The IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran is starting a long winter refit at the Multiplast yard in Vannes, which is aimed at rejuvenating the Van Peteghem Lauriot-Prévost (VPLP) designed boat built in 2006. Far from following the latest trend, Francis Joyon, after talking it over with the boat’s architects and Patrice Lafargue, President of the IDEC Group, has chosen to fit foils to the boat that holds the Jules Verne Trophy. This transformation will enhance IDEC SPORT’s performance and make her more stable, lighter and faster. Something that Francis Joyon is looking forward to, although he has never lost his passion for the Route du Rhum, for which this will be the eleventh edition marking its fortieth anniversary, when they set sail from Saint Malo on 4th November 2018.

Spoiler foils and foiled rudders

With the trend now for flying boats, Francis Joyon willingly examined all the possibilities to offer more lift to his maxi-trimaran, IDEC SPORT, which is fitted with traditional foils. “We soon gave up the idea of flying,” he explained, “as the additional reinforcements required to add such foils would have taken us down a long road, where everything quickly spirals out of control with an increase in the sail surface and the mast height to make up for the extra two tonnes needed to reinforce the structure. We therefore decided to go for major improvements to our current foils that will be fitted with spoilers to increase their ability to lift the boat up. This major modification will also involve adding rudders fitted with horizontal foils in a T-shape. All of this should greatly improve the stability of the boat on her route, while adding an additional 3 or 4 knots of speed depending on the point of sail. The floats will be strengthened correspondingly.”

Aiming for the Route du Rhum

Francis and the whole team will be taking advantage of this long winter refit to carry out the replacement of a certain number of elements, which have reached their age limit. “The mainsail car for example has never been replaced since the boat was launched eleven years ago,” added Francis. “We’ll also be working on the deck hardware to replace any original equipment with as a result, substantial weight savings and more fluid manoeuvres.” No major changes in the air, but a real updating of everything on the boat, which has been tried and tested and that Francis believes remains competitive, especially when sailed solo. The Route du Rhum, which starts on 4th November 2018, continues to be a dream for the 62-year old sailor. “I can’t remember how many times I have taken part,” he joked, “But when you are in love, you don’t worry about the numbers.”

The Nice Ultimed, with part of the crew from the Jules Verne Trophy

The Nice Ultimed will take place in Nice from 28th April to 6th May 2018. Francis will take advantage of the long delivery trip from Brittany to check out all the changes. “We’ll be refitting the famous bicycle that we all remember so well that helped Franck Cammas and Loïck Peyron on this very same boat to win the Route du Rhum in 2010 (Groupama 3) and 2014 (Banque Populaire VII). The shorter mast has given us total satisfaction from the start. It lowers the centre of gravity of the boat to enhance the performance. So we’re not changing our minds about that for the 2018 season.” In terms of his men, Francis is pleased to have already had confirmation from some of the crew from the winning Jules Verne Trophy earlier in the year.

Francis Joyon and the Route du Rhum: 5 attempts: 1990 (10th), 1998 (6th), 2002, 2010 (2nd) and 2014 (6th)

IDEC SPORT, the boat that has won the Rhum twice:

2010: Franck Cammas, Groupama 3: 9 days, 3 hours, 14 minutes and 47 seconds
Average speed of 16.14 knots

2014: Loïck Peyron, Banque Populaire VII: 7 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes and 32 seconds
at an average speed of 19.34 knots. Race record.

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