As One Adventure Ends, Another Begins

Adventure sailor Francis Joyon took advantage of a weather window this weekend to embark on his Asian Tour record attempts. The Frenchman set off Saturday morning at 9:11 UTC on his attempt at the 8,800-mile Mauritius Route record between Port Louis, Brittany, and Port Louis, Mauritius. Sailing solo, the Breton skipper of the 105-ft maxi-trimaran IDEC Sport crossed the start line off the Citadel of Port Louis. Joyon is attempting to better his own time of 26 days, 4 hours and 13 minutes set 10 years ago. To improve on that record, he will have to finish before 13:24 UTC on November 14. In 2014, Lionel Lemonchois attempted to break Joyon’s record, but his boat capsized off Brazil.

IDEC Sport sails past an island
In mellow conditions, IDEC Sport departed France on Saturday morning.
© 2019 Wanii Films / IDEC Sport

“The wind isn’t very strong,” commented Joyon on Saturday. “I’d have liked it to be stronger, but we don’t have the choice, as otherwise we would be facing strong headwinds. I need to pick up a light northerly flow by heading into the westerly winds first. After that, it should be fairly fast down the coast of Portugal and past the Canaries. I’m going to have to weave my way around the Cape Verde Islands. We’re keeping an eye on a low-pressure system forming further south, which risks interrupting the trade winds. That’s why we wanted to start so quickly. The record can be smashed. I may well be a bit behind by the equator, but I hope to make up for that during the rest of the voyage.”

Crews help IDEC Sport leave the dock
IDEC Sport crewmembers helped French skipper Francis Joyon off the dock to begin his Asian Tour with ‘La Mauricienne’ solo record-breaking attempt.
© 2019 Martin Coudriet / Alea

The Mauritius attempt will be Joyon’s longest voyage alone aboard this boat. “It is around the equivalent of three Route du Rhum races,” explained Francis. “There are hardly any moments when you can take the direct route. Ten years ago, I sailed 10,000 miles rather than the 8,800 theoretical miles.”

Francis Joyon
Francis Joyon, 63, has been making headlines setting sailing records since bettering the solo around-the-world record in 2004 — by 20 days!
© 2019 Martin Coudriet / Alea

After the Mauritius leg, a crew will join Joyon for the next three acts of the Asian Tour: Mauritius to Ho Chi Minh City (3,975 miles), Ho Chi Minh to Hong Kong (920 miles), and the Clipper Route between Hong Kong and London (13,000 miles). Follow the Tour at www.idecsport.com/en/category/sailing. Armchair adventurers can also play along at www.idecsport.com/en/asian-tour-virtual-regatta-game.

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