IDEC SPORT crew set for tumultuous final night ahead of Jules Verne Trophy finish
French skipper Francis Joyon and his five-strong crew of hand-picked elite ocean racers aboard the 100-foot IDEC SPORT trimaran are today in the closing stages of a glorious record-setting lap of the planet.
A new record seems all but assured but there has been no backing down on the boat speed as the sailors take on their final 24-hours at sea.
With under 500 miles left to race to the finish line off the French island of Ushant, this morning Joyon’s men were set up for a high-speed fly-by of the rocky Spanish outcrop, Cape Finistère. Sailing in 35-knots of breeze the six-man crew are blitzing along at speeds over 30-knots as they ride the ocean swells on the approach to the Bay of Biscay.
The international crew that Joyon assembled to try to wrest the Jules Verne Trophy from fellow Frenchman Loick Peyron at his third attempt comprises Bernard Stamm from Switzerland, Alex Pella from Spain and three Frenchmen, Gwénolé Gahinet, Clément Surtel and Sébastien Audigane. The squad’s seventh man is their expert weather router, Marcel van Triest who has masterminded the record run from his base on the Mediterranean island of Palma, Mallorca.
Peyron’s record time of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds was set four years ago aboard the 140-foot trimaran then called Banque Populaire (now Spindrift 2).
Barring disasters in the final 500 miles, IDEC SPORT is expected to cross the official finish line between Ushant and Lizzard Point at the south-west tip of England on Thursday morning local time.
If all goes to plan they will have beaten Peyron’s Jules Verne Trophy record time by four days – a breath taking achievement for Joyon and his crew who had been stymied by the weather on their two previous attempts.
Fingers crossed then for their final night at sea. According to Sébastien Audigane it could be a tumultuous one.
“We’re on the home strait towards the coast of Finistère,” Audigane reports. “The wind is expected to veer in the Bay of Biscay. The final night of reaching looks rough and wet.
“For the moment, we are sailing quickly but safely. The seas are not too heavy and we are managing to get some sleep. Everything is fine aboard our mighty race boat.”
Follow the IDEC SPORT crew on their final miles with the team tracker here.