January 2008 - Francis Joyon has smashed
the round the world record by 14 days! Heartfelt congratulations
from all here at Solar Navigator HQ at this tremendous achievement. NK
few hours after his successful sail around the world in 57 days, 13 hours,
34 minutes and 6 seconds, a tired, yet smiling and relaxed Francis Joyon
attended a press conference to mark the end of his voyage. Given a
standing ovation by the 160 journalists, the skipper of the IDEC trimaran
once again praised his « super boat.» Here are some of the subjects he
The final hours of the record
Finishing at night was a little tricky. I drew close to the continental
shelf with all the fishing boats around and I had to swerve twice to avoid
boats: firstly a fishing vessel then a cargo ship, which went ten metres
behind my stern. Once again some tense moments. It’s not very often that
you have to change course like that, especially twice in such a short
space of time.
Friendly crowds turn out in Brest
It feels a bit like arriving on the Moon! Reaching Brest with all those
people watching, was something I had never experienced before. The support
and warmth of the welcome from the people of Brest impressed me.
A summary of the voyage?
That’s a difficult one! I was lucky enough to have at my disposal a
boat, which sails quickly, for a long time and over long distances. You
have to imagine a windsurfer, who managed to surf along without
interruption through the world’s oceans. The Indian went by very
quickly. In the Pacific, it took a little more hard work because of the
complicated weather patterns, which forced me to go down a long way south.
On one special day I saw five icebergs on the same day, which was
beginning to get a bit worrying. It wasn’t easy distinguishing the
crests of the waves from the ice. I went by Cape Horn fairly quickly and
then afterwards, for the Atlantic climb, I discovered what it was like to
come to a standstill. Then, I had a lot of headwinds, which doesn’t
really suit multihulls very much. The, in spite of the technical problems,
the boat made her way home. It wasn’t easy everyday, but I’m pleased
to be here with you today.
I don’t know if I really have one. When you’re tired, you can quickly
start to become very mystical, so I’m going to have to watch what I say
(laughter). Perhaps I knew how to respect the elements, with a boat that
didn’t pollute anything, pushed along by green power. Perhaps it is my
respect for the sea that enabled me to get through.
What was the most difficult thing?
The hardest thing was going up the mast to try to repair the damage to the
shroud support, in particular the first time I went up in cross seas. I
was really battered around, I kept slamming into the mast, and it really
was very dangerous.
Jean-Yves Bernot’s routing?
Jean-Yves has sailed a lot as part of a crew. Sometimes he said: in 24
hours time, you need to be 600 miles further on.. He really raised the
bar! He always reacts to 100% of what the boat can offer. He communicated
to me where the boat could be at such and such a place or at a particular
time, according to the wind direction. That encouraged me to keep pushing.
Ellen MacArthur and Thomas Coville
Thanks to them too. Without Ellen the boat would not have existed, as if
she hadn’t grabbed the record three years ago, I would have had no
reason to go back. Thanks to Thomas, we had to build the best boat
possible. He made us that much more demanding.
What about the boat?
It was almost as if I was getting told off by the designers, who were
telling me I was going too fast, that I hadn’t respected the running in
period (laughter)! More seriously, Nigel Irens and Benoît Cabaret did
some amazing work. The boat shows an incredible potential to pass through
the waves in perfect harmony. I had never seen anything like that before
and that is what allowed me to sail quickly. It’s the work of a whole
The designers, boat builders, those, who built the masts, sails (which did
not suffer a single rip or tear…) everyone gave it their utmost. I’m
thinking too of Marsaudon Composites, of Christophe Houdet, everyone… An
extraordinary team. There was a lot of passion and a lot of pleasure
involved. That is what makes IDEC so successful. That is why she is such a
I thought the probability of smashing the record was one in three or
four. The simple fact that we sailed around the world in a multihull with
no damage and without stopping is something you cannot count on, even
before you start talking about the record.
Until the Indian, we glided along nicely with some favourable winds,
even if there were the usual difficulties on this sort of route. The
Pacific was as ever difficult and the Atlantic was much more difficult
than usual. There comes a time, when you have to pay for all the good
fortune you have had beforehand. It was the toughest climb back up the
Atlantic that I have endured.
Did you ever think of giving up?
At the Equator after discovering the damage to the shroud, I did think
about heading for the islands of Fernando de Noronha to work on the mast,
but that was 400 miles away… In the worst scenario, I would have set
sail again after a pit stop, but I never thought of retiring from the
The results of a clean boat with no fossil
I had equipment, which used as little energy as possible. A boat is like
an island or indeed like the planet: you need to protect the environment,
but also reduce to a minimum your consumption of non-renewable energy. It
all worked very well, with the batteries always fully charged. The results
are extremely positive: 20 kg for the wind
turbine, 20 kg of solar panels
and 15 litres of methanol for the fuel cell, makes it much lighter than an
engine and all the litres of fuel you require. It’s also highly
satisfying to do that in a "good" way, by attempting to reduce
the footprint on the planet.
I’ll probably have a go at the Cadix-San Salvador, some Pacific records
and probably try to win back the 24-hour record from Sodeb’O."
Will you miss the boat tonight?
I shan’t be far from it for very long. I fitted most of the parts
myself, which means I’m involved on a daily basis… I’ll look after
her as soon as she is back in la Trinité.
What they said:
Patrice Lafargue, CEO of IDEC
Sailing around the world on a multihull alone is much more than a simple
sport. It’s an adventure. With Francis, we have built a friendship based
on shared values. I have been lucky enough to know someone, who fascinates
me, while remaining simple and reserved. It’s great meeting people like
him, who stand out. He had a wonderful round the world voyage. Words
cannot describe that. When he set out I was a bit worried.. when someone
like that sets out, you really want him back. The record is fabulous,
extraordinary… but above all I’m pleased to see Francis. The future?
We can still do some great things together, but it’s too soon to talk
about that and we’re a bit like spoilt children, as he has given us so
Jean Todt, sponsor of the ICM and the IDEC
I have always felt great admiration for the type of risk that these
sailors take, especially single-handed yachtsmen. I was amazed by Ellen
MacArthur’s performance, so am completely dazzled by Francis’s. I was
lucky enough to chat with him on two occasions on the phone. By chance it
was at a difficult moment, and he was astonishingly calm. I followed him
with great interest, admiring the courage it took, as personally I
wouldn’t even attempt to cross the Lake in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris
on a yacht. More seriously, to make the ICM project succeed, we need
great personalities like Francis.
Professor Gérard Saillant, founder of the
ICM and sponsor of the trimaran
I experienced this round the world voyage like everyone else, taking a
look at the website every morning, worrying whether there were any
problems on board… and the final week was that much tougher than the
others. At the finish, Francis appeared to have his eyes partly closed and
looked tired, but I saw that he was still in fine form. He has some
extraordinary physical resistance. The machine is fantastic, but it is the
man we need to put first. I’d like to thank him for supporting our
cause, which is to try to offer answers to patients suffering from brain
and bone marrow disorders, which will affect one out of every eight of us.
globe is shrinking : An amazing
feat however you look at it. The IDEC trimaran crossed the finishing line off Brest on
Sunday 20th January 2008 at 00h39'58 At the age of 51, Francis Joyon is
once again the fastest solo yachtsman around the world having completed
the voyage in 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds. He has
shattered the previous record, held since 2005 by the British yachtswoman,
Ellen MacArthur by 14 days, 44 minutes and 27 seconds.
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