One of the complaints about the current America’s Cup boats is that very little of the technological advances will trickle down to regular boats. We suppose that’s mostly true, but then we learned that Frenchman Francis Joyon has equipped his 33-meter trimaran IDEC with foils such as those found on the AC boats. That should make IDEC faster still — and a little more sensitive.
For those not familiar with French sailors, Joyon is something special, a soulful singlehander admired by all, who nonetheless has an astonishing record of achievements. We won’t go into his whole history, but in the early days it was marked by around-the-world records set with an ancient boat, worn sails, and no outside help — not even a weather router.
Joyon currently holds three of the biggest records in singlehanded racing: First, there is the big one, the singlehanded nonstop around-the-world record of 57 days. That’s not too far off the crewed record of 45 days. Last year he improved on the singlehanded 24-hour distance record, 666.2 nm, averaging 27.75 knots. Recently he set a new Columbus Route — Cadiz to San Salvador — record of 8d, 16h (all aboard the 95-ft tri IDEC). No sailor has ever held these three prestigious records at the same time.
And now Joyon — and his foils — has his sights set on the fourth record in what would give him an unprecedented Grand Slam. That record is the New York-to-Lizard Record, currently held by Thomas Colville and his slightly larger and much more sophisticated and comfortable 105-ft trimaran Sodebo. The record will be difficult to beat, as Colville did the 2,980-mile (rhumbline) route in just 5d, 19h, an average of 21 knots on the rhumbline.
The following is a list of TransAtlantic sailing records. Note what a tremendous improvement in times there have been in just 21 years.
Solo North Atlantic records
- 1987: Bruno Peyron, Explorer, catamaran, 11d, 11h, 46m, 36s
- 1990: Florence Arthaud, Pierre Premier, trimaran, 9d, 21h, 42m
- 1992: Bruno Peyron, Explorer, catamaran, in9d, 19h, 22m
- 1994: Laurent Bourgnon, Primagaz, trimaran, 7d, 2h, 34m, 42s
- 2005: Francis Joyon, IDEC 1, trimaran, 6d, 4h, 1m, 37s
- 2008: Thomas Coville, Sodebo, trimaran, 5d, 19h, 29m, 20s
The publicity shy Joyon is a true sailing hero of ours, and we wish him the best of luck. He looks to make his attempt sometime in May.