Sunday afternoon ETA for Joyon
Covering 650 miles over the past 24 hours, Francis Joyon is close to his own 24-hour solo sailing distance record of 666 miles. This figure alone reveals the incredible performance the sailor from Locmariaquer has achieved since setting out from New York on Wednesday.
Sailing a long way south of the great circle route) which Thomas Coville managed to stick to for most of the four days he took to make his record setting crossing back in July 2008, Joyon had to not only maintain a speed above Coville's 21 knot average speed, but at more than 25 knots to take into account the extra distance he's sailing.
Joyon continues to maintain these high speeds today and is expecting to finish can look forward to finishing off The Lizard in the middle of tomorrow afternoon. In so doing, IDEC and Joyon, with the loyal support of router Jean-Yves Bernot, will achieve the unique feat of holding all four major solo offshore sailing records.
"What makes these multihulls so magical is that you can ask a lot of them; 25, 30 or 35 knots…." said Joyon earlier, making it all sound so matter of fact. His calm voice reveals hardly anything of the four days of mammoth struggle in a major depression aboard a multihull, which behaves like a runaway horse.
"I didn’t quite get the conditions I had for my 24-hour distance record," added Joyon. “During the night, I slept for three hours! It is true that I have been completely stressed out ever since the start in New York.”
At 12:50 UTC Joyon finally moved ahead of Coville relative position (at this point Coville had had to gybe on to an unfavourable northeasterly course).
"The low is gradually overtaking me,” continued Joyon. “The wind will come around as we approach the British Isles, in other words instead of being from astern, it will be on the beam. That won’t be quite as favourable for the speed, but that should enable us to complete the crossing tomorrow afternoon.”
The precise time is not yet clear. Based on computer predictions and the most recent data, he is likely to pass the Lizard between 1500 and 1600hrs UTC tomorrow. This would mean an improvement on the current record of 12-13 hours...
There is unlikely to be any need for any major manoeuvres over the final 600 miles left to sail. “The low simply moved in the right direction to allow us to avoid gybing again,” Joyon explains.
Under full mainsail and staysail, Joyon will merely have to hoist the genoa, once the wind veers to his left.
Far from celebrating in advance as he approaches the continental shelf and the first tiny indicators that he is approaching the coast, Joyon will be stepping up his vigilance, paying careful attention to wear and tear on the boat, and more than ever remaining in tune with the behaviour of his big, red trimaran as she rides over the waves.