Francis JOYON rounded Cape Horn on Saturday, taking just 49 days, 2 hours, 21 minutes from his start in Brest, France in November. He is at present 13 days and 3 hours ahead of the pace set by the current record holder, Michel DESJOYEAUX.
Desjoyeaux's record was set onboard the Open 60 monohull PRB during the 2000 - 2001 Vendée Globe (see the World Sailing Speed Record Council website at the address below Joyon is sailing the trimaran IDEC, ex-Sport Elec, on which Olivier de Kersauson set a crewed Jules Verne Record in 1997. That record is now held by Bruno Peyron, both de Kersauson and Peyron will challenge the record in the coming weeks, as will Steve Fossett's Cheyenne (ex-Playstation).
The Jules Verne Record is 64d 8h 37m 24s. Desjoyeaux's record is 93d 3h 57m 32s; if Joyon can maintain his current lead he could finish in 80 days. In 1997 de Kersauson and team sailed the same boat around the world in 71d 14h 22m 08s -- getting anywhere near that time singlehanded would be an astonishing accomplishment for Joyon.
His passage was marked by 45 knots winds, forcing him to lower his gennaker and proceed down the coast with three reefs in the main and a storm jib. Passing close to the coast, he saw no lights at night..."The only inhabitants were the Yagan Indians, and since they were exterminated, there is nobody any more here. While passing under the wind of the small islands, I felt the odor of guano, I really passed very close to the course, perhaps at a half-thousand metres."
"It was beautiful, really very beautiful… At daybreak, what astonished me, is that the mountains were snow-covered… and it's summer here! The tops in the distance were completely white, I really did not expect that. It is a beautiful course, the extremely jagged East coast, it is an incredible wild beauty."
"The conditions should remain rough for the next 36 hours. I have still a large large depression to face, therefore I remain a little bit vigilant."