Bay of Biscay enabling IDEC SPORT to accelerate.
At 0700hrs this morning (Sunday), IDEC SPORT was already stepping up the pace with peak speeds above 30 knots. Francis Joyon and his crew of five are now well out to sea, 200 miles west of the Loire Estuary following a trajectory which is very close to Loïck Peyron’s, as IDEC SPORT speeds towards Cape Finisterre. For the moment, the figures don’t mean a lot, but the most important thing is that the adventure has begun.
To beat the Jules Verne Trophy record, IDEC SPORT will have to return before 15:44:15 on 6th January.