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Joyon Departs Saturday For Tea Route Record

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  • #16
    It looked pretty grim there for a while, but looks better now.

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    • #17
      North Atlantic Dead Zone

      A tense weekend ahead

      The huge Atlantic Ocean is offering a series of weather difficulties to the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran. It is clear in the Northern Hemisphere, the air masses are battling it out violently and the sailing conditions are varying rapidly for the crew on their way to London and the finish of the Tea Route record. The trade winds are just about over for Francis Joyon and his men. Sailing close to the NE’ly wind on calm seas has meant that they have had favourable conditions to look after the boat heading due north towards the Azores. This is a better route than initially imagined, as they had thought that the red and white trimaran would have to go a long way west of the Portuguese islands. With the trade winds dying away this evening and tomorrow, Francis, Christophe, Bertrand, Antoine and Corentin will be back suffering light airs in the middle of the high, where there is no other option but to cross it. To the north of the islands, there are strong downwind conditions. How easily they pick up these winds will determine their success in this attempt at the historic route taken by the big sailing clippers of the past between China and Europe. This is clearly a complicated sea route, which has been full of surprises.

      Heading towards the Azores
      As complicated as you can imagine in the South, the Atlantic in the North looks more familiar to the men on IDEC SPORT. The trade winds will be over later today for the maxi trimaran, which was able to safely progress close to the direction of the wind with for a while a light, choppy sea holding her back, but it soon improved to allow the boat to sail smoothly. “After sailing almost 13,000 miles out on the water, we are still scared when we see the boat slamming,” explained Francis. “When the swell eased off and the sea became smoother, we were able to follow a route due north, which meant we gained a lot of miles.” While the high-speed sailing at almost 40 knots they experienced in the Indian Ocean is not something they have found in the Atlantic, IDEC SPORT has nevertheless kept up a decent average speed of 19.7 knots since the Cape of Good Hope, enabling her to achieve a lead of almost 300 miles over the record holder, the Italian crew on the trimaran, Maserati.




      36 difficult hours ahead
      “We will be sailing close to the Azores,” added Francis. “We are a bit worried about the wind shadow from the volcanic peaks, so we will remain some way off. It feels like home since we crossed the Equator. The weather patterns are familiar to us. It is true that the winter lows are deep, but sailing downwind, the boat copes well with the strong winds and heavy seas. Once past the Azores, we are expecting a strong SW’ly air stream in excess of thirty knots with 6m high waves. We know that the boat deals well with those conditions.” But before that 36 difficult hours lie ahead for Francis and his men as they pass through an area of high pressure. “The charts indicate merely three or four knots of wind during the night. If the sea remains calm, the sails will be flapping less and we should be able to make some slow headway now and then. Our latest forecasts suggest we should be entering the Thames on Wednesday 19th February. We have just finished our final bag of food. There is just the freeze-dried stuff left. It’s not what we like most and it appears to be encouraging the crew to push hard to get back home quickly… (laughs)”


      TRACKER


      A tense week-end
      We can see that there are still a number of difficulties on the way to London and the crew of IDEC SPORT will experience a wide range of conditions. Their lead which increased to more than 300 miles this morning is set to drop on this 28th day of sailing, as Giovanni Soldini and his men experienced some good conditions favouring high speeds close to the coast of Senegal at this point. The end of the week and the start of next week are going to be tense for Francis and his sailors, who are looking for quick access to the high speed race track supplied by the low pressure systems moving rapidly towards the Channel approaches, 1700 miles to their NE this morning.



      Quote: Bertrand Delesne
      “For several days now, we have been into the freeze-dried food. All of the good stuff has been eaten. With Christophe, we found a little flour and this morning, it was pancakes for everyone. We haven’t really had any exciting high-speed sailing of the type we had in the Indian Ocean. We are dealing with what we get, and we have seen just how hard this record is. We went through five or six fronts in the Indian Ocean. The South Atlantic was completely unpredictable and not very cooperative. We hope to get across this area between the high pressure systems and the the SW’ly winds offering downwind conditions. Personally, I have learnt a lot during this long voyage. We deal with each difficulty we encounter. One thing at a time. The high is building and the seas have calmed down. There is a nice sky associated with the trade winds. We shall be catching sight of the Azores and that is great.”
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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      • #18
        Pedal To The Metal For Joyon


        300 MILES AHEAD AT THE AZORES…

        This morning (Sunday), Francis Joyon and the crew of IDEC SPORT reached the Portuguese islands of the Azores. They are passing through the middle of the islands between Flores and Faial. Since yesterday, the maxi-trimaran has been back in conditions enabling her to get back up to high speeds. In a 20-knot NW’ly wind, the red and white maxi-trimaran is advancing at 32 knots towards the Channel approaches, which are still some 1200 miles ahead of her bows and which the crew expect to reach by Tuesday morning.

