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Record-breaker’s boat meets tragic end

JULY 10 - Less than 24 hours after Francis Joyon set two new world records during his single-handed passage across the Atlantic, his boat, a 90-foot trimaran named IDEC, was destroyed when it ran aground and smashed against rocks off Penmarch Point, France.

Joyon on Wednesday passed the Lizard, southwest of Cornwall, England, completing his solo trans-Atlantic journey in 6 days, 4 hours, 1 minute, 37 seconds. The 48-year-old Frenchman set sail from New York June 30 in an attempt to beat Laurent Bourgnon’s time of 7 days, 2 hours, 34 minutes, 42 seconds. Bourgnon set the time in 1994 aboard his 60-foot trimaran, Primagaz.

During his voyage, Joyon also set a new record for distance covered in a 24-hour period. He traveled 543 miles, beating Bourgnon’s record of 540 miles.

Having crossed the finish, the exhausted Joyon set off for La Trinité sur mer on the south coast of Brittany, France, activated his autopilot and fell asleep. At about 1 a.m., according to Joyon’s Web site, the trimaran ran aground, smashed against rocks and eventually broke apart.

Joyon’s times will be recorded in a new category for boats larger than 60 feet in length, says John Reed, secretary to the World Sailing Speed Record Council. Bourgnon’s times will stand in a 60-foot and under category.

For a more complete account of Joyon’s ordeal, see the September issue of Soundings.

Jason Fell