Francis Joyon seeks to smash solo circumnavigation record

Francis Joyon, the first man to sail solo round-the-world in less than 80 days, is back with a new trimaran and high hopes of a new record. The Frenchman’s record time of 72 days and 22 hours was broken by Ellen MacArthur last year; he now wants to reclaim the circumnavigation recordandset a time of under 70 days.

IDEC’s designers Nigel Irens and Benoît Cabaret say that such a fast time could be within reach, estimating that, given the same weather conditions, the new IDEC is likely to take about 3 days off the old record. Commenting on their new design, the pair said that it conforms to Joyon’s ‘keep it simple’ philosophy: ‘Francis is not a man of gadgets, he wants a boat that suits his image, solid, powerful and without frills.’

IDEC has been designed for single-handed sailing, but with a 29.7(96ft) central hull, 24.5m(78ft) floaters and 16.5m(52ft) width, Joyon acknowledges that she will be a handful to keep under control: ‘I am certain that this IDEC will require more vigilance and anticipation that its predecessor!’

In terms of sail area, the new boat will carry about 10% more than the old IDEC. In addition to this increase in power, there will be a big loss in weight; the new boat will weigh in at about 11 tons, 5 tons less then her predecessor, meaning, Joyon says, ‘a major jump in performance.’

IDEC will be launched next June and after a summer of sea trials and development, Joyon plans to set off on his record-breaking mission at the end of autumn 2007.