It is clear that the North Atlantic holds no secrets for Francis Joyon, after achieving some of the greatest results in ocean racing there over the past few decades with his solo records and his win in The Transat. He will be setting sail from St-Nazaire to head for New York on 25th June filly understanding the difficulties he will have to deal with – prevailing headwinds, routing options taking him more or less south and trajectories, which are not often straight forward. The big unknown factor in this new ocean race is more to do with his opponents. He will be up against three of the most modern giant multihulls aiming to be the first to the Big Apple. After her incredible round the world record, IDEC SPORT, has no way to compare how she will perform against Macif (François Gabart), Sodebo (Thomas Coville) and Actual (Yves le Blévec). Francis Joyon and the Fabulous Five cannot hide their enthusiasm about this new, exciting challenge.
IDEC SPORT in the best of shape
“We can’t wait to compare the boat with the more recent maxi trimaran designs,” explained Francis. “We won’t be encountering the sort of conditions that are favourable for high speeds and the downwind sailing we saw in the Southern Ocean, but are more likely to experience light airs coming towards us. We have therefore opted for a lightweight approach and will be setting out in the same configuration as for the Jules Verne Trophy, with the shorter mast and substantial gains in terms of the weight of supplies.” IDEC SPORT went through a thorough refit this winter after completing her round the world record.
The whole crew from the Jules Verne Trophy with the exception of Clément Surtel and Bernard Stamm are back to enjoy themselves and hope, to find the same atmosphere they experienced last winter during the record. “Sébastien Picault is coming aboard with us. He knows the boat perfectly not only having worked on preparing her, but also having taken part in the delivery trip between Brittany and the Mediterranean. He is extremely dynamic and resourceful and is up for it. As for Quentin Ponroy, he is a specialist in smaller multihulls, having won the Tour de France sailing race. As a sailmaker, he will be able to take a close look at our choice of sails and should offer us a lot in that area.”
A fascinating challenge
IDEC SPORT will be heading for Nantes and the start of the festivities for this new race, which aims to celebrate Franco-American friendship and the tragic events of a hundred years ago, when the American troops entered the Great War alongside the Allies against the Germans. “This is a fascinating challenge,” added Francis. “We’ll be aiming to be the first to finish in New York. Seeing how we do against the Queen Mary 2 is the icing on the cake as it is not likely that with our 30 litres of diesel we will manage to beat this ocean giant with her 2000 tonnes of fuel. The Bridge does not allow routing. We’ll be having final discussions about the weather with Marcel van Triest on the eve of the start of the race. Then, it will be down to us to make the most of the onboard computer, which as usual, Gwénolé Gahinet will be monitoring closely.”
The crew of IDEC SPORT:
- Francis Joyon, 60
- Alex Pella (Spain), 44
- Gwénolé Gahinet, 33
- Sébastien Audigane, 49
- Sébastien Picault, 41
- Quentin Ponroy, 30