Joyon set to demolish latest record
Following Thomas Coville and Sodebo's retirement from this record last week, so Francis Joyon is in the process of successfully completing his latest attempt at the Route of Discovery record between Cadiz, Spain and Salvador de Bahia in the Bahamas aboard his maxi-trimaran IDEC.
On Thursday lunchtime, he only had 280 miles left to sail before crossing the finishing line in San Salvador. After being slowed down yesterday, IDEC was back up to speeds of around 20 knots and should smash her own record, reducing the time to under 9 days. IDEC is due to finish tomorrow (Friday).
On what is more or less the direct route with a little less than 300 miles to sail, IDEC has managed to increase her speed again to around 20 knots over the past few hours. After carrying out a lot of manoeuvres yesterday to deal with the calms south of an area of high pressure, Joyon has managed to hang on to half of the lead he had built up before, or around 200 of his 400 mile advantage. That should be enough to ensure that he does more than simply achieve the goal he set himself at the start in Cadiz, when he announced his aim to shave ten hours or so off the record.
In the end, the gain is likely to be around twice what he had planned, as IDEC is due to cross the finishing line as early as tomorrow morning. In any case long before time runs out if he wants to improve on his own record set back in 2008 on this route of 9 days and 20 hours, as to do that IDEC would have to finish before 0821 GMT on Saturday morning.
“If all goes smoothly, I should finish some time tomorrow morning,” Francis Joyon confirmed by satphone. "Even if I still have to deal with some final areas of calm. Having said that, I have a bit more wind than the charts were showing."
This extraordinary performance is also being achieved in unusual circumstances, as on this occasion Joyon is finding his own route, without any external assistance and in terms of the weather the Route of Discovery is more complicated that the prestigious west to east North Atlantic record, the solo sailor having to deal with a series of weather systems coming one after the other, with transition zones, which are never easy to cope with and take time to get through.
See a brief video from the great man here