Francis Joyon and his crew add Tea Route record to their Jules Verne trophy as IDEC SPORT smashes record by over four days.
IDEC SPORT breaks Tea Route record
SHOWS: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FEBRUARY 19, 2020) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
VARIOUS OF IDEC SPORT SAILING ALONG THE THAMES HAVING BROKEN THE TEA ROUTE RECORD A FEW HOURS EARLIER 2.
VARIOUS OF IDEC SPORT SKIPPER, FRANCIS JOYON (RED JACKET) OPENING BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE AND CELEBRATING WITH HIS CREW IN FRONT OF TOWER BRIDGE AFTER BREAKING THE TEA ROUTE RECORD 3.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) IDEC SPORT SKIPPER, FRANCIS JOYON, SAYING: "It is a historical record that started during the time of the clippers.
Clippers used to leave Hong Kong with tea and were racing amongst each other to be the first in London to deliver their tea so (it was) regattas with big boats and great sailors.
Those regattas have been taken over by big "multi-hulls" in particular (Italian sailor) Giovanni Soldini who set the record two years ago so it is a beautiful, historical record." 4.
JOYON AND HIS CREW DRINKING THE CHAMPAGNE STORY: The IDEC SPORT maxi trimaran skippered by Frenchman Francis Joyon completed the Tea Route voyage between Hong Kong and London in a record time on Wednesday (February 19).
Joyon, 63, said he was pleased to claim the "beautiful, historical" record which dates back to the mid-19th century when clipper boats would race from China to London to be first to return with their cargo of tea.
The boat's crew, Bertrand Delesne, Christophe Houdet, Antoine Blouet and Corentin Joyon - Francis' son - crossed the finish under the QE II Bridge which spans the Thames shortly after 0730GMT.
The race time, which is the new record time over this distance, was 31 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes and 46 seconds.
They beat the record previously set by the Italian skipper, Giovanni Soldini in 2018 by 4 days, 3 hours, 0 minutes and 26 seconds.
IDEC SPORT sailed 15,873 miles (24,545 kilometres) at an average of 20.7 knots.
Joyon said there were several difficult moments during the voyage but the one that stuck out most for him was the final stretch along the Thames where they had to turn 80 times due to the winds and ran the risk of beaching the boat every time.
Joyon and his crew - who are the current holders of the Jules Verne trophy - have been away for four months on the IDEC SPORT Asian Tour which culminated in taking on the Clipper Route to London.
Joyon said he was now looking forward to spending time with friends and family before embarking on any more sailing challenges.