IDC Crew am Ziel

Francis Joyon: Jules Verne Trophy 2016


Friday 28th of april 2017
The Jules Verne trophy in the hands of Francis Joyon and his crew

Yesterday evening, Francis Joyon and the crew of the IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran, Clément Surtel, Alex Pella, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet, with just Sébastien Audigane missing as he was busy on a delivery trip in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, received the Jules Verne Trophy, the amazing sculpture which seems to float in the air created by the American Thomas Shannon, in the very prestigious Naval Museum (Musée de la Marine) in Paris.

More than 300 guests came together around Patrice Lafargue, President of the IDEC Group, and the two patrons of honour who support Joyon’s multihulls, Professor Gérard Saillant, President of the ICM and Jean Todt, President of the FIA. The title was handed over by the previous record-holders represented by Pierre Yves Moreau from the Banque Populaire team, who was joined for the event by the legendary British sailor, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, who held the trophy with the late Peter Blake in 1994 (Enza New Zealand). It was a highly emotional evening, which brought together these exceptional sailors who have been sailing again in their own projects since their triumphant return to Brest after 40 days and 23 hours on 26th January.

“I am proud of this crew and what they achieved,” declared Patrice Lafargue, who yesterday evening once again showed the same affection and admiration he spontaneously showed on the return to Brest last January of the maxi-trimaran, which displays the colours of the IDEC Group. Once again showing their contrasting characters, while remaining humble and expressing their joy of sailing, Francis, Clément, Alex, Bernard and Gwéno relived some of their memories of their amazing 40 day, 23 hour and 30 minute long voyage around the world during the evening in Paris. Titouan Lamazou was extremely pleased to see that the idea he launched 25 years ago with Florence Arthaud continues to offer an incredible experience as shown in the tales told by the IDEC SPORT crew, which sailed 26,412 miles averaging 26.85 knots on the theoretical route. “There have been 23 attempts in the 24 years,” he explained, “with nine successful campaigns. It is fantastic that, sailors and the designers of these boats are continuing to carry out attempts at this ultimate dream voyage around the world.”
Never really at ease hen the spotlight is on him, Francis Joyon admits he has not really been looking back. “I can remember some magical moments, which I shared with an exceptional crew. But I am already busy with new challenges, other races, more special moments with this crew in the summer with The Bridge, a race reserve for the Ultime boats between St. Nazaire and New York…”QUOTES
Gwénolé Gahinet
“I’m still finding it hard to come to terms with what we achieved. The finish and the leap back to reality were a shock to the system. I think our success is down to Francis, who knew how to train and unite a very coherent team. In the Southern Ocean, it’s as if Francis was at home and the way he deals with the stress is amazing. I will always remember the moments on the long surf, those long days at full speed in a dense mist and the permanent tension. Rounding the Horn was highly emotional to, as that is when we felt like we could pull it off…”
Bernard Stamm
“I very quickly got back to the Diam 24 circuit, but I feel I’m still recovering from this experience. This was an exceptional voyage around the world from every angle. The success came thanks to Francis. I’m still amazed by this boat, which always feels so safe… We thought we had a change as we raced across the Pacific, but the key part was in the Indian. After that, we kept things under control. Sailing around the world twice in two years creates some very strong friendships.”Francis Joyon
“I don’t dwell on this adventure, as I am looking ahead. This award ceremony is an opportunity to look back and to catch up with those involved. We’re very proud to add our names to the list that includes sailors like Robin Knox-Johnston, Peter Blake and Bruno Peyron. I’m very pleased to receive this trophy from Sir Robin.”Alex Pella
“I’m still finding it hard to believe we did it. I keep thinking of the great times and have forgotten the bad moments. Getting this Trophy with this great crew in a prestigious location like the Naval Museum makes me very proud. This is an incredible record, but I too am now looking ahead, to see what can be done to beat our record. I’d like to thank Francis for inviting me along in this great adventure…”
Clément Surtel
“We have got back to life ashore after our three attempts and our two Jules Verne Trophy races. I still can’t believe it. During the evening, we better understood what we achieved with so few means and with our small team. The next transatlantic race, The Bridge 2017, will enable us to sail together again.”

