Speedy Frenchman claims Discovery Route record

French solo sailor Francis Joyon sailed his maxi trimaran IDEC across the finishing line off San Salvador on Friday to break the solo Discovery Route record by 15 hours and 15 minutes, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council. It is another record in an incredible year for Joyon, who smashed the singlehanded round the world record in January.

Francis Joyon had left Cadiz, Spain at on Tuesday 28 October, before crossing the finishing line in San Salvador, the Bahamas to complete the 3,885nm Discovery Route, named after the historical track taken by Christopher Columbus, at an average speed of 16.4 knots. With a running time of 9 days, 20 hours and 35 minutes, he betters the current record, set by his arch-rival Thomas Coville onboard the 60-foot trimaran Sodebo in 2005 at 10 days, 11 hours, 50 minutes and 46 seconds, by 15 hours and 15 minutes.

Joyon and IDEC got off to a flying start on their record attempt, passing through the Canary Islands little over 24 hours after starting the record attempt in Cadiz. However from that point on the route proved much more complex, with the French skipper having to take a very northerly course. In the end, he
actually covered a distance of 4,304 nautical miles, at an average speed of 17.7 knots.