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Joyon to start Thursday


Arriving back in New York last Monday, where he got back together with his giant trimaran IDEC, which has been moored up safely in North Cove Marina in Manhattan, the yachtsman, Francis Joyon, can barely wait for the final green light from his weather expert, Jean-Yves Bernot, to set sail on his attempt at the single-handed Atlantic record. «I’m bubbling over with impatience, » he admitted. Finally, some favourable weather conditions are coming together, and after a few small jobs getting her ready, Francis may well be setting off this evening to head for Ambrose Light, the rock off New York, which marks the start of this mythical, major Atlantic record.

«I still have a few little problems left to sort out today» explained Francis Joyon calmly. «The start isn’t far off. I reckon I‘ve a 90% chance of being on the starting line tomorrow morning (Thursday).» To respect this schedule, Francis is waiting for the final recommendations from Jean Yves Bernot. The famous route planner from La Rochelle is making his last forecasts for the European area, «where records are won or lost.»

However, tonight, Joyon will also have to take his giant IDEC on the slow, perilous journey up the Hudson, passing underneath the Statue of Liberty, going under Verezziano Bridge, along the Jersey coastline, before he can reach Ambrose Light, which is almost 13 miles off New York City. The time-keepers for the World Speed Record Council will be ready to record to the nearest second the start of his attempt, which Francis himself admits is a rather Herculean task. « It’s the most difficult record to reach in single-handed racing. Just think! An average speed of almost 18 knots.»

Yet, the window in the weather that he has been waiting for for so long (IDEC has been in New York since 10th April) seems finally to be appearing. The Azores high is lazing around in mid-Atlantic, causing a strong south westerly flow to blow up the Eastern seaboard of the U.S. «I’m expecting 20-25 knot winds from the start,» Joyon confirmed, «Ideal conditions, which may strengthen further on Friday to 35 knots.» Not overly excited, the Breton sailor, who really wants to get off to a good start off the American coast, where you very often can come across small, almost invisible, weather systems. He will soon be facing some speedy conditions under the gennaker, as he passes under Newfoundland, and some choppy seas in the Gulf Stream, forcing the sailor to keep a permanent lookout for the many fishing boats in the area. He will be busy going from the chart table to adjustments out on deck and long hours at the helm. No time for dreaming under starry skies ahead for Francis, who is fully determined to show what he is capable of once again. «I’m in fine form. I spent four hours in the water yesterday cleaning off her bottom. A bit of diving wakes you up.»

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 29th, 2005 at 11:34 am and is filed under Main Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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