Joyon smashes solo 24 hour record
French solo round the world racing legend Francis Joyon has been at it again, setting a new outright singlehanded 24 hour record of 668 nautical miles or 1247 km aboard his 29m long Irens-Cabaret designed trimaran, IDEC.
Joyon left his homeport of La Trinite-sur-Mer last Friday bound for the Azores in order to find the ideal conditions to break the reference distance of 628.5 miles set by Thomas Coville and Sodebo in 2008 during the latter's second attempt on the singlehanded round the world record.
"I needed to find ideal conditions, that I had previously found that in the Indian Ocean, with winds well established and for the correct amount of time, preferably ahead of a front in order to benefit from a (relatively) flat sea ... I went about 800 miles west of Cape Finisterre, on the edge of an area of high pressure near the Azores. I set off with the wind from the southwest, but with the swell from the north.
"I set off and after a time, the swell became ordered and the wind increased to 32 knots. It was extremely dangerous. The boat was constantly on the edge. I did not helm. I remained standing for 24 hours in my cockpit with mainsheet in one hand, and with the Solent sheet in the other. When the boat crashed into a wave, I released one or the other. But I often released both at once. No rest. Some granola bars only for food. "
This was the recipe the incredible Joyon came up with for this amazing record. With peak speeds of 34 knots, sailor from Locmariaquer in west Brittany has added a new title to his many records.
He previously set this record in 2004 aboard his previous IDEC trimaran and extended the record to to 613.5 miles (25.56 knots average) during his singlehanded lap of the planet in 2007. Thomas Coville then set a new reference time in the following year when Sodebo covered 619 miles, or 25.80 knots average, near Kerguelen. Then Thomas Coville on his 32m sistership to IDEC bettered his own record taking it up to 628 miles or 26.2 knots average in December 2008.
"I would have been very pleased just to get this record, if only by a handful of miles," said Joyon. "But by nearly 40 miles! I am very happy. My satisfaction comes mostly from the fact that it is the first time I have sailed since my little capsize last year when I was attempting to break the record for crossing the Atlantic. IDEC has undergone a beautiful refit this winter. The mast is the same one that broke in two during the capsize. As for sails, these are the originals, which have a good 90,000 miles on the clock. Beyond the numbers, it was just a truly magical moment, being able to operate such a machine to its full potential is extraordinary."