Saturday, November 24, 2007

Joyon Takes Off to Set New Round the World Record

This Friday morning November 23, 2007, Francis Joyon set out, once again, to break the solo round the world sailing record. A record he took four years ago that Ellen MacArthur improved on in the following year.

The red stem of maxi-trimaran IDEC crossed the starting line at 11h05' 52 this morning in a north easterly wind of 15 knots, which is expected to increase to 25 knots off Brittany, on calm sea and under a mixed sky of large black clouds and lighter patches. Francis Joyon, a 51 year old from La Trinité-sur-Mer, set out under full main and gennaker, to the din of helicopters and accompanying high speed motorboats.

The World Sailing Speed Records Council (WSSRC) validated the departure and calculated that to beat the record, IDEC must finish before Sunday February 3, 2008 at 1h23' 25 '' French time. A few moments before leaving the pontoon of Brest, Francis Joyon confirmed what he had said yesterday: “The weather conditions are favourable enough to not lose too much time compared Castorama on the first part of the course. We should have sufficiently constant and regular carrying winds to remain in a blow for this first week of race. One hopes to make a good time, because it is important not to be too much behind Ellen MacArthur’s time at the equator, since she profited from very favorable conditions in this segment.”

Jean-Yves Bernot, IDEC enlarged: "With winter winds getting established in Western Europe, one must not mess about, one must leave. Passing the Brittany point, the wind will settle to 25 knots of North-East and should make it possible for IDEC to reach speeds of about 23 to 24 knots. Around Finisterre, the wind will go up to 28 to 30 knots. There will undoubtedly be the need for tacking in the Bay of Biscay to follow wind oscillations of about ten degrees. The important thing is that, as for as we can see, there will be no break on the route to get into the trade winds, as there was for competitors in the Transatlantic Jacques Vabre. I’m hoping it won’t take Francis much more than a week, perhaps eight days, to reach the equator. That would be perfect."

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