        (Now 510 Miles In Advance)






        TRACKER

        The strong NW’ly air stream that is accompanying IDEC SPORT and her crew should enable them to be propelled at around thirty knots to the Channel approaches. They will then have to sail up the English Channel before making their way into the Thames Estuary and heading to the finish line for the Tea Route under the QE II Bridge. The crew are getting an idea now of their ETA and can hardly wait to get back ashore after their long voyage from Hong Kong and a month of sailing. If IDEC SPORT maintains this pace, they could well finish in London late on Tuesday.
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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        • #19
          Survival Mode Finish For Joyon




          IDEC SPORT 700 miles from the record

          Less than 700 miles from the finish of the Tea Route record in London, the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran continues to extend her lead over the record holder, Giovanni Soldini’s trimaran, Maserati, sailed by an Italian crew. Francis Joyon, Christophe Houdet, Bertrand Delesne, Antoine Blouet and Corentin Joyon have been managing to keep up high speeds since sailing to the south of the Azores, achieving an average of 27 knots on the direct route towards the Channel Approaches. The lead over the record has been growing steadily over the hours and now exceeds 700 miles. These figures do not reveal just how tough the conditions currently are. According to Francis Joyon, they are in “survival mode,” in violent squalls with waves in excess of 6 metres due to the series of storms that recently swept across Northern Europe. There will be a final gybe to carry out in the Celtic Sea, before the big, red and white trimaran tackles the final stretch of her long journey, which started more than thirty days ago in Hong Kong. The sail up the English Channel will be very tense because of the incredible amount of shipping. There will be no time for the crew to ease off before they pass under the QE II Bridge, which officially marks the end of this historic route, after sailing halfway around the world. IDEC SPORT is getting ready to complete this voyage in record time.

          More or less in survival mode

          “We have to remain vigilant and focused right up to the end.” Far from crying victory, Francis Joyon has asked his crew of four to be particularly cautious and concentrate on the task in hand. The strong NW’ly winds are far from being steady in strength and direction, and the periods spent at the helm are close to that of a high-wire act.



          TRACKER



          “The squalls are very violent and come without warning,” he said. “The wind suddenly strengthens so quickly that sometimes we find ourselves with a bit too much sail up. You then really have to hold on tight to the helm and wait for the squall to pass over while getting soaked in the heavy rain. In these conditions, and because of the sea state, we are between 20 and 30 percent below the full potential of the boat.” As they reach the Rochebonne Shelf with the sudden falls in depth, the sea conditions are not going to improve and this 31st day of racing looks like one of the most difficult for the crew. “The only way to move around the deck is by crawling,” added Francis. “We really need to be careful to avoid injuring ourselves when moving around. It’s a bit like being in survival mode at times.”

          A possible finish early on Wednesday

          In spite of the tense atmosphere, Francis and his men are in a hurry to finish. “These skies remind us of Brittany,” said Francis. “Behind the line of squalls, the skies clear with some brilliant light and sharp contrasts. That reminds us that our job is almost over. We will be keeping offshore to find a waypoint in the Celtic Sea, where we will carry out one final gybe before entering the English Channel. The wind will then be more or less due west and we will have to weave our way up the Channel between the coasts of Britain and France to aim for the Straits of Dover. We hope to finish early on Wednesday morning after just over 31 days of sailing. That time pleases us given the incredible number of weather systems we have had to deal with. The Tea Route is really amazing because of all the contrasting weather conditions.”
          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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          • #20
            Out Of Fuel And Weakening Battery For Finish

            Epilogue, tomorrow morning at breakfast time

            Francis Joyon and the crew of the IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran are expected to cross the finishing line for the Tea Route between Hong Kong and London tomorrow morning (Wednesday) between 7 and 9 a.m. After 32 days at sea, and having sailed almost 16,000 miles out on the water averaging almost 21 knots, Joyon and his crew are set to shatter the record held since 2018 by the Italian crew of the trimaran Maserati skippered by Giovanni Soldini by over four days. The reference time they set was 36 days, 2 hours, 37 minutes and 12 seconds.



            But before celebrating their victory as they pass under the QE II Bridge over the Thames, Francis and his men are going to have to deal with a series of difficulties today and tonight, starting with the fact that the wind has veered due west forcing them to tack downwind up and down across the Channel sometimes getting close to the coast of Cornwall and Southern England and sometimes approaching the French coast.




            TRACKER

            Out of energy
            Later tonight they will approach the Eastern coast of England and the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran will enter a very tricky stretch as they enter the Thames Estuary with all its shipping, buoys and currents… a dangerous area that sailors prefer to navigate in daylight. Nothing is ever easy for Francis and this time he has run out of fuel and his batteries cannot be charged, so this zone will be particularly risky, as he will be sailing without his AIS and radar... Typical of what we have come to expect during Joyon’s adventures, you might say. The holder of the Jules Verne Trophy and winner of the last Route du Rhum has throughout his career experienced many similar unexpected situations and dealt with them successfully, with his incredible, untiring physical and mental resources making up for the technical deficiencies.

            With this Tea Route record, Francis will be bringing to an end an amazing voyage, which began on 19th October 2019, when he set sail from Port Louis in Brittany in the framework of the IDEC SPORT ASIAN TOUR, which has seen the record-breaker sail more than half way around the world and over the past four and a half months add four new records or reference times to his long list of achievements.
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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            • #21
              Tea Route Routed



              FRANCIS JOYON HAS SHATTERED THE TEA ROUTE RECOR

              The IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran sailed by Francis Joyon, Bertrand Delesne, Christophe Houdet, Antoine Blouet and Corentin Joyon completed the Tea Route voyage between Hong Kong and London this morning (Wednesday 19th February).

              The boat crossed the finish under the QE II Bridge which spans the Thames at 07:37:33 hrs UTC.

              Their race time, which is the new record time over this distance is 31 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes and 46 seconds.

              They have beaten the record previously held by the Italian skipper, Giovanni Soldini (Maserati) by 4 days, 3 hours, 0 minutes and 26 seconds. They sailed 15,873 miles averaging 20.7 knots.

              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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