Francis Joyon has just beaten his own record, set 10 years ago. This stretch of the Route to the Indies is called the Mauritius Route, or, in French, La Mauricienne. Joyon covered the course in 19 days, 18 hours, 14 minutes and 45 seconds, an improvement of 6 days, 10 hours. The Mauritius Route started from Port Louis in Brittany, France. The course took Joyon up the Indian Ocean with all its difficulties to another Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius.
The theoretical distance is 8,950 miles, but Francis sailed almost 11,000 miles, averaging 23.2 knots. IDEC Sport arrived in perfect condition. This achievement will allow Joyon to respect the demanding schedule of his Asian Tour.
“For this record, I had two things weighing on my mind,” he said at the finish. “There was the pressure of getting a good result, as usual when you are racing against the clock. I didn’t have the pressure on me from rivals like I did in the Route du Rhum, but I needed to keep to schedule for what lies ahead in the Asian Tour, which will take us to Vietnam and then China. I didn’t want to mess that up by arriving here behind schedule.” Joyon won the last Route du Rhum and holds the Jules Verne trophy for the fastest circumnavigation.
At the start on October 19, “Our weather opportunity was far from ideal. As was later confirmed, there was nothing really interesting coming up in the next few days or weeks. We needed to get going in order to stick to the schedule for the Asian sailing program.”
The St. Helena High stretched out to the coast of Brazil, presenting a huge challenge. The southeasterly trade winds propelled IDEC Sport west on a long detour of the calms blocking the path in the middle of the South Atlantic. The maxi-trimaran headed southwest a long way from the direct route, losing some time. On the 11th day of sailing, Joyon was as much as 27 miles behind the pace he’d set in his earlier IDEC boat, which had been able to trace a decent arc across the South Atlantic in 2009.