The nine successful Jules Verne attempts
40 DAYS 23H | 30MINS | 30S

Find all the news about the TEAM IDEC SPORT :
They shattered the previous record set by Loïck Peyron and the crew of the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V by 4 days, 14 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds.
During this round the world voyage, they smashed no fewer than six intermediate records at Cape Leeuwin, off Tasmania, on the International Date Line, at Cape Horn, at the Equator and off Ushant.

Thursday 12th of january 2017

IDEC SPORT more than 4 days and 6 hours ahead of the record at the Horn.

The IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran skippered by Francis Joyon crossed the longitude of Cape Horn, the last of the three major capes in the Jules Verne trophy at 0004 UTC on Thursday 12th January. After leaving Ushant on 16th December, Joyon and his crew of five, Clément Surtel, Sébastien Audigane, Bernard Stamm, Gwénolé Gahinet and Alex Pella have achieved the best intermediate time between Ushant and Cape Horn, completing this stretch in 26 days, 15 hours, 45 minutes some 4 days 6 hours and 35 minutes ahead of the reference time set by Banque Populaire V in 2012 (30 days, 22 hours and 19 minutes). This is their fourth intermediate record including the Pacific Ocean record between the SE of Tasmania and Cape Horn with a time of 7 days 21 hours and 14 minutes (record held by Bruno Peyron since 2005 with a time of 8 days, 18 hours and 8 minutes).

IDEC-SPORT sailed the 18,332 miles out on the water between Ushant and Cape Horn at an average speed of 28.7 knots.
Jules Verne Trophy reference time / Banque Populaire V (2012): 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds


Wednesday 4th of january 2017
IDEC SPORT at the halfway point in less than 20 days

The IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran will this evening complete the first half of the round the world voyage. It will be around 1800hrs UTC that they will have sailed the 11,160 theoretical miles representing half of the total distance between Ushant and Ushant via the three major capes, Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn. Joyon and his men swallowed up this first half at an average speed of 24.2 knots. In reality they have sailed 13,200 miles out on the water, at the incredible average speed of 28.7 knots.


At the start of their nineteenth day of racing, as they approach New Zealand, this performance places them 1060 miles ahead of the title-holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, Banque Populaire V. As they begin to tackle the world’s biggest ocean, the Pacific, there is a strange problem for Joyon and his band of soldiers. How can they slow down a boat that is eager to speed across the ocean? They need to look after the boat and there is the fear of going faster than the low-pressure system and ending up in calms. This today means that Joyon, Audigane, Pella, Surtel, Stamm and Gahinet are reining in their machine.
“We have set up a system rather like the points on your licence,” joked the Catalan Alex Pella. Tossed around by a nasty swell hitting the boat side on for the past 48 hours, Francis Joyon’s crew have to put the brakes on their IDEC SPORT maxi-trimaran. “It is something of a paradox,” continued Francis. “We are trying to smash speed records, but in the past 48 hours, we have been trying to find ways to slow the boat down and look after her.” The unprecedented performance of the VPLP designed boat from 2005 must not stop us from thinking about the violence of the elements, which after 19 days, including eight at unprecedented speeds, has led to some breakages, albeit superficial ones. “The plexiglass screen at the helm did not resist a breaker,” explained almost matter of factly Francis Joyon. “We had to set up a replacement panel to protect the helmsman,” added Gwénolé Gahinet.

The nasty swell which was hitting the side of IDEC SPORT has now shifted to behind the boat. “Today, we have a very good wind angle with the breeze still at around thirty knots and the seas pushing us along from astern. The helmsman is not getting as wet and the movement of the boat is more comfortable than over the past couple of days,” stressed Francis. All lights are on green, in spite of the many little matters that the crew have to deal with and the start of the huge Pacific is a continuation at the same amazing speeds that they have been keeping up for nine days. “We are dreaming of Cape Horn, and the climb back up to Brazil,” said the youngest member of the crew, Gwénolé Gahinet. “A little bit of sunshine and warmth would do us good.” However getting to the Horn takes a lot of hard work. Francis Joyon thinks there will be a relative slowdown in the Pacific with a series of manoeuvres and gybes to weave in and out of the systems on the edge of the ice zone. This will be a welcome breather, allowing them to carry out a few repairs and inspect the boat.

