After several slow days as he crossed the South Atlantic high, Francis JOYON is back up to speed and now less than 4,000nm from the end of his solo round the world voyage.
It was a slow weekend for Francis JOYON (FRA) and his giant trimaran IDEC, during which he lost over 500nm of his lead over Ellen MACARTHUR's (GBR) solo round the world record pace. However since the early hours of Monday morning, IDEC has steadily been picking up speed and since yesterday afternoon has been averaging over 20 knots as JOYON closes in on the equator. With the French skipper having just entered his 47th day at sea, he is now just under 3,800nm from the finish.
It has been a taxing last seven days for JOYON, who has seen his lead over MACARTHUR's record pace drop from over 3,400nm at this time last week, to just over 2,500 nm today. Crossing the South Atlantic high has been tough on both boat and skipper, with frequent sail changes required in the squalls and rough seas.
Now hooked into the southeast trade winds, JOYON looks set to enjoy faster progress. His 24-hour distance runs have consistently climbed over the past 48 hours, up to a high of 481nm at the 09:00 UTC poll this morning. IDEC is on starboard tack, heading due north to the equator, which JOYON looks set to cross some stage on Thursday, during his 48th day at sea. The current holder of the solo round the world record, MACARTHUR, crossed the equator 60 days, 13 hours and 35 minutes into her voyage.
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