A NEW record was set to snatch the Jules Verne trophy. Francis Joyon and his Idec Sport crew sailed around the world in just 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds. The team smashed the previous record by more than four days, sailing 26,412 miles at an average speed of just under 27 knots.
During the race they also shattered a range of other records as they sped around the world from December 16, 2016 to January 26 this year. An onboard meteorologist helped the crew nip across the entire Indian ocean in just six days on their maxi trimaran Idec Sport yacht.
The six-member crew had one Spanish member, Alex Pella, but owes their success largely to the superhuman efforts of Joyon, a 60-year-old French veteran of the sport. On their 14th day the crew sailed 894 miles, while another record was set when they managed over 800 miles a day for eight consecutive days.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. The first attempt was aborted after just a few days. Later they experienced extreme storms in the Doldrums and were well behind the pace set by record holder, the Banque Populaire V as they finished the second week.
The quest will now be on to see who can half the original Jules Verne ideal of circumnavigating the world in 80 days. Winning skippers have almost exclusively been French with the first to manage a sub-80 day sail being Bruno Peyron in 1993.
If anyone is to break the 40-day mark then Joyon must be firm favourite. As well as skipping his crew to the Jules Verne trophy, the Breton also holds the record for the fastest solo sail around the world. He beat Brit Ellen MacArthur’s record in 2008 when he managed it in just 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and six seconds. He gained revenge for her usurping his previous world record when she had beaten it by one day in 2005.
Joyon holds one other staggering record. In 2005 he raced single-handedly across the Atlantic in little over six days and in one awe-inspiring 24-hour period managed to power across 543 nautical miles (1,006km).