Done, Now Hide
It was back in 2003 that Francis Joyon established a new record time for the historic Disvovery Route course, between Cadiz and San Salvador in the Bahamas, in the first trimaran IDEC. There to meet him and take the finishing time for the World Speed Record Council was a guy called Clifford. On Thursday, with less than 150 miles to the finish, Francis was wondering whether this same Clifford would be waiting and whether he would better Thomas Coville’s record time.
To regain that 2003 record, Clifford (or whoever it is) and Francis had to meet up before Friday at 17 hours, 20 minutes and 43 seconds (UTC). On Wednesday night, it seemed likely it wouldn’t happen, for the wind died away almost completely, leaving Francis struggling to find every little puff and make speeds of between 1 and 4 knots, for about 8 hours. That catastrophic scenario got a little better, around 0830 UTC on Thursday, when an easterly flow established itself. It wasn’t much of a flow, but it did allow IDEC to start averaging between 10 and 14 knots and thus secure the record, with a time of 9 days, 20 hours, 35 minutes.
Francis’ tribulations are not yet over. Tropical storm – about to become hurricane – Paloma is heading towards San Salvador. Let’s hope he can find a safe hiding place for his red trimaran, it would be tragic if a second IDEC ended up being smashed to pieces.
Despite a real struggle, fighting the most calms he has ever encountered on a record attempt, Francis did find time to take a pic of himself aboard IDEC. Other IDEC pix and audios for those who parlez francais are here.