Francis Joyon poised to claim Grand Slam
French solo sailing legend Francis Joyon currently holds the singlehanded round the world record (57 days), the solo 24 hour record (668 miles at an average speed of 27.83 knots) and most recenlty recover the Route of Discovery record, between Cadiz and San Salvador in the Bahamas, taking more than one day off the record by completing the voyage in 8 days, 16 hours, 7 minutes and 5 seconds.
Next up Joyon will be making a fresh singlehanded attempt on the eastbound North Atlantic record. If he achieves this, he will become the first sailor ever to have managed the Grand Slam. For any offshore record hunters, be it with crews or solo, four major records comprise the Grand Slam, - the round the world record, the North Atlantic record, the 24-hour distance record and the Route of Discovery. For Joyon there is a real possibility of simultaneously holding all four of these records something that neither Ellen MacArthur, nor Thomas Coville – his two closest rivals in this field – ever achieved.
On board his red 29m maxi trimaran IDEC - now equipped with foils, to make her even faster - Francis Joyon has already achieved a long list of successes and of the major passage records, only the North Atlantic remains.
The current record is held by Thomas Coville on Sodebo with a time of 5 days, 19 hours, 29 minutes and 20 seconds. This equates to averaging almost 21 knots on the 2980 miles direct route and more given that Joyon will inevitably have to sail extra distance if he is to keep up with the depression moving across eastward across the North Atlantic with him.
Joyon will be following in the footsteps of some legendary sailors: Charlie Barr was the first to set the record back in 1905 aboard his famous schooner, Atlantic (12 days, with a crew of 50). It was not until 80 years later, when Eric Tabarly took the time down to 10 days aboard his trimaran Paul Ricard. Then, there were the crews led by Marc Pajot (Elf Aquitaine), Patrick Morvan (Jet Services 2), Loïc Caradec (Royale 2) Philippe Poupon (Fleury Michon VIII), Serge Madec (Jet Services V), Steve Fossett (Playstation), Bruno Peyron (Orange II) and more recently, Franck Cammas (Groupama 3) and Pascal Bidégorry (Banque PopulaireV), who managed with their crew to shave a few hours or days off the legendary passage between New York and the Lizard.
As for the solo records, the first were set by Bruno Peyron (Explorer in 1987 and 1992), Florence Arthaud (Pierre 1er), Laurent Bourgnon (Primagaz, 7 days in 1994)… and yes, Francis Joyon, who held the record for the first time in 2005 aboard his first IDEC trimaran with a time of six days and four hours, before Thomas Coville took the time down to below six days three years later.
Solo North Atlantic records
1987: Bruno Peyron, Explorer catamaran, in 11 days, 11 hours 46 minutes and 36 seconds
1990: Florence Arthaud, Pierre 1er trimaran, in 9 days, 21 hours and 42 minutes
1992: Bruno Peyron, Explorer catamaran, in 9 days, 19 hours and 22 minutes
1994: Laurent Bourgnon, Primagaz trimaran, in 7 days, 2 hours, 34 minutes and 42 seconds
2005: Francis Joyon, IDEC 1 trimaran, in 6 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 37 seconds
2008: Thomas Coville, Sodebo trimaran, in 5 days, 19 hours, 29 minutes and 20 seconds