Waits 36 hours in upside-down cabin rather than accept a lift

Francis Joyon is back on dry land, after his solo, transatlantic record attempt ended in capsize.

Joyon, 55, left New York minutes after midnight on Monday morning hoping to arrive in the UK within five days, 19 hours and 30 minutes to break Thomas Coville’s record, but just five hours later he was upside down after encountering a violent squall.

When offered a ride on a US coastguard boat, the Frenchman refused to leave his £12m maxi trimaran IDEC, preferring to wait 36 hours in its tiny and upside-down cabin until a tow arrived on Tuesday.

The tug has now dragged his carbon-fibre 100-footer into a Long Island marina.

Joyon, holder of the record for fastest solo circumnavigation, said: ‘I’ve spent so many years with this boat, I didn’t want to leave it. If no one’s on it, you don’t know what will happen.’

Describing the capsize, he said: ‘I went through some very intense squalls, marked by violent gusts, but it was when I thought I was leaving this area that I received a massive gust that catapulted the boat on its side.

‘The violence of the squall was such that the sensor and the anti-capsize alarm did not have time to go off. The wind continued to build very violently and I felt the boat literally catapulted into the air.

‘I found myself under water, beneath the nets. I tried to guide myself back to open air. It was night and chaos. Eventually, I made it to one of the floats. I’m not sure how I reached the forward beam, but I was able to climb up onto the platform. I then got inside the boat through the escape hatch.’

Joyon now plans to return the boat to Brittany as soon as possible for repairs.

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