Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 11, will see the French sailor, Francis Joyon, set off to tackle the solo Atlantic crossing aboard his maxi trimaran yacht IDEC. He is expected to cross the official starting line at the foot of Ambrose Light off New York between 0000hrs and 0600hrs GMT (0200hrs – 0800hrs CET).
North Atlantic Record: New York - The Lizard
He will be facing the Atlantic alone all the way to the Lizard at the southernmost tip of Cornwall and is hoping to complete the voyage in less than 5 days, 19 hours, 30 minutes and 40 seconds in order to have his name added to the registers of the World Speed Sailing Record Council in place of the current holder, Thomas Coville. Francis Joyon would achieve two success in one, if he does this. He will be regaining a title that was his until 2008, and above all will become the only man to hold the four most important solo sailing records, the Round the World Record, the 24-hour distance record, the Columbus Route record and the North Atlantic record.
A decent weather opportunity
“The weather opportunity tonight is looking decent,” according to Jean-Yves Bernot, the leading light in ocean racing navigation, who continues to assists Francis Joyon is his major sailing challenges. To put it simply, the conditions are looking favourable, if not ideal, but are decent enough to allow him to make this attempt. Back in France, the two men had been watching a low-pressure area develop over the continent of North America, offering the strength and trajectory that suits this record, which over the years has become increasingly difficult to beat. During the weekend, Francis Joyon was more and more certain of the situation and decided to climb aboard a plane yesterday to head for New York, where he will get back with his giant trimaran IDEC, currently moored in Gateway Marina in Brooklyn, New York.
A possible start at between midnight and six (GMT)
The hulls will be cleaned, the final supplies stowed aboard, and as usual, everything will be done all by himself. Joyon will run through the final details about the weather situation tonight with Jean-Yves Bernot, before setting off on the perilous journey to the starting line and the former site of the legendary Ambrose Light at the entrance to the bay off New York. The light itself was removed in 2008 after a series of collisions, and has now been replaced by a set of lit buoys.
If he sets off between midnight and six (GMT), he will be able to make the most of the daylight to cover the tricky miles sailing his boat up out of the river. The low that is passing over Labrador should allow him to sail along in steady thirty-knot winds blowing from the east-south-east on seas that should be easy to deal with for at least the first two-thirds of the course.
As is often the case in these record attempts, it is the final phase, as they approach the British Isles, which are the most uncertain. The winds are likely to strengthen towards the end of the week, making it more complicated for the solo sailor. However, with the low moving along fairly high up to the north, it should allow sailing yacht IDEC to stay close to the direct route, and therefore get the best trajectory towards the Channel approaches, and sail along efficiently towards the Lizard.
New York – The Lizard, 2880 theoretical nautical miles (or 5334 km).
Solo North Atlantic records
1987: Bruno Peyron, Explorer catamaran, in 11 days, 11 hours 46 minutes and 36 seconds
1990: Florence Arthaud, Pierre 1er trimaran, in 9 days, 21 hours and 42 minutes
1992: Bruno Peyron, Explorer catamaran, in 9 days, 19 hours and 22 minutes
1994: Laurent Bourgnon, Primagaz trimaran, in 7 days, 2 hours, 34 minutes and 42 seconds
2005: Francis Joyon, IDEC 1 trimaran, in 6 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 37 seconds
2008: Thomas Coville, Sodebo trimaran, in 5 days, 19 hours, 29 minutes and 20 seconds
The three major solo records already held by Francis Joyon aboard superyacht IDEC
2008: Solo Round the World record in 57 days, 13 hours 34 minutes and 06 seconds
2012: Distance sailed in 24h: 666 miles at an average speed of 27.75 knots
2013: Columbus Route Cadiz-San Salvador: 8 days 16 h 07 minutes and 05 seconds.