The antipodal summer of 2016-17 has proved to be the season when no round-the-world record was safe.
First, in December, Frenchman Thomas Coville set a new solo round-the world record of 49 days, 3 hours, 7 minutes aboard the 110ft trimaran Sodebo.
Then, soon afterward, Colville’s compatriot Armel Le Cléac’h not only won the Vendée Globe aboard his IMOCA 60 Banque Populaire VIII but smashed the previous race record by nearly four days, crossing the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne, France, just 74 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes after setting out.
Finally, a short while after that, yet another Frenchman, Francis Joyon, and a crew of five crushed the crewed round-the-world record aboard the 103ft maxi-tri IDEC Sport, completing the 22,461-mile lap in an incredible 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes. In doing so they beat the previous record set in 2012 by skipper Loïck Peyron and his crew aboard the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V by more than four days.
Along the way, Joyon and company also smashed a number of other records, like the one for crossing the Indian Ocean (from Cape Agulhas, South Africa, to Tasmania) which they did in all of 5 days, 21 hours, 9 minutes. Over the actual 26,412 miles the crew sailed, they averaged a truly mind-boggling 26.85 knots.
Making the crew’s accomplishment all the more incredible was the fact that just six men managed to pull it off, despite the 12-year-old boat’s having originally been designed to be sailed by a crew of a dozen. For more on Joyon’s accomplishment, visit idecsport-sailing.com. For more on the Vendée globe, visit vendeeglobe.org/en.
Photos courtesy of Vincent Curutchet/DPPI (Top); JM Liot/DPPI (Above)