Is there a greater offshore sailor than Francis Joyon of Locmariaquer, France? Not to our thinking. That’s because the quiet and self-effacing 56-year old has done so much with so little — and continues to do so.
For example, last weekend he set a new 24-hour distance record of 668 miles while sailing his 97-ft trimaran IDEC from France toward the Azores. That’s an average of 27.83 knots!
In typical Joyon fashion, he set the record using a trimaran that had flipped, a mast that had previously broken in half, and sails that had 90,000 miles on them. Doing it all alone, with used or castoff gear, has been the Joyon signature throughout the years, no matter if single handing across the Atlantic or around setting incredible new singlehanded around-the-world records. He currently holds the latter record, having gone around in just 57 days.
As for his most current record, Joyon told Mer et Media, “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 southwesterly 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," he continued, "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.
“I would have been happy to beat this record by just a few miles", added Francis. “But almost 40 miles! I’m over the moon. I’m particularly pleased as I haven’t sailed that much since capsizing last year during my transatlantic record attempt. Going beyond the numbers, I was able to enjoy a truly magical moment. Being able to sail such a machine and get the full potential out of her is extraordinary. That’s what I kept telling myself, as I zoomed by cargo ships sending the spray flying.”
With yet another incredible record set, Joyon can return to the quiet of his vegetable garden in Locmariaquer. Three tips of Latitude cap to this extraordinary sailor!
Whether you often take yacht charter vacations to exotic locations, or simply dream about doing so, we urge you to join us at 7 p.m. tonight at Tiburon’s Corinthan YC for a fun and informative talk by Latitude 38’s Managing Editor Andy Turpin. (Doors and no-host bar at 6:30 p.m.)
His topic: And Insider’s Tips on Worldwide Chartering. A lifelong sailor, Andy has been involved in international yacht chartering for nearly 30 years. During the decade he spent in the Virgin Islands, chartering became one of his journalistic specialties, and during his 20 years with Latitude 38 he has written about virtually every sailing vacation destination on the planet.
Accompanied by a digital slide show, Andy’s talk will give an overview of charter possibilities worldwide with a focus on bareboats. He’ll share cultural insights and travel lessons learned during decades of chartering in a variety of exotic locations. Admission is FREE, but please RSVP online or call 415-435-4771.
And if you’re in Southern Cal this week, be sure to check out Richard Spindler’s talk at the Cal YC, Friday, August 3. Always entertaining, Spindler will touch on many topics associated with his 35 years publishing Latitude 38, including why there are so many typewriters at the bottom of Clipper Basin Three in Sausalito.
After being treated like royalty at Sugar Barge on Bethel Island for two nights, participants in the Delta Doo Dah rally had a hard time believing they’d receive as warm a welcome somewhere else. But when they started trickling into King Island Resort yesterday, which is located on Disappointment Slough (a misnomer if there ever was one!) just off the San Joaquin, they found just how wrong they were. Harbromaster Jah Mackey and his crew not only shoehorned in the fleet, but also made up delightful swag bags — complete with crowns: "Everyone’s a king at King Island!" — and hosted a rockin’ party with two live bands, barbecued pig and all the fixings. Gift cards from West Marine and a one-year subscription to Tow Boat U.S. topped off the night.
The fleet is peeling off this morning for two free days to explore the Delta on their own. One contingent will be heading for the deep and peaceful Mildred Island, while another is making for Franks Tract, while a large group will be bound for Bedroom 2 in Potato Slough, where rumor has it, a dinghy race, waterfight and levee party are in the works (though hopefully not all at the same time). Once everyone has had their fill of lounging in the sun, they’ll head on over to Owl Harbor Marina, where Devery Stockon and her staff will host a fantastic Mardi Gras-themed final Hoopla Party to bring the fourth annual Doo Dah to a close. We’ll have a full report in the September issue of Latitude 38.
(Please note: We’d love to show you how much fun everyone is having but our internet connection at our current in-transit location is pretty weak, so you’ll just have to wait.)
There is a saying around courtrooms that once you’ve gone to see a lawyer, you’ve already lost. Neither William Simpson of the Portland-based Holland 70 Iron Maiden nor Richard Spindler, publisher of Latitude 38, will argue with that.
Following the ’09 Ha-Ha, there was a contretemps between Capt Simpson and Mr. Spindler over a letter to the editor and the editor’s response to the letter that appeared in the December ’09 issue of Latitude. The details and subject of the letter aren’t really important. What’s important, and unfortunate, is that it led to a legal battle that — as is the case with so many legal battles — took on a life of its own, and ended up with both litigants losing badly. Both Simpson and Spindler can assure all readers that although the financial costs of such legal battles are very dear, the emotional costs are even higher.
Having called for a break in the legal scrum that was taking place in the luxurious Lincoln Room on the 20th floor of the ‘Big Pink’ in Portland, Simpson and Spindler slipped off to a side office without the lawyers present, and spending face-to-face time together for the first time, agreed that contrary to all rumors, both were pretty good guys after all. With the issue soon resolved, both Simpson and Spindler are looking to wiser and happier futures. Capt Simpson and his wife Laura are hoping to return to the Sea of Cortez, while Mr. Spindler is looking forward to spending January sailing in Southeast Asia instead of sitting in a Marin courtroom. Both parties hope they each will be re-embraced by the cruising community.
If there’s one good thing that can come out of this, it’s that all of you readers can learn from our mistakes of failing to communicate with each other, being hard-headed, not settling differences before they got out of hand, and failing to listen to gossip and rumors without the proper amount of skepticism.
(— signed Capt Bill and Richard 7/31/12)
If it feels like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, we can’t solve your problems for you, but we can prescribe a temporary distraction. An excellent way to get your mind off your woes is to settle back in your easy chair with a hot-off-the-press copy of the August Latitude 38.
In it you’ll find the usual assortment of sailing news from all along the West Coast and beyond — way beyond. And don’t miss our America’s Cup World Series Primer, which is chock full of info on the AC45 spectacle that is coming to San Francisco Bay this month. Click here for a complete list of distributors.
And don’t forget, if you can’t get hold of a hard copy, you can always download the entire edition for free at the website.