The French sailor Francis Joyon has set a new 24 hour distance record for a boat skippered by a solo sailor. The Frenchman managed to sail 668 nautical miles with an average speed of 27.83 knots.

Joyon set off from la Trinité-sur-Mer in Brittany on Friday July 27, heading for the Azores on board the trimaran IDEC, 29 meters in length. Before this day, the record was owned by another Frenchman Thomas Coville who set it in year 2008 after sailing 628.5 miles in his second attempt to beat the 24 hours solo sailing record. It was an exchange of roles as the previous record before Coville smashed it was held by Joyon for the period of 57 days, 13 hours and 34 minutes.

To achieve this record “I had to find ideal conditions, that  I had only managed to find before in the Indian Ocean. So I went about 800 miles west of Cape Finisterre on the edge of the Azores. There was no rest during 24 hours. I just ate some cereal bars to feed myself, “ said Joyon after landfall.

“After a certain period of time, wind and waves provided me with sailing speed at 32 knots (59.3 km / h.). It was extremely risky because the boat was constantly on the edge and  I wasn’t at the helm. I stayed there for 24 hours standing in the cockpit with the mainsail sheet in one hand and the solent sheet in the other,” revealed Joyon.  “I would have been happy to beat this record by a few miles, but doing it by nearly 40 miles is as if I had reached the moon. I’m particularly pleased as I haven’t sailed that much since capsizing last year during my transatlantic record attempt.”

This new record will help to leave behind the disappointment after the last year’s failure when the mast of his trimaran broke while trying to beat the transatlantic record. “Last winter we did a good job in refitting the IDEC. The mast is the same one that broke in half during the capsize, and the sails are the original ones, which have already clocked up 90,000 miles” said Francis Joyon.