Francis JOYON is back in the northern hemisphere after IDEC crossed the equator on Thursday, over 12 days up on the solo round the world record pace.
Francis JOYON (FRA) and his giant IDEC trimaran crossed the equator for the second time at 12:23 UTC today, 48 days, 2 hours and 18 minutes after beginning his attempt to better Ellen MACARTHUR's (GBR) solo round the world record. It took MACARTHUR 60 days, 13 hours and 35 minutes to reach the same point in her voyage, putting JOYON 12 days, 11 hours and 17 minutes ahead of the record pace.
Driven by the trade winds, punctuated by a few squalls heralding the doldrums, IDEC is now recording her best speeds since passing Cape Horn two weeks ago. Throughout today, IDEC has consistently posted 24-hour runs over 530nm, an average speed of 22 knots.
JOYON already appears to be enjoying his return to the northern hemisphere, "It smells like home,"
he said from onboard IDEC today. "The North Atlantic is a familiar territory to me, I know it well having already crossed it 25 times. And it is true that the sense of arrival is becoming evermore present."
However, now JOYON faces the doldrums and a busy 24 hours as he tries to make every move possible to make his passage through them as quick as possible. "I know I will not sleep much in the next 24 hours,"
he observed. "The Intertropical Convergence Zone is moving northward, and I have no time to lose if I want to escape."
The rest of the programme looks fairly standard for this area of the globe at this time of year, "The northeast trade winds are firmly in place,"
said JOYON. From here he will be looking to find the perfect trajectory north to hook into the westerly winds circulating north of the Azores.
Yesterday the rudder of the port hull was causing JOYON some problems, as it appeared to move out of alignment with the rudder on the main hull and cause some problems with stiffness in the steering. Today though the rudder was realigned and IDEC looks to be in fine health as she and JOYON began the final lap of this incredible circumnavigation.
The Record To Beat
Record: Round the World, non-stop, singlehanded
Skipper: Ellen MACATHUR (GBR)
Dates: 28 November 2004-7 February 2005
Elapsed time: 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds
Distance: 21,760 nm
Average Speed: 12.66 knots
Trimaran IDEC - www.trimaran-idec.com
World Sailing Speed Record Council - www.sailspeedrecords.com