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7 November 2008, 05:40 pm
JOYON Breaks Discovery Route Record
Francis JOYON onboard IDEC
Francis JOYON has broken the Discovery Route record

World Record Attempt

Francis JOYON sailed the maxi trimaran IDEC across the finishing line off San Salvador at 02:06 UTC on Friday to break the solo Discovery Route record by 15 hours and 15 minutes, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.
Francis JOYON (FRA) had left Cadiz, Spain at 05:30:57 seconds UTC on Tuesday 28 October, before crossing the finishing line in San Salvador, the Bahamas to complete the 3,885nm Discovery Route, named after the historical track taken by Christopher COLUMBUS, at an average speed of 16.4 knots. With a running time of 9 days, 20 hours and 35 minutes, he betters the current record, set by Thomas COVILLE (FRA) onboard the 60-foot trimaran Sodebo in 2005 at 10 days, 11 hours, 50 minutes and 46 seconds, by 15 hours and 15 minutes.

It is another record in an incredible year for JOYON, who smashed the singlehanded round the world record in January, a feat which has seen him nominated for the 2008 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards. The male and female winners of the 2008 Award will be announced in Madrid, Spain next Tuesday 11 November.

As when COVILLE set his record, it was night and following a relatively easy circumvention of San Salvador that JOYON crossed the finish line of the Discovery Route. A small boat was waiting in the Caribbean, with Clifford FERNANDES, a delegate from the World Speed Sailing Record Council onboard, firing the gun to signal the completed passage of the giant multihull.

JOYON and IDEC got off to a flying start on their record attempt, passing through the Canary Islands little over 24 hours after starting the record attempt in Cadiz. However from that point on the route proved much more complex, with the French skipper having to take a very northerly course. In the end, he actually covered a distance of 4,304 nautical miles, at an average speed of 17.7 knots.

JOYON Happy And Satisfied

In his usual brief way, JOYON pointed to his satisfaction in crossing the finishing line. "The uncertainty was high until the end, both the wind conditions over the last 200 miles were unpredictable. The small north wind held until the end, allowing IDEC to keep 12 to 14 knots of speed necessary to maintain the advantage that I had built during two days of beautiful sailing on 3 and 4 November. The icing on the cake for me to have this crossing in 10 days..." he explained.

JOYON expanded further on his decision to head north: "When Jean-Yves BERNOT [JOYON's onshore weather router] and I decided to follow a route north, the decision was dictated by the absence of trade winds established on the usual passage of the Discovery Route. Instead of sailing in the wind bearing west, I had the opportunity to make big days over 550 miles reaching, interspersed with areas of transitions which were very damaging because my advance fluctuated between 414 miles and 88 miles .... The comparison with the ORMA 60ft trimaran Sodebo and Thomas COVILLE was very interesting because beyond the obvious difference in size [IDEC is 30 metres against 18.28 metres of Sodebo], crossing light wind zones would benefit a lighter boat. I often regretted not having a "dragonfly" of five tons instead of the 11 tons of IDEC. But my course was sailed at such high speed that we could make these beautiful days that ultimately made the difference."

The Record To Beat

Record: Cadiz to San Salvador, Singlehanded
Yacht: Sodebo, 60ft trimaran
Skipper: Thomas COVILLE (FRA)
Dates: July 2005
Elapsed time: 10 days, 11 hours, 50 minutes and 46 seconds
Distance: 3,884 nautical miles
Average Speed: 15.41 knots

ISAF (source: IDEC)
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