A new intermediate reference time to Tasmania
After Leeuwin, just two days ago, it is the reference time from Ushant- Tasmania to the SE of Australia, which was smashed in the middle iof last night and taken away from Yann Guichard and Dona Bertarelli’s Spindrift 2 maxi-trimaran by Joyon, Pella, Surtel, Gahinet, Stamm and Audigane. The new time is 18 days, 18 hours and 31 minutes replacing the previous time of 20 days, 4 hours and 37 minutes set last year by the world’s biggest racing trimaran and a crew of fourteen.

SERVEUR VIDEO : Banque images hélico et embarquée disponible sur le serveur video / Helicopter and onboard footage is available on the video server :

Vorfreude auf die Trophy

Volvo Ocean Race 2017/18

Route 2017-18

The Volvo Ocean Race’s position
as a truly global, major sporting event has never been so apparent.

In the 2014-15 edition, our boats made 11 stops across five continents, with over 2.4 million visitors entering the Race Villages around the world.
There were the old favourites – Cape Town, Auckland, Lisbon – and some new experiences, such as Newport and The Hague.
Needless to say, the route was a great success, and that’s why we’ve already confirmed stopovers in the following cities for the 2017-18 edition:
Alicante, Spain –
Auckland, New Zealand –
Cape Town, South Africa- Reisefotos Südafrika
Newport, Rhode Island, USA – Reisefotos Neuengland
Cardiff, Wales Gothenburg, Sweden – Reisefotos u.a. Göteborg
Lisbon, Portugal – Reisefotos Spanien/Portugsal

Stay tuned for further updates and announcements – who knows, the Volvo Ocean Race might visit a town near you!


Alicante Race Village opens – 11 October 2017
Alicante In-Port Race – 14 October 2017

Leg 1 Start – 22 October 2017
Lisbon In-Port Race – 28 October 2017

Leg 2 Start – 5 November 2017
Cape Town In-Port Race – 8 December 2017

Leg 3 Start – 10 December 2017

Melbourne Leg 4 Start – 2 January 2018
Hong Kong In-Port Race – 27 January 2018
Guangzhou In-Port Race – 4 February 2018

Leg 5 Start – 7 February 2018
Auckland In-Port Race – 10 March 2018

Leg 6 Start – 18 March 2018
Itajaí In-Port Race – 20 April 2018

Leg 7 Start – 22 April 2018
Newport In-Port Race – 19 May 2018

Leg 8 Start – 20 May 2018
Cardiff In-Port Race – 8 June 2018

Leg 9 Start – 10 June 2018
Gothenburg In-Port Race – 17 June 2018

Leg 10 Start – 21 June 2018
The Hague In-Port Race – 30 June 2018


October 21, 2016
The countdown is on
with one year to go before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race on October 22, 2017 The Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 will begin on Sunday, October 22 – in almost exactly one year’s time – when the starting gun is fired in Alicante and the teams set out to complete a total of 45,000 nautical miles of offshore racing, over a course that takes in 11 landmark cities in five continents over eight months (full story below)

David Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race Download Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

ALICANTE, Spain – The Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 will begin on Sunday, October 22 – in almost exactly one year’s time – when the starting gun is fired in Alicante and the teams set out to complete a total of 45,000 nautical miles of offshore racing, over a course that takes in 11 landmark cities in five continents over eight months.
Organisers revealed the start dates for the first three legs of sailing’s longest and toughest adventure on Friday, rounding off a series of 10 major announcements on the future of the Race in the past two weeks.

The first official action of the 2017-18 edition will be the Alicante In-Port Race on Saturday, October 14 before the Volvo Ocean Race itself begins eight days later with Leg 1 – a 700-nautical mile sprint to Lisbon, Portugal. It will be the fourth-consecutive time that the event has started from its Home Port of Alicante.
After arriving in Lisbon, the boats will take part in the In-Port Race on Saturday, 28 October before the start of Leg 2 on Sunday, November 5.

That will see them battle it out over 7,000 nautical miles of the Atlantic Ocean to Cape Town, South Africa. The racing will take over three weeks to complete, and will mark the 11th occasion in 13 editions that the Volvo Ocean Race has visited the city.
The Cape Town In-Port Race will take place on Friday, December 8 and Leg 3 will begin two days later on Sunday, December 10.

The decision to tweak the format of race weekends at many of the stopovers by moving the In-Port Race from the Saturday to the Friday gives teams an extra 24 hours to prepare for the rigours of ocean racing to come.
“With just a year to go, the countdown to the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 has begun,” said Race CEO, Mark Turner.

