In spite of clocking up hundreds of thousands of miles during his exceptional career around the world’s oceans and after taking part six times in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, Francis Joyon remains modest. Yesterday, he moored his boat up at the large multihull pontoon reserved for the Ultime class in Saint-Malo.
He remains modest seeing the incredible line-up of 123 skippers and the thousands of fans of the sea and ocean racing, who have been attracted here by this transatlantic dream. But also because he understands how hard the task is going to be crossing another ocean alone at the helm of his IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran. Always the perfectionist and never willing to delegate work to others apart from his tiny group of assistants, Francis cannot resist getting involved in the thousands of little technical and logistical details, which, once the starting gun has been fired on 4th November, will be vital for him and the outcome. The stand-by period leading up to the start looks like being very busy in terms of work and meetings.
You can’t stop him from getting personally involved
“No. It’s not something you get used to.” The man, who has held all the major records and has lost count of the number of Atlantic crossings he has sailed in and out of races, arrived in Saint-Malo showing the same passion, desire and doubts as 28 years ago, when aboard his jig-saw puzzle of a catamaran pieced together with odds and ends, he grabbed his first experience of the Rhum. “I think I take my job too seriously,” he smiled. “I can’t resist getting involved in all the little details. With each of my Rhums, I try to do better, working harder on my preparation than on the previous one.”
The same passion
“I still have the same passion. That’s why I keep lining up in races. The Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe is full of mystery and unknowns. That means I can’t wait to get going and there’s nothing I can do about that. That shows how passionate I am about this work. No one knows what will happen, when we’re out there alone aboard our boats as we see land disappear behind us. I just can’t wait for that excitement and I never grow tired of it.”
Curious about the others…
Francis Joyon never changes. He is not calculating, but is curious about the others. “I always enjoy meeting people and chatting to enthusiasts. I’m going to try to look after myself this week and ease into being alone, but I enjoy the atmosphere in Saint Malo, as it is an opportunity to meet others and that is always interesting.”