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Thread: IDEC Sport 2016-2017 Jules Verne Record Attempt

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    Homing In On Cape Horn



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    CHARGING AHEAD, IDEC SPORT EXTENDS HER LEAD
    10 January 2017

    With less than a thousand miles to go to the Horn, IDEC SPORT is charging ahead towards the third and final major cape in the round the world voyage. In a twenty-knot westerly wind, the six men are pushing hard, foot on the accelerator with a series of gybes in this final stretch in the extreme south. This morning sailing at between the 57th and 58th parallel, Francis Joyon, Alex Pella, Sébastien Audigane, Gwénolé Gahinet, Clément Surtel and Bernard Stamm have taken their lead to 1700 miles in this Jules Verne Trophy attempt.

    Extending their lead by 300 miles since yesterday, Francis Joyon is not hiding the fact that he has a few worries about getting around the Cape. He is expecting light winds and even calms, which would slow them down considerably as they prepare to enter the Atlantic. To deal with this area with all its uncertainties, Francis Joyon and the router Marcel van Triest hope to reach the tip of Tierra del Fuego from the north to benefit from a more favourable air stream. This morning after moving to 57°S to avoid encountering an iceberg or growlers, the red and grey trimaran has already moved back up several degrees of latitude with the wind from astern.




    The next 24 hours look tense as they approach the famous cape. The six of them may have clocked up more than fifteen roundings of Cape Horn, but they are all looking forward to getting back to warmer climes and making their way back up the South Atlantic. “This is always a big moment. Our race strategy changes at that moment. We go from what is sometimes close to survival mode to much more comfortable and normal sailing,” explained the skipper of IDEC SPORT, who will be rounding the Cape for the fifth time.
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    The Horn 4 Days In Advance



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    THE HORN THIS EVENING, FOUR DAYS AHEAD OF THE RECORD PACE
    11 January 2017

    Francis Joyon, Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Sébastien Audigane, Gwénolé Gahinet and Clément Surtel are about to achieve one of the finest stories in the history of the Jules Verne Trophy. By late today (UTC) they should be able to see the lights of Cape Horn, marking the way out of the Pacific and the entrance into the Atlantic. After shattering the Indian record (4 days, 9 hours and 37 minutes) IDEC SPORT should be rounding the Horn after just 26 days and a few hours. The holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, Banque Populaire V with her crew of fourteen took 30 days 22 hours and 18 minutes to get to the tip of South America.

    IDEC SPORT is advancing with the wind from astern and is having to carry out a series of gybes to find the best angle in strong winds, in order to maintain their high speeds. They will be taking a northerly route to avoid the calms, which are appearing in Drake Passage. A final difficulty before leaving the Southern Ocean and returning to the more hospitable waters of the Atlantic and the climb back up to Ushant.
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    The New Standard




    IDEC SPORT more than 4 days and 6 hours ahead of the record at the Horn.

    The IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran skippered by Francis Joyon crossed the longitude of Cape Horn, the last of the three major capes in the Jules Verne trophy at 0004 UTC on Thursday 12th January. After leaving Ushant on 16th December, Joyon and his crew of five, Clément Surtel, Sébastien Audigane, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet and Alex Pella have achieved the best intermediate time between Ushant and Cape Horn, completing this stretch in 26 days, 15 hours, 45 minutes some 4 days 6 hours and 35 minutes ahead of the reference time set by Banque Populaire V in 2012 (30 days, 22 hours and 19 minutes). This is their fourth intermediate record including the Pacific Ocean record between the SE of Tasmania and Cape Horn with a time of 7 days 21 hours and 14 minutes (record held by Bruno Peyron since 2005 with a time of 8 days, 18 hours and 8 minutes).

    IDEC-SPORT sailed the 18,332 miles out on the water between Ushant and Cape Horn at an average speed of 28.7 knots.

    Jules Verne Trophy reference time / Banque Populaire V (2012): 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds
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    An Argentine Lift




    GETTING A LIFT OFF ARGENTINA
    13 January 2017

    And they’re off again! While they had to wait a short while for the low-pressure system to leave Argentina, Francis Joyon and his men sailing to the NW of the Falklands have enjoyed a good morning. The wind has built from the starboard stern of the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran, which is back up to high speeds again. Joyon, Surtel, Gahinet, Stamm, Audigane and Pella will be trying to get the most out of this disturbed weather system in the next two days.

    Making good progress towards the north on a good point of sail, they nevertheless have to avoid the very strong winds by gybing at the right moment this evening. Strong winds and a good angle, with decent seas ahead of the low and a crew that managed to get some rest in the calm conditions off the Falklands… everything is falling into place off Argentina to get back up to the incredible speeds we have seen from the IDEC maxi-trimaran over the past four weeks.



