On stand-by in Cadiz since the end of September, Francis Joyon and his crew, composed of Antoine Blouet, Bertand Delesne, Christophe Houdet and Bernard Stamm, have decided to interrupt their wait for optimal conditions to attempt to beat the Discovery Route record, and to postpone this attempt until next spring.
Francis is naturally frustrated, but has no regrets, as no suitable window of opportunity to beat the very demanding reference time set in 2013 by Yann Guichard and the maxi trimaran Spindrift, was available during the month of October. Francis and his comrades will quickly bring the maxi trimaran IDEC SPORT back to Brittany where she will undergo a winter refit at the Multiplast shipyard in Vannes to get ready for a new attempt in March or April 2022.
“This is the first time in my career that I’ve interrupted a stand-by without having attempted to set a record,” admits Francis Joyon, “It’s a strange feeling, but after a long month of waiting, and no interesting prospects on the horizon for the next 15 days, we’ve decided to interrupt our adventure, and to postpone it until next spring.”
The consultations with the weather expert, friend and associate of the project Christian Dumard, go in this direction. The lows are currently following one another on a very southern axis in the Atlantic and are imposing a “leapfrog” regime from system to system, which is unfavorable to the record. “All our routings suggested crossings in 8 or 9 days, far from the reference time to beat!”
This reference time set in 2013 by Yann Guichard and his giant trimaran Spindrift, in 6 days, 14 hours, 29 minutes and 53 seconds to cover the 4,481 miles between Cadiz and Santo Domingo via the Canary Islands, requires very specific weather conditions to hope to improve it. “The Azores high should be well centered over the archipelago to generate northeasterly winds favorable for very high speed,” Francis explains. “This flow should then be maintained throughout the crossing from the Canaries to the Caribbean arc. But what we have been offered for several weeks is a scenario that invariably requires crossing lows, with their corollary of tack changes that are harmful to performance. You really have to cross on a single starboard tack to hope to improve this record. We find such conditions in the fall, as was the case for Spindrift, but also at the end of winter, as was the case for Armel le Cléach single-handed attempt in 2014.”
Francis and his team are therefore bringing IDEC SPORT back to Brittany. “We have a lot of work to do on the hull. The winter will be conducive to getting the boat back into an optimum configuration so that we can consider a new stand-by in Cadiz in March or April.”