North Sails NEWS

January 26, 2017

IDEC SPORT Wins Jules Verne Trophy for Fastest Circumnavigation on Record

Another entry in the sailing logbook. On Thursday, January 26 at 0749hrs Francis Joyon’s team on IDEC SPORT completed their east-about circumnavigation of the globe, finishing in 40 days and 23 hours. This groundbreaking elapsed time is four days under the Jules Verne Record set in January 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew on the VPLP-designed trimaran Banque Populaire V.

Lead by renowned offshore sailor Francis Joyon, and his crew of Bernard Stamm, Alex Pella, Sébastien Audigane, Clément Surtel and Gwénolé Gahinet, the 31.5m VPLP-designed trimaran IDEC SPORT averaged 22.84kn over their 40-day adventure. Rather than chasing fronts, this crew rode them as fast as the wind, peaking on their 14th day when they covered 894nm averaging 37.3kn in 24 hours.

With their Jules Verne record, the crew joins an elite group of eight prior record holders. Their official time of 40 days, 23 hours and 30 seconds will now stand as the time to beat.

Francis Joyon is one of many legendary offshore sailors who entrust their sail design and manufacture to North Sails. Working with the team in Vannes, France and collaborating specifically with North Sails experts Quentin Ponroy and Yann Reginiau, Joyon pushed off the dock with a selection of new and old sails.

Two key sails, the mainsail and gennaker, were built in 2016. The mainsail is North Sails 3Di ENDURANCE, a durable and high-performance option, while the gennaker is 3Di FORCE, a new application of 3Di technology specific to downwind sails. The J3 and J1 headsails were built in 2015 and were used on IDEC’s Jules Verne attempt that year, making this latest circumnavigation their second lap of the globe. The J2, the oldest sail on the boat, was built in 2014 for Banque Populaire VII and has served well for two Jules Verne attempts plus a Route du Rhum and return transatlantic.

It is rare that Francis decided only to take one gennaker. On their 2015 Jules Verne attempt the IDEC team brought two – one 3Di and one made of Cuben Fibre. Joyon’s confidence in 3Di grew, and soon they were convinced they did not need a spare.

When asked which sail in the IDEC inventory is his favorite, Francis replies:

“It is, of course, the mainsail which is the principal motor of the boat and which is used 100% of the time, of which 95% of the time with the full mainsail up. Then there is the J1 which Quentin designed for us last year. This sail perfectly completes the inventory of the boat.”

“The J1 is a downwind sail in strong winds as a little gennaker, but also an upwind sail in lighter winds,” Quentin explained. “The Ultime trimarans are very big and their sails are hard to maneuver, so to minimize changes the J1 can double as a smaller gennaker.”

Currently, North Sails is manufacturing a new J1 for the team for The Bridge, a new crewed regatta in June which starts in St Nazaire, France, and goes across the Atlantic to finish in New York, USA.

In the past two years, North Sails clients have broken nearly every milestone in offshore sailing while using 3Di sails. In addition to the Jules Verne record of Francis Joyon and his IDEC crew, just in the past four weeks, we have seen Thomas Coville smash the singlehanded around-the-world record in 49 days, and Armel Le Cléac’h set the east-about monohull and singlehanded monohull around-the-world record in 74 days.

Images © Jean-Marie Liot