    “We’re going along at 27-30 knots on a very easterly bearing, which will gradually swing around to the north.” Clément Surtel, one of the five men in Joyon’s band of warriors, is calmly looking ahead to the next few days aboard IDEC SPORT, as they deal with the various hurdles in the South Atlantic. “With the big gennaker at 140° to the wind, on manageable seas, it’s smooth sailing time again. Yesterday was a day of extremely light airs, allowing the weary foot soldiers to get some rest and carry out an inspection of the boat,” explained the sailor in charge of the technical aspects. “I saw that there was some wear I hadn’t seen before,” he said with some astonishment. This goes to show how hard they have in fact been pushing the boat since 17th December. “We dealt with all these little problems and the boat is back to 100%. We’re pleased to get back up to speed this morning. We’re on our way home now. We are focusing on the boat and looking forward to a positive outcome. We need to remain focused until we get to Ushant.” Incidentally, Clément Surtel is a cousin to Servane Escoffier, Louis Burton’s wife. The skipper taking part in the Vendée Globe is just ahead of them and they were able to exchange a few e-mails.



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    Clear skies, flat calm seas, favourable winds… the helmsmen have however not yet finished with their gloves and protection. “We’re still down at 50°S and at night, it’s chilly, so we sleep with our wooly hats on,” said the youngest member of the crew, Gwénolé Gahinet, still in awe of the sights around the Falklands yesterday. “We enjoyed rounding the Horn and passing the Falklands. Since this morning we have got back up to high speed. We’re expecting 30-35-40 knot winds in the coming hours. That’s quite windy, but we don’t have that nasty swell that goes with it sometimes. We will turn off to avoid the worst of the low this evening between 1600hrs UTC and 2300hrs UTC.”

    6300 miles from the finish and in spite of a pleasant day as tourists off the Falklands, IDEC SPORT is now back up to more than 22 knots of VMG, with a lead of just over 1900 miles over the Jules Verne Trophy title-holder.
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    Negotiating With A Stubborn High





    Somewhat scalded by the insolent brio with which Francis Joyon and his extraordinary crew of the maxi trimaran Idec Sports are played of the vast seas of the great south, the Atlantic Ocean in its southern part had concocted a welcome tonic to more suitors to the quest The Trophy Jules Verne. Faced with the choice of extreme road, between long distance to the east, and looks like a close to the west, it's on a sea particularly difficult, "Casse boat" to be precise, that the Joyon, Pella, Thisor, Audigane Stamm and Gahinet have chosen, on the advice of a Marcel van Triest more involved than ever, to cling to the road north the most direct who leads them, at the start of their thirtieth day of race, to cross off the coast of Buenos Aires with a Comfortable advance on the holding of the trophy.






    The Maxi-trimaran idec sport comes to negotiate with a certain brio a first reef in the South Atlantic, materialized by the delicate negotiation of a southern depression very virulent in circulation since the Argentinian coast. All the exercise was to Joyon and his men to hang the northern edge of this rapid system, to take advantage of the winds of the South-West sector conducive for at a time, moving towards the east, then, imperceptibly, towards the north.



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    North Towards The Equator



    HEADING NORTH
    17 January 2017

    Fine weather and calm seas off the coast of Brazil. After picking up the trade winds last night, on the 33rd day of racing against the clock, IDEC SPORT is heading due north at speeds varying between 25-30 knots, as they make their way towards the Equator, which they are expecting to cross in 3 or 4 days. Shortly they will have less than 4500 miles to go to get to Ushant, so Francis Joyon and his crew are about to start one of the final stretches in their round the world voyage in fairly favourable conditions clocking up easy miles while getting some rest and finding time to recuperate. This looks promising for what lies ahead in the Jules Verne Trophy attempt, with the forecasts announcing a low pressure system in the North Atlantic and a fast and furious final sprint home, as they complete this amazing round the world voyage, where the speedos have been going wild.

    After a day spent carrying out odd jobs around the boat and looking after themselves, showering and shaving, Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Gwénolé Gahinet, Clément Surtel and Sébastien Audigane admit they are pleased to be in better conditions in moderate trade winds allowing them to take the direct route.

    On the starboard tack, the red and grey trimaran, slowed right down yesterday in a transition zone, has picked up speed again and is heading north with her bows aiming for the Equator. “We have picked up some wind and are back at nice speeds again around 26-27 knots without making the boat suffer. The seas are fairly calm, so the boat isn’t slamming and the trimming isn’t changing that much. It’s fairly quiet, which makes a change for us and from what we have been through over the past few weeks. We let the autopilot take over occasionally, as that works well with the J1-full mainsail with occasional trimming to deal with the very small wind shifts,” explained Clément Surtel, confident in the work that has been done to deal with the little “cuts and bruises” to the boat, after they patched up IDEC SPORT yesterday, after her dash across the Southern Ocean.



