On Thursday, Francis Joyon and his five teammates went past the enchanting Cape Verde Islands after 3 days and 15 hours of sailing. A fine performance given the conditions in which the IDEC crew started out their Jules Verne Trophy attempt on Sunday.
They sailed through the center of a low, with winds ranging from strong to calm. But after 3 days and 15 hours at sea, Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet, Alex Pella and Boris Herrmann have been rewarded for their efforts and strategy. The six sailors have covered 2,290 miles at an average of 26.3 knots. An extremely satisfying start to the race because tonight they’re ahead – if only slightly – of the record set by Loïck Peyron in 2012.
Francis Joyon does not hide that the crew had to sweat and toil to gain this advance: “I steered like a madman yesterday, at 35 knots and over. But we haven’t yet exploited the boat’s full potential. The wind was too irregular, in terms of both strength and direction. It was challenging (…) In such conditions, the boat demands so much concentration from the helmsman that it’s necessary to change over after 30 minutes. Conditions really need to be easy to stay more than half an hour at the helm.”
In the space of almost 4 days of racing, the team has managed to test out the maxi-trimaran a little, and the verdict is good. “The boat seems faster,” declares Francis Joyon. “All day today and all day yesterday, under full mainsail and gennaker, we went at 7 to 8 % faster than last year. We’ve learned lessons from our previous attempt, and we’re trying to do better in every domain, including supplies.”
With Cape Verde behind them, the Idec Sport crew is now focusing on its next objective: the Equator. Let’s remember that in 2012, Loïck Peyron, at the helm of Banque Populaire V, crossed this line in 5 days, 14 hours and 55 minutes.
Isabelle Trancoen (article translated from French)