“The sailors can look forward to an unforgettable send-off from Alicante, our Home Port, and the fact that they’ll be thrown into a high intensity sprint to Lisbon straight off will make Leg 1 especially exciting.
“Our Boatyard facility is based in Lisbon, and it will be very well known to teams who will use it as an Atlantic training base in the lead-up to the start.”

He continued: “Cape Town also has a special connection with the Race – our boats have been heading there since the very first edition, back in 1973 – so there will be a lot that is very familiar before the teams head towards the Southern Ocean, which is such an important focus for the Race.” The full route, including almost three times the amount of Southern Ocean sailing as in recent editions, was announced earlier this year.
The Race will announce the dates for the rest of the legs in the coming weeks.

In the last two weeks, the Volvo Ocean Race has made a series of key announcements around significant evolutions of the event, including a change in crew rules regarding women sailors, a new communicator that will allow the athletes to send social media updates from the oceans, the building of an eighth Volvo Ocean 65 to join the existing fleet, the introduction of bespoke new premium team bases to enhance the pit lane experience in the Race Villages and the use of M32 catamarans to increase the amount of guest sailing at each stopover. This week, news was about an intense period of pre-race qualification sailing that includes the Rolex Fastnet Race, Race Management announcing changes to the scoring system to encourage strategic risk-taking, all boats will be fitted with a hydropower generator as part of a €1 million re-fit, and an evolution of the Onboard Reporter concept to include potential rotation.

GOTHENBURG, Sweden – 3 February 2017
Legends Race to celebrate Volvo Ocean Race history in 2017-18

The Volvo Ocean Race will celebrate 45 years of history with a Legends Race on the final leg of the 2017-18 edition from Gothenburg to The Hague (full story below).
– The Volvo Ocean Race will celebrate 45 years of history with a Legends Race on the final leg of the 2017-18 edition from Gothenburg to The Hague.
Any yacht to have featured in the Whitbread Round the World Race or Volvo Ocean Race, dating back to 1973-74, will be welcome to join the 2018 Legends Race. The race will be run over the same course, and around the same time, as the closing leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, which starts from Gothenburg on 21 June.

The announcement was made at the yacht racing seminar Meetingspot in Gothenburg and follows a hugely successful Legends Regatta that was held before the start of the 2011-12 race in Alicante and exhibitions at the both the Volvo Ocean Race Museum in Alicante and at the finish in Gothenburg in the last edition in 2014-15.
Among those participating at the seminar was Tracy Edwards MBE, who skippered the all-female Maiden team to two leg victories in their class in the 1989-90 race and is planning to reunite her crew and the boat for the 2018 race.
“Maiden was found in a sad state a few years ago in the Seychelles and since then I have been working very hard to get her back, restore her and get her back in her former glory again,” said Edwards.

“She will shortly be shipped back to the UK for a renovation program and our aim is the gather the original all-female crew from 1989-90 and compete in the new Legends Race 2018.”
The plan for the Legends Race is to include a Maxi class, a Volvo Ocean 60 class an Open class. Both Sweden and Holland have a proud history in the Volvo Ocean Race and a large number of fans who have followed the event through the years.
“The Legends Race will add a lot of excitement to the Stopover in Gothenburg because there are many fans in Sweden who are devoted to the history of the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Camilla Nyman, CEO of Gothenburg & Co, organisers of the stopover in Gothenburg. “We’ll be welcoming famous yachts and crews to the heart of Gothenburg and fans will get to see a lot of legendary yachts and familiar faces.”
Frank van der Peet, head of the team organising the finish of the race at The Hague, added: „Holland has a long and successful history with the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race so we are very enthusiastic about welcoming these magnificent and historic race boats to The Hague.”

Transat Jaques Vabre Le Havre/Bahia

Le Havre Starthafen Jaques Vabre

Le Havre ist Starthafen für die Jaques Vabre Rennen

Transat Jaques Vabre 2015
Transat Jaques Vabre 2013
Transat Jaques Vabre 2011
Transat Jaques Vabre 2009
Transat Jaques Vabre 2007
Transat Jaques Vabre 2005
Transat Jaques Vabre 2003
Transat Jaques Vabre 2001


Press release, 14th February
Transat Jacques Vabre 2017
Historic coffee destination announced – Setting sail for Salvador de Bahia!

