On Monday morning, IDEC SPORT was relaunched after a thorough refit this summer by Francis Joyon’s shore team at the Multiplast yard in Vannes. This return to the water for the 31.5m long trimaran marks the start of a new campaign with the aim of winning the Jules Verne Trophy*. We haven’t forgotten how last year the skipper from La Trinité and his crew of five got close to pulling it off. Only some unfavourable weather meant that they were two days away from smashing the outright round the world record. A temporary hitch, as Francis Joyon is now getting ready to set off again on the same boat with the same configuration with a short-handed crew, the composition of which will be announced next week.

What work has been done on IDEC SPORT for this second attempt?

Francis Joyon: “The boat was out of the water for a month and a half. There was a lot of work to do during this refit, seeing we had left the boat in the water after the last round the world attempt. There was quite a lot of wear on the equipment and some improvements to make. In particular, we worked on protecting the helmsman and trimmers in order to enhance performance. We are also getting a new mainsail and gennaker. For the rest, we made minor improvements: the rigging, deck hardware and the central rudder, the profile of which we changed working with the AMCO yard, which has a lot of skill in the area of appendages. This boat is over ten years old. She has been improved by many teams and we have gradually continued along these lines. We had to do a lot to reduce her weight slightly, increase her speed, and I think we’ve done a good job.”

Does this improved version suit you for this attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy?

F.J: “During the last attempt, we could see we were not that far off, in spite of weather that wasn’t that favourable for smashing the record. We’ll be setting off with a better level of performance and a little more experience. The boat will be completely ready and things should slot into place.”

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What is your programme for the time being?

F.J.: “This afternoon, we’ll be heading for la Trinité-sur-Mer, our home port. Fitting the sails and rigging to make everything operational is going to take us a week. We’ll start our training phase in early October with as many of the crewmen as possible and I hope with our router, Marcel Van Triest. We can aim to be on stand by on 20th October. That’s a rather optimistic way of looking at it, but it could work out, if we don’t encounter any major technical problems.”

Why are you going on stand-by so early?

F.J.: “It is highly unlikely that there will be an opportunity before mid-November, but if one does arise, we need to grab it. Setting off early in the season should mean that we have a better voyage back up the Atlantic, even if there are a lot of unknowns to deal with. The season is relatively short and finishes in February. The earlier we set off, the better it should be. We’ll set sail, when the wind allows, when the situation is decent, even if not ideal.”

Last year, you only missed out on this round the world record by two days. Is it going to be possible to get the Jules Verne Trophy?

F.J.: “We were within Loïck Peyron’s time until Cape Horn, in spite of the Pacific not being that simple. It was really the climb back up the Atlantic that stopped us from succeeding. It was too tricky with headwinds and too many calms. Just in this part of the course, we should be able to gain two days, so we have every chance of succeeding.”

* The Jules Verne Trophy has been held since 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew of thirteen on Banque Populaire V (currently Spindrift), a 40m trimaran. The record to beat: 45 days, 13 hours and 42 minutes

** On 8th January 2016, Francis Joyon, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel, Boris Herrmann, Gwénolé Gahinet and Bernard Stamm completed their round the world voyage on IDEC SPORT after 47 days, 14 hours and 47 minutes.

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