Over the past 48 hours, the crew of IDEC SPORT has been heading home. In the early stage of their attempt at the Jules Verne Trophy, Francis Joyon and his crew of five took the decision to abandon their attempt as they reached the Equator after suffering a slowdown in the Doldrums. Francis, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet and Boris Herrmann are heading for Brest, which they should reach on Sunday to set off again when an opportunity arises. For the moment, off the Cape Verde Islands, as Francis Joyon tell us, the crew of IDEC SPORT are already getting ready to set off again just as much as they are celebrating Bernard Stamm’s birthday.
What are conditions like as you head back up?
F.J: “Today we have light winds. We are leeward of the Cape Verde Islands and it’s very hot. The sky is very blue and we’re tidying up the boat to do things as efficiently as possible once back in Brest. We are in a transition zone with weakening trade winds. But after this period of calm, we should pick up the winds from a low further north and get back up fairly quickly. We hope to be back in Brest on Sunday morning or on Saturday night, if conditions are really favourable.”
You seem to have gone through the Doldrums which were very active…
“The six of us have been through the Doldrums many times. I remember on one occasion it was fairly violent with severe squalls and winds going from 0 to 40 in just a few moments, but that is rare. This time, in fact, it lasted twenty hours or so before continuing with a long period of calm. In the Doldrums, it’s all a bit mysterious… None of this was forecast on the charts nor by observations. We decided to turn back and go through it again wondering what would hit us this time. But on the way back up it went very quickly in steady winds and we weren’t held up. Astonishing!”
How do you feel 48 hours after that episode?
“Today’s Bernard’s birthday. We don’t have all the ingredients for a cake, but we’ll do it one day. The crew is in a good mood again after everyone took it badly. Now, the usual mood has returned. We’re already looking at possible weather opportunities. There don’t seem to be any for the time being, but we’ll be ready. We just have to get a fortnight’s worth of food on board and we can go.”