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    All feeling exhausted and wanting a nap

    While the trimaran accepted this pressure just picking up a few minor wounds, the same goes for the six men on board, who admit that they are starting to feel very tired after all the work done since the start on 16th December, when they left the harbour in Brest. In the calm waters of the South Atlantic, the opportunity to grab some sleep to make up for the lost hours on watch or at the helm dealing with the waves in extreme latitudes, was something not to be missed. “Everyone wakes up tired and clocking up hours of sleep: that’s when you realise how exhausted you really are,” declared Clément. This sentiment was shared by Sébastien Audigane, who added, “After all, we have been clocking up crazy speeds. That’s bound to add to the stress, even if you don’t realise it immediately. Then, there’s the cold too. That doesn’t help you rest. At the moment in the fairly light conditions, everyone is taking a nap and that is really appreciated.”

    Remaining cautious, but feeling confident

    Sleep, trade winds in clear skies and pleasant sunshine off Rio de Janeiro, with clearer weather forecasts ahead, that is enough for the gang on IDEC SPORT to feel upbeat about what lies ahead and the conclusion to this crazy adventure, as long as they do not get charmed by any sirens. “No one is safe from a UFO or making a mistake. Now more than ever, we have to sail cleanly, manoeuvre properly and not take any risks with the boat, as we deal with a small low-pressure system at the end,” stressed Clément. Attentive to the boat, he is optimistic like his fellow crewmen about the weather ahead of them, which should give IDEC SPORT a good final run after all they have so far achieved.

    “For a while now, we have seen that there is a possibility for us. We should finish with a decent SW’ly wind of thirty knots with drizzle and rain. It will become clearer in the coming days, but it looks like ideal scenario,” added Sébastien Audigane.
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    Pleasure Sailing In The Tropics



    IDEC SPORT is less than 1000 miles from entering the Northern Hemisphere. At 17°S this morning, the big red and grey trimaran is climbing back up the Atlantic pushed along by the Brazilian trade winds, which are allowing Francis Joyon and his men to keep up an average of 25 knots as they continue in their attempt to grab the Jules Verne Trophy.



    After all the hard work, some rest. After racing across the Southern Ocean at speeds which allowed them to enter the history books, the gang on IDEC SPORT is continuing to advance at speed towards the Equator. “The trade winds are from the east and it’s pleasant sailing. We’re making between 25 and 30 knots, without getting drenched. We haven’t forgotten the charms of the South, but we are enjoying what the Tropics have to offer,” the skipper of IDEC SPORT told us. Out on deck, Clément Surtel and Alex Pella are taking advantage of these dream conditions. “It’s a bit like being on holiday. The weather is fine, we’re eating and sleeping well with the boss at the helm,” laughed Alex Pella, who is always in a good mood like the other members of this crew.



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    Sailing 500 miles off the coast of Brazil, Francis Joyon and his crewmen are making the most of the conditions while attempting to avoid the hurdles along the way. This morning they are 1630 miles ahead of the record pace, even if they have given back a few miles in the past few days to their virtual rival, Banque Populaire V. That is only normal in this section of the race course, where it is hard to clock up high average speeds, remembering they were 4 days and 6 hours ahead of the record at Cape Horn.
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    Equator Crossing On Today's To Do List




    FINAL HOURS IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC
    19 January 2017

    The IDEC SPORT Maxi trimaran will soon be leaving the South Atlantic. Francis Joyon and his crew of five should be sailing into the Northern Hemisphere early this evening. This morning they are progressing at around 400 miles from the Equator keeping up speeds of around twenty knots as they head north. They should set a new record between Ushant and the Equator shaving just under four days off the 38 days, 2 hours, 45 minutes and 48 seconds it took Loïck Peyron and his men on Banque Populaire V in 2012.



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    Joyon’s men will have taken around the same time in the South Atlantic as the title-holder, who was particularly quick in this stretch five years ago, when they set the record between Cape Horn and the Equator with a time of 7 days 4 hours and 27 minutes. Rather than these official figures, it is the Doldrums that is currently weighing on the minds of the lads on the big red and grey trimaran. Joyon and his crew have already suffered in this zone before. Conditions could hold them up once again complicating the transition before they get to the steady NE’ly trade winds and the home strait to Ushant.
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    Another Milestone For Joyon




    NEW EQUATOR RECORD FOR IDEC SPORT


    At 1228hrs UTC on Friday 20th January 2017, the maxi-trimaran IDEC SPORT crossed the Equator. Francis Joyon, Sébastien Audigane, Clément Surtel, Gwénolé Gahinet, Alex Pella and Bernard Stamm achieved the best performance ever for the stretch between Ushant and the Equator after rounding the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn) with a time of 35 days, 4 hours and 45 minutes. This is 2 days, 22 hours and 36 minutes better than the previous reference time held since 2012 by Loïck Peyron and the maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V.



