Although Frenchman Francis Joyon only started on November 27, he and his 100-ft trimaran IDEC, thanks to back-to-back 500+ mile days, have put themselves 313 miles ahead of Dame Ellen MacArthur’s singlehanded around-the-world record pace. During his best 24 hours, Joyon averaged 24.2 knots. If he can keep up the pace – there is the little problem of the doldrums – Joyon would pass the Barcelona World Race (doublehanded around the world) fleet, which is sailed in the latest and greatest Open 60 monohulls, later this week.
That fleet started from Barcelona 16 days before Joyon left Brest on the Atlantic coast of France. Speaking of the Barcelona World race, the only American, Jonathan McKee of Seattle, who is sailing with Spaniard Fuillermo Altadill aboard Estrella Damm, is 469 miles off the pace, seventh of nine boats. The two leaders, who have now hit the tradewinds in the Atlantic and have thus started to pull away from the pack, are PRB, with Vincent Riou (FRA)/Sébastien Josse (FRA), and Paprec-Virbac 2, with Jean-Pierre Dick (FRA)/Damian Foxall (IRE), who are 34 miles back. There are still more than 21,000 miles to go, so anything can happen.