On Sunday at the Pointe-à-Pitre, the sixth Swedish skipper with a peculiar personality in front of François Gabart triumphed.
Moored on the puntoon Memorial ACTe Pointe-à-Pitre, maxi-trimaran Idec Sport suddenly turns into a dance floor. At the sound of Biniou and bombs to recover Brittany Seven Nation Army, the famous tube of white stripes, Francis Joyon jumps shyly on the trampoline of his boat, in the middle of a round made by his team and his close relatives. Surprised, his wife Virginie tries to dictate the rhythm. The lover makes some efforts, but remains a bit stiff, like menhir, which he often compares to. Drunk from fatigue, but without rum – he only tasted the lips of a local drink in a glass stretched over a commemorative photo – Joyon discreet still floats in the great wind of victory.
A unique sailor
At the age of 62, he wrote one of the most beautiful pages in the history of the transatlantic – and a great book of offshore racing – during the legendary duel with François Gabart on the island of Guadeloupe. After seven and a half days of riding behind his younger brother, Joyon managed to cover him with a pole for seven minutes and eight seconds, thanks to the final tack before the finish line. Main jump. Under the camera lamps from which usually escapes, eyes shine and emotions come out. "The fight with François was fascinating," he murmurs in a soft voice, which contrasts with the thickness of the trapezoids and the impressive beaters he pulls at the ends. It was a really amazing race. Sprinkled with a unique finish for the captain, who is equally good.
"Francis is an extraordinary sailor, difficult to sober, sober and effective," says Loïck Peyron, his predecessor on the rum list, who has just stolen (7 days 14 hours 21 minutes and 47 seconds) on the seventh share. It is also a lonely par excellence. Sailing in the sea only with the company of albatrosses, whales or flying fish, the winner of Transat Anglaise (2000) made him his specialty, he who had reigned as a time champion all over the world solo before Thomas Coville & # 39; em François Gabart in turn defeated the times .
Born far from the sea, at Hanches in Eure-et-Loir, in 1956, young Joyon sketched his dreams of flowing, reading the stories of Bernard Moitessier, and then gave him a chance to do them during the internship. the Glénans summer school, which will then be monitored. Endowed with hands, he built a 12.50 meter cutter in his family workshop before he started his career as a carpenter. The first trimaran of this unique handyman, ingenious and ingenious, was built at the end of the 1980s as a result of the impressive Lego game made by him from pieces of other multihulls. And his house in Locmariaquer did not see many craftsmen.
"this attack without fear"
If he grew up in the ground, Joyon became a marine mammal developing in perfect harmony with a liquid and salty element that never seems to overwhelm him. "He is at home at sea" – confirms Gwénolé Gahinet, one of his five team members during the winning Jules Verne trophy campaign in 2017 (40 days, 23 hours). In the south he attacks without fear. In terms of stress management, it has almost innate features. He manages to manage high speeds for a very long time when he manages to sleep. He is impressive. "
"Francis, it's a different culture"
If he confessed that he needed rest after the test tranata, the sailor with the lumberjack figure remains a UFO in the middle of the offshore race, where he confronts himself, on machines that require crazy on the physical level, the thirties or quadri to triathlons. "What Francis does at the age of 62 is unique, a natural force with an amazing ability to survive," notes Christian Le Pape, director of Finistère Pole Ocean Racing. The circle where Gabart, Josse, Le Cléac & # 39; h stretch out, and Joyon stays away. "We never see him, it's not his business, Francis, it's a different culture, it's a separate one," Le Pape continues, "but it arouses deep respect among all competitors."
And boundless admiration for Patrice Lafargue who has been financing her projects since 2002. "I am passionate about Francis who, with a big smile, loses the thought of General Director Idec, an SME specializing in commercial real estate, real estate or residential real estate, an extraordinary, introverted man who expresses himself above all at sea, not looking for glory. one of Joyon's strengths is his multi-tasking, independent personality. "At home, Francis deals with everything. From time to time he is a mechanic, painter and navigator. I do not need a big team. In any case, he could not stand it. For a sponsor like us, it's perfect. "
"Future?" Francis will choose
And what about the future of sexagenarian after such beautiful rum? "I do not say anything," he smiled on Sunday evening. The first edition of the entire world race (Brest Oceans), planned for a year and whose time is a matter after the break in Utimes, does not matter in Idec Sport. For now. "Francis is still green, and the boat is in the game with the possibility of increasing its power," says Patrice Lafargue. Francis will choose. To move the time limit or not again.