Fotoserie Bahia von SEGEL.DE

The start of the Transat Jacques Vabre will be November 5th
An historic coffee route: Salvador in the state of Bahia in Brazil
A 4,350-mile course
Four classes, four winning duets

The 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre will kick off on Saturday, October 28, 2017, around the Bassin Paul Vatine (marina) in Le Havre, for a week of festivities that will mark the 500th anniversary of this maritime city. On Sunday, November 5, 2017, the competing skippers will cross the starting line of the longest transatlantic route to a legendary coffee port, Salvador in the state of Bahia in Brazil.
Salvador is the capital of the Bahia region, north of Rio. It is a city with an active port because of its position and easy access to the Bay of All Saints, the largest natural bay on the South American coast and the second largest in the world. The Transat Jacques Vabre will be welcomed at the foot of the Pelourinho, an historic quarter registered as a UNESCO world heritage site, in the port of Salvador.

“The 2017 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre marks the return to an historic and iconic coffee region, which has already hosted several finishes of the race, and celebrated in the style the winners of our ‘Route du café’ from 2001 to 2007.“ Xavier Mitjavila, President of JDE France and the Transat Jacques Vabre organisation.
„In 2017, the Transat Jacques Vabre will once again be an unmissable event for all Havrais (the people of Le Havre), who have held this race close their hearts for over 20 years. It will close the festivities of the “A Summer in Le Havre, 2017” event, running from May 27 to November 5 and organised to celebrate our 500th anniversary. We invite all inquisitive travellers to (re) discover our city and its port through a rich, festive, multidisciplinary and multifaceted programme. In 2017, it is Le Havre and nowhere else that is the place to be.” Edouard Philippe, Mayor of Le Havre and Député (elected representative) of the Seine-Maritime department.

Le Havre – Salvador de Bahia: 4,350 miles
After a week of festivities around the marina, the competitors of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre will leave Le Havre and head out towards the coffee port of Bahia (Brazil). After passing in front of the cliffs of Etretat, the competitors will take a direct route towards the Brazilian port – after having crossed the Doldrums.
“This transoceanic course from North to South is more demanding than a East to West transat, it requires the skippers to have sharp strategic and tactical qualities, good meteorological training, excellent physical conditioning to maintain top speed in the trade winds…and also a lot of patience to cross the Equator. Lying at 12°56’ South, Salvador de Bahia is in the tropics, it’s hot, but not too hot thanks to the trade winds, which is the dream for the sailors, who’ll finally be able to unwind after all the days of stress spent at sea.” Sylvie Viant, Race Director of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Four classes, four winning duos
Class40, Multi50, Imoca and Ultime boats are expected on the starting line off Le Havre. Each class will see its winning duo and those chasing welcomed and celebrated to the sounds of samba and Brazilian rhythms.

La Transat Jacques Vabre in figures
– Opening of the village, October 28
– Start of the Transat Jacques Vabre, November 5
– 24 years old, 13th edition in 2017
– A 4,350-mile course, four classes, four winning duos

Le Conservateur Yannick Bestaven & Pierre Brasseur 24d 08h 10′ 09“
Fenêtréa Prysmian Erwan Le Roux & Giancarlo Pedote 16d 22h 29′ 13“
PRB Vincent Riou & Sébastien Col 17d 00h 22′ 24“
MACIF François Gabart & Pascal Bidégorry 12d 17h 29′ 27“

Le Cleach ,Alex Thomson

Vendee Globe Race 2016/17

Fotogalerie Teil 2
Tagesvideo vom Flugzeug
Thursday, 19th of january 2017
Le Cléac’h smashes Vendée Globe race record in spectacular style

French sailor Armel Le Cléac’h today won the Vendée Globe in one of the most thrilling finishes the solo round the world race has ever seen. After 74 days and almost 24,500 nautical miles of first-class ocean racing Le Cléac’h was finally crowned victor in the long-running battle with British skipper Alex Thomson for the top spot in the solo round the world race, regarded as one of the toughest sporting challenges known to man.

