Francis Joyon rearing to go

The solo round the world record holder looks ahead to the Route du Rhum

Sunday October 3rd 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

La Route du Rhum - La Banque Postale, starting from Saint-Malo on 31 October 31 will see the return of Francis Joyon to racing, after a  long period concentrating on records.

One month out from the start of prestigious singlehanded transatlantic race, Joyon commented: “The race will be engrossing to follow. I can see at least five boats which could be first to Point a Pitre.”

Knowing that this confrontation with the other competitors in the 'G Class' will be tough, for La Route du Rhum, the singlehanded round the world record holder has refitted his giant trimaran IDEC for the task in hand. Over four months at Marsaudon Composites in Lorient IDEC has now optimised.

The most visible update to IDEC is the installation of curved lifting foils in her floats, as feature on Thomas Coville's Sodebo and Franck Cammas' Groupama 3. This system has proved reliable. “Thanks to the foils, the floats are less immersed, and it makes it possible for the boat to go a little bit more quickly,” says Joyon.

To compliment the added power/righting moment generated by the foils, so IDEC now has been fitted with a new mainsail some 30 sqm larger than the previous one, with a 5m flat top.

Joyon explains: “The boat was designed for records thus, a priori, to sail in relatively strong winds and usually reaching. These are the best conditions for the boat."

So IDEC has been modified to make her more competitive in lighter conditions in order to compete with the like of Yann Guichard's modified ORMA 60 Gitana 11.

“1000 other small less visible things” have also been changed on board IDEC, according to her skipper. “All in all, the boat is now at a good level of preparation.”

In the month ahead, time will be divided between the final tweaks and race formalities prior to the Route du Rhum start, such as safety checks, etc.

The delivery to Saint-Malo will take place on 19 or 20 October and IDEC where she will remain until the start.

A prospect of this year's Route du Rhum fills Joyon with enthusiasm: “it will be a redoscivery for me having been away from this circuit for almost eight years now! ”.

This will be Joyon's fifth participation in the Route du Rhum following 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002. In 2002, Joyon was one of 15 retirements in the ORMA 60 fleet, while during his tenure as skipper for Banque Populaire he was sixth in 1998 and was forced to retire in 1994.

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