Photo: Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/IDEC

More tales of incredible Francis

After set-back on Monday, Joyon may set sail on solo transat record attempt this weekend

Friday August 19th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

Francis Joyon’s maxi trimaran IDEC has been on stand-by recently in New York, poised to make an attempt on the singlehanded west to east transatlantic record, currently held by his arch-rival Thomas Coville on sistership, Sodebo.

Joyon made an aborted attempt on setting off on Monday. As IDEC set off towards the mouth of the Hudson river and the start line off the Ambrose Light, she was caught in severe thunderstorms and torrential rain, part of the depression that was due to propel Joyon across the north Atlantic at record speed. Unfortunately blinded by the downpour and somewhat disorientated by it, Francis Joyon, was unable to avoid running over a fairway buoy that slipped between IDEC's central hull and port float, causing damage to the fairings on the front and rear crossbeams in the process. With this damage Joyon’s only option was to an about turn and return to the Gateway Marina in Brooklyn.

An impressive, and typically Joyon aspect of this tale is that to make the record attempt it was important to remove IDEC’s propeller to reduce drag. To do this, on the way out Joyon had moored IDEC up to a buoy while he personally dived on the propeller, taking more than a dozen attempts before he was able to remove it. After the collision with the buoy, rather than calling in assistance Joyon sailed back to the buoy on the Hudson River he’d been tied up to two hours earlier...and get this...with the wind and sea up thanks to the onset of the depression, once he’d turned IDEC head to wind close to the buoy, Joyon dived into the water with the mooring line for his 100ft trimaran and managed to tie IDEC up this way... He then dived once again on the prop shaft to reattach the propeller before returning to Brooklyn Marina. Incredible.

To effect repairs to the broken cross beam fairings Joyon did enlist outside help, flying in Christophe Houdet who was part of the trimaran's build team back in 2007.

With the repairs now made, Joyon’s router Jean-Yves Bernot believes that another weather window may be opening up this weekend for Joyon to set off on his attempt.

If all goes according to plan Joyon will leave the Gateway Marina on Sunday afternoon and will head for the Ambrose Light, the start line of west to east transatlantic record attempts, where he may set sail sometime in the early hours of Monday morning on the 2980 mile dash to the Lizard.

The attempt will be timed by the World Speed Sailing Record Council. To break the record Joyon needs to average 22 knots of boat speed thereby bettering Coville’s record time of 5 days, 19 hours 30 minutes and 40 seconds set in July 2008.

If Monday’s weather window does not materialise, then there is believed to be another opportunity on the horizon next Thursday.

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