Le Cléac’h, 39, from Brittany, sealed the win – and a place in the Vendée Globe history books – crossing the finish line at 1537 UTC to complete the course in 74 days, three hours and 35 minutes. His time sets a new record for the race, beating the previous record of 78 days 2 hours 16 minutes set by French sailor François Gabart in the 2012-13 edition by three days, 22 hours and 41 minutes.
Dozens of spectator boats took to the water to welcome their new hero back to the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne, from where the race started on November 6 last year. With his shore crew taking control of his 60ft IMOCA race boat Banque Populaire VIII, a tearful Le Cléac’h was left to enjoy an emotional reunion with his son Edgar, 6, and daughter Louise, 9. Thousands more fans lined the walls of the town’s famous harbour entrance as Le Cléac’h arrived dockside at Port Olona to a fanfare of fireworks.

Le Cléac’h, runner-up in the last two editions of the Vendée Globe, said he had now fulfilled a lifelong dream. “This is a dream come true,” he said. “I hoped to win this race 10 years ago but I finished second. Today is a perfect day. I understand that today I have done something big. My team have been amazing they’re the dream team, and this is their day too.” Le Cléac’h also paid tribute to Thomson for his skill and tenacity in pushing him right to the finish line. “It has been very difficult with Alex behind me, he gave me a really hard time in this Vendée Globe,” he added. “Each time things went his way and I got nothing. It was stressful because he kept catching me. With a lead of 800 miles off Cape Horn, I didn’t think I’d be facing such pressure. I’m very happy for Alex, it is a great second place.”

Le Cléac’h took the lead within 24 hours of the race start but had lost it to Thomson by the time the skippers, both racing on new-generation foiling IMOCA 60s, reached the Equator. After catching Thomson in the Southern Ocean the pair traded places on numerous occasions before Le Cléac’h established a solid lead on December 3. From that point on he refused to relinquish his grip on first place despite a sensational effort from Thomson to reduce an 819nm deficit at Cape Horn to just 50 miles at the Equator. Even when Thomson surged to within 30 miles of Le Cléac’h with a few hundred miles to go the French sailor held strong, defending his position until victory was all but guaranteed.
Le Cléac’h averaged an incredible 15.43 knots of boat speed over the 27,455 miles he actually sailed, on occasion hitting speeds in excess of 30 knots. His best 24-hour run came on January 16 when Banque Populaire covered 524.11nm averaging 21.8 knots, surpassed only by Thomson who on the same day sailed 536.81nm averaging 22.4 knots, breaking François Gabart’s existing record by two miles. Le Cléac’h held the top spot for 56 of his 74 days at sea, and between him and Thomson they broke every single one of the existing race records.

Thomson is expected to cross the line between 0600 UTC and 0900 UTC in one of the closest finishes the race has ever seen.
Armel Le Cléac’h’s first words after the finish
“In the Pacific, I felt good with the weather that I was getting. A halyard hook broke and that stopped me from using one sail in the Pacific. I was a bit afraid after that that the others would break too. I thought I’d made my getaway at Cape Horn, but everything was against me, the high in the South Atlantic, which blocked my path, then the Doldrums, which weren’t kind to me, followed by the transition zone around the low off the Canaries. It was a bit of a mess. Each time things went his way and I got nothing.”

“I’m pleased to win the Vendée Globe. From start to finish it was a fight particularly against Alex Thomson. These past few weeks have been stressful with lots of things going on. Now I’m just so pleased. It was incredible to see all the boats that came out to greet me. Even this morning they were there off the coast. I’m proud to be the first back to Les Sables d’Olonne. I kept believing it was possible in the North Atlantic. I got messages of support and that kept me pushing. I have really been pushing hard. If I look fine now, it’s because I’m happy to have won, but it’s been tiring. There were times when I felt everything was going against me, so it was highly emotional even before I crossed the line. When the wind disappeared I tried to find something to help me. Something lucky. I prayed to the wind gods and that’s when I shaved off my beard. It was when I tacked off the Scillies that I finally was able to enjoy myself. I haven’t had too much work to do and would like to thank my team. It’s down to them that this boat performed so well. That’s three Vendée Globes in a row for me. The dream has come true, so now I’m moving on to something else. I’m pleased to be back with others and to be getting a good meal. It’s a huge change for me.”

Day 72: Photo-finish predicted in Vendée Globe thriller

The Vendée Globe is going down to the wire with the leading pair of Armel Le Cléac’h and Alex Thomson split by just 78 miles as they enter the final 1,000 miles to the finish.

