Francis Joyon set off this morning at the start of his latest adventure doing something that he always enjoys: trying to beat the clock. The record-breaking sailor, skipper of IDEC SPORT is tackling the reference time for the Mauritius Route set in 2009 aboard the previous IIDEC trimaran.
In 2014, Lionel Lemonchois attempted to smash that record, but his boat capsized off Brazil, confirming just how complicated this 8,800-mile course can be.
Better than 26 days, 4 hours and 13 minutes
On Saturday 19th October, Francis Joyon left his home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer in Southern Brittany to head for the start line off the Citadel of Port Louis. At 0911hrs UTC (1111hrs French time), Francis crossed the start line in a light westerly wind. A few hours earlier, he gave us his final impressions about the weather opportunity, explaining that it was not ideal, but favourable enough given the context:
“It’s true that the wind isn’t very strong. I’d have liked it to be stronger, but we don’t have the choice as otherwise we would be facing strong headwinds. I need to pick up a light northerly flow by heading into the westerly winds first. After that, it should be fairly fast down the coast of Portugal and past the Canaries? I’m going to have to weave my way around the Cape Verde Islands. With Christian Dumard (router back on dry land) we’re keeping an eye on a low pressure system forming further South, which risks interrupting the trade winds. That’s why we wanted to start so quickly. The record can be smashed. I may well be a bit behind by the Equator, but I hope to make up for that during the rest of the voyage.”
The equivalent of three Route du Rhum races
As he once again tackles the Mauritius Route record, Francis Joyon will be carrying out his longest trip alone aboard IDEC SPORT. “It is around the equivalent of three Route du Rhum races,” explained Francis. “There are hardly any moments when you can take the direct route. Ten years ago, I sailed 10,000 miles rather than the 8800 theoretical miles. This is going to be a much longer voyage on this boat than my previous solo trips, so it will be an opportunity to get to know the boat better.”
A bit of an adventure
The Mauritius Route record is the first act in the IDEC SPORT ASIAN TOUR 2019-2020, a brand new campaign of records covering almost 27,000 miles. “We have never done a voyage like this. That makes it the sort of adventure I enjoy,” said a delighted Francis Joyon.
After the Mauritius Route, there will be three more record attempts, this time with a crew:
Act 2: Mauritius – Ho Chi Minh (3975 miles),
Act 3: Ho Chi Minh – Hong Kong (920 miles)
Act 4: Clipper Route between Hong Kong and London (13,000 miles).