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    This is the fifth intermediate record in this Jules Verne Trophy for Francis Joyon and his men, after the new records set at Cape Leeuwin, in Tasmania, the International Date Line and Cape Horn.

    "It is something that completely passed us by," declared Francis Joyon talking about the return to the Northern Hemisphere. "We have been focusing so much on getting across the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone forcing us to go west of the usual route to the north of Brazil. We are slowly getting around a huge area of high pressure, which although not as powerful as the Doldrums, is slowing us down in very light conditions. The sea is very calm and the sky is grey and it's very hot. We hope to pick us some wind late this afternoon to get back on track towards Brittany, sailing upwind to start off with, then opening up the sails to finish we hope and to be back at full speed after the Azores."

    Jules Verne Trophy – Reference time / Banque Populaire V (2012): 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds
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    IDEC SPORT EXPECTED IN BREST ON THURSDAY
    22 January 2017

    After a tricky night on chaotic seas, IDEC SPORT has found her wings again in the trade winds and is heading due north towards the south of the Azores at speeds averaging around 25 knots. At the latitude of the Cape Verde Islands, the Doldrums are now in their wake and Francis Joyon, Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Sébastien Audigane, Clément Surtel and Gwénolé Gahinet, looking for strong winds associated with an area of low pressure, are now expected back in Brest (Brittany) after finishing the Jules Verne Trophy on the morning of Thursday 26th January. While the latest simulations show the six sailors tackling the final phase of their round the world race today after 37 days at sea since leaving Ushant, this is not the time for unnecessary risks, as they are looking forward to success in one of the greatest maritime challenges aboard their 31m long red and grey maxi-trimaran.

    “We’re not going to do anything silly. What we want now is to finish… “. With his voice sounding exhausted after a night with tiring wind and sea conditions, Sébastien Audigane told us what he could see and how things were looking on this Sunday in the North Atlantic. “We’re facing the Cape Verde Islands. We’re on the right route to get home. We’re reaching at 80 degrees from the wind. In around fifteen hours, the wind will swing around to offer us downwind sailing with a fairly direct route in a SSW’ly breeze. Between now and the finish, we’re going to put our foot on the brake. Sometimes, it’s not easy, as multihulls are boats that accelerate quickly. We will have to be extra careful. But we aren’t expecting very nasty conditions. We have seen worse.”



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    Slow down, reduce the sail

    The last few hours in the trade winds acted as a reminder that IDEC SPORT needs to be tamed at times to avoid taking risks and suffering damage. “’During the night, we had to slow down, as we ran into fairly heavy, boat-breaking seas coming straight at us. We had to reduce the speed by about ten knots going from thirty to twenty knots. Now we’re off again,” confirmed Francis Joyon, who with his wealth of experience, measures to what extent they have to find the right dose of being cautious, with the possibility of clocking up high speeds from today onwards.

    2500 miles from the finish, IDEC SPORT is expected to move to downwind sailing in a fresh breeze tonight on the southern edge of the low, which is currently sweeping across the Atlantic. This is a strong, powerful flow, which is set to stay with them and allow them to “gallop” as Joyon said, more or less on the direct route back towards Ushant. “We have to find a compromise about where to position ourselves in the low-pressure system. Our goal is to find the right place to get quite a lot of wind, but not too much swell,” added the skipper, who can rely on the help of Marcel van Triest, the onshore router and seventh man, to ensure the boat is in the right place and at the right time, as they begin this fast final strait to the finish line off the coast of Brittany.

    Save the date: Thursday in Brest

    “We are remaining very vigilant in terms of the equipment and the boat, but the feeling is upbeat on board. It is a relief to have passed the Doldrums, slowly but surely, as this zone is always a worrying one. Now we are all looking forward to getting back with our families and happy to get close to pulling off this major record,” added Francis Joyon. According to the latest estimates, IDEC SPORT is expected to finish on Thursday between 0800 and 1300hrs UTC. The crew can count on the lead they built up over the miles, as they sailed around the world to attempt to smash the reference time (45d 13hrs 42mins 53secs), set five years ago by Loïck Peyron and his crew of thirteen aboard the 40m long maxi-multihull, Banque Populaire V.
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