Photo: Mer & Media / JB Epron / IDEC

Joyon to tackle Jules Verne Trophy

French legend going for 'the round the world double'

Thursday June 4th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Since 2008 he has held the solo non-stop round the world record, but now, aged 59, Francis Joyon is about to attempt what would be a historic double in the history of ocean racing: The skipper of the IDEC SPORT maxi-multihull will be attempting his first crewed record and aims to go straight for the big one: the outright crewed non-stop round the world record, known as the Jules Verne Trophy.

The Jules Verne Trophy is currently held by a Banque Populaire team, led by Loïck Peyron, in a time of 45 days 13 hours, 22 minutes and 53 seconds. To undertake this new challenge for him, Joyon will be setting off aboard Franck Cammas’s former Groupama 3, the boat that claimed the Jules Verne Trophy in 2010 and has since, with a cut-down rig gone on to win the last two Route du Rhums outright, most recently in the colours of Banque Populaire.


The 31.5 m long VPLP-designed maxi trimaran has now been rebranded IDEC SPORT will be tackling the Jules Verne Trophy with a short-handed crew on a sort of commando raid. The new program for the boat, drawn up between Joyon and his backer, the IDEC Group, for the coming years, will in particular enable Joyon to open up a new sailing route, when he sets off in late 2016 to establish a new ocean racing record between France and China.

But before then there is the no small task of the Jules Verne and the impressively quick time of 45 days 13 hours 22 minutes and 53 seconds, set in 2012 by Banque Populaire V, a substantial improvement on Bruno Peyron and the crew of Commodore Explorer's time of 79 days 6 hours 15 minutes and 46 seconds set in 1993.

Joyon admits that in the intervening 22 years this record has had a hold over him. “I have closely followed all the attempts since 1993. Each time I felt admiration for the sailors setting off with a crew around the world. Now it’s my turn to tackle this amazing adventure.”

Following his singlehanded non-stop around the world attempts, Joyon certainly knows the race track. In fact his staggering solo record in 2008 of 57 days 13 hours 34 minutes and 6 seconds at the time was the second fastest time a sailing yacht had ever achieved around the world with a full crew!

The former Groupama 3/Banque Populaire VII, now IDEC SPORT is only marginally bigger at 31.5m than Joyon's previous Irens-Cabaret designed IDEC (now sold to Guo Chuan), however it is much more powerful. “Groupama 3 sailed around the world in 48 days with weather conditions that were far from ideal," observes Joyon. "The boat has the potential to shave a few days off that time and improve on the current record. It’s all very promising.”

Unlike the most recent Jules Verne Trophy attempts, Joyon will be taking a slightly different approach, sticking with his principles of simplicity and efficiency. In this vein he is opting for a smaller rig and having the boat in a configuration usually associated with solo sailing. But this will enable the boat to be lighter, in turn allowing him to make the attempt with a smaller crew. IDEC Sport is likely to make the attempt six-up, compared to the ten that were on board Groupama 3 or the 14 on Banque Populaire V.

“The smaller mast is more efficient and offers better performance when the wind is above 20 knots and it enables the boat to be safer and to cut through the water better. On top of that, having a smaller crew means the way we work on board will be simplified and we can go for a light weight approach. As she is so light, the new IDEC SPORT trimaran is a like a jet fighter,” says Joyon.

Joyon will be getting hold of his new IDEC SPORT in mid-September and plans to go on stand-by for the Jules Verne Trophy in early November. At the same time, another maxi trimaran Spindrift 2 is also going on stand-by for a Jules Verne Trophy attempt. At 40m Spindirft 2 is the world’s largest ocean racing trimaran and is none other than the former Banque Populaire V, the present Jules Verne Trophy record holder. The battle between the last giant trimarans and their different approaches promises to be fascinating.

Past Jules Verne Trophy holders:
1993 : Bruno Peyron on Commodore Explorer (Catamaran): 79d 6hrs 15mins 56s
1994 : Peter Blake and Robin Knox-Johnston on Enza (Catamaran): 74d 22hrs 17mins 22s
1997 : Olivier de Kersauson on Sport Elec (Trimaran): 71d 14hrs 22mins 8s
2002 : Bruno Peyron on Orange (Catamaran): 64d 8hrs 37min 24s
2004 : Olivier de Kersauson on Geronimo (Trimaran): 63d 14hrs 59min 46s
(2004 : Steve Fossett on Cheyenne (Catamaran): 58d 9hrs 32 min 45s)
2005 : Bruno Peyron on Orange 2 (Catamaran): 50d 16hrs 20min 4s
2010 : Franck Cammas on Groupama 3 (Trimaran): 48d 7hrs 44min 52s
2012 : Loïck Peyron on the Maxi Banque Populaire V (Trimaran): 45d 13hrs 42min 53s


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