Thomson has been playing catch-up since Le Cléac’h took the lead on December 2 but as the race enters its final few days he has transformed from the chaser into the hunter, ruthlessly stalking his French rival in the hope of being able to deliver the killer blow before the race is up. The British skipper delivered a timely warning to French skipper Le Cléac’h today when he smashed the world record for the greatest distance sailed solo in 24 hours. Hugo Boss skipper Thomson maintained a staggering average speed of 22.4 knots in the 24 hours leading up to the 0800 UTC position update to notch up 536.8nm. The distance breaks the 534.48nm record set by François Gabart in the 2012-13 Vendée Globe that he went on to win, beating Le Cléac’h by just three hours. In that respect the new record could be considered a good omen by Thomson, who is aiming to become the first Brit in the race’s 27-year history to win it. He actually beat Gabart’s record two weeks into the race, sailing 535.34nm in 24 hours, but the rules of the record state it must be superseded by one whole mile. Thomson previously held the record between 2003 and 2012 with a distance of 468.72nm. The new record will now be ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.

Banque Populaire skipper and pre-race favourite Le Cléac’h has hardly been easing off on his run into the finish. Over the same 24-hour period he covered 515 miles at an average of 21.5 knots. By the 1400 UTC report Le Cléac’h was matching Thomson’s 21 knots of boat speed with a slim buffer of 78 miles at the latitude of Cape Finisterre on the north-west point of Spain. Rather than head for the finish line in the Vendée port of Les Sables d’Olonne the duo must continue north east to avoid the centre of an anticyclone currently blocking their path east. By tomorrow the winds and therefore boat speeds will have dropped, and several days of light-wind sailing lie ahead. Both skippers are expected to finish on Thursday January 19, potentially just a few hours apart.

Throughout the fleet, today split by 9,000nm from head to tail, there has been admiration for Thomson’s new record. “Alex’s record is seriously impressive,” said New Zealander Conrad Colman, some 6,000nm behind the leaders. “I’ve been watching his average boat speed closely, and the idea of staying at 23 knots for 24 hours is absurd. I think the new generation of IMOCAs are incredible and as soon as I put my feet back on the ground I’ll be looking to cement a new project for myself and join the club ‚flying‘.” Yann Eliès, skipper of fifth-placed Queguiner-Leucémie Espoir, added: “It’s a great performance. Alex seems to be able to keep up average speeds a little above those of Armel, so we’ll be watching the final four days closely.”

Thomson was not the only skipper with cause for celebration today. Fabrice Amedeo in 11th and Arnaud Boissières in 12th both rounded Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America, to begin their ascent through the Atlantic to the finish line. Amedeo rounded at 0140 UTC with Boissières following suit just over four hours later. Thirteenth-placed Swiss sailor Alan Roura will be next round Cape Horn, adrift by just 30 miles at 1400 UTC. Rich Wilson in fourteenth still has 150nm to go. Meanwhile 65-year-old Dutch sailor Pieter Heerema passed Point Nemo, the most remote place on the planet more than 1,700 miles from inhabited land. “Now I want to get around Cape Horn as quickly as possible,” he said. “It’s a really key landmark. We’re now 70 days into this race and there’s still a long way to go. I’m enjoying it but I’ve also more or less had enough.


North Sails Rekorde


North Sails

Record-Breaking Performance
Offshore legends recall their around-the-world journeys with North Sails 3Di The level of participation and success witnessed in offshore sailing these past few years is perhaps unprecedented, and the advances in sailmaking are proven. This week, North Sails will release exclusive interviews with legendary offshore skippers Thomas Coville, Francis Joyon, and Armel Le Cléac’h about their experience sailing around-the-world. Varying in time elapsed, choice of boat, and whether solo or crewed, they all have two things in common: North Sails 3Di, and a new world record.

Follow our story on and social media with #NSvictorylist. Interviews with Jules Verne record holder, Francis Joyon, and Vendée Globe winner, Armel Le Cléac’h, are now live. To round out an exciting week, North Sails‘ interview with Thomas Coville, who set the outright singlehanded circumnavigation record on Sodebo Ultim‘, will be released in the coming hours.

Francis Joyon & Crew
40 days, 23 hours, 30 seconds

 Armel LeCléac’h
74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes