668 nautical miles. 1237 kilometres. That is the new 24 hour distance record for a boat skippered by a solo sailor. The French sailor Francis Joyon set this new outright 24 hour speed record yesterday evening aboard his 29-metre giant trimaran IDEC achieving an average speed of 27.83 knots.*
Francis Joyon set off from la Trinité-sur-Mer in Brittany last Friday to head for the Azores to look for ideal conditions to tackle the record set by Thomas Coville, who sailed 628.5 nautical miles in 2008 on his second attempt at the round the world record, still held by Francis.
“I had to look for the ideal conditions, which I only managed to find before in the Indian Ocean with steady, strong winds, preferably ahead of a front , in order to benefit from relatively calm seas… So I headed off around 800 miles west of Cape Finisterre, on the edge of the Azores high. I set off with a south-westerly wind, but from the start I had to deal with a swell coming in the other direction from the north.
I gave it my all and after a certain length of time, the swell eased off and the wind strengthened to 32 knots. It was extremely risky. The boat was constantly on the edge. I wasn’t at the helm. I stayed there for 24 hours standing in the cockpit with the mainsail sheet in one hand and the solent sheet in the other. When the boat dug into a wave, I eased off one or the other. But I often had to ease them both off at the same time. There was no rest. I just swallowed down a few cereal bars to feed myself.” More here.