Francis Joyon set to take record

Francis Joyon sailing solo in his 98 ft trimaran, IDEC, is now concentrating on his route strategy between the Azores high and the deep North Atlantic low. This is crucial in order to reach the finishing line for his single-handed round the world record attempt as quickly as possible with the element of caution built in.

He has to better 71 days which is held by Ellen MacArthur in B&Q, a boat 22 ft shorter than Joyon’s.

Taking advantage of a (relative) calm in the weather and a cleaner swell, yesterday Joyon went back up the 32-metre mast for the fourth time in five days. After an hour and a half of work balanced at the top in his climbing harness, he came back down, visibly pleased with the state of what he saw and the repair that was carried out on the weakened anchor point for his starboard shroud.

He was checking the shroud anchor point, the shaft of which had come unscrewed, threatening to bring down the mast. Using belts and a big hammer Joyon was relieved to see that the faulty spindle had not budged since the Equator.

Under gennaker and mainsail permanently with one reef, IDEC is playing her final hand before the final run towards Brest. At the beginning of the afternoon, Joyon gybed to the west, in order to avoid an area of calms. On the port tack, he is looking for some stronger winds before hoisting more sail on the starboard tack for the final sprint towards Brest.