The Story of the Jules Verne Trophy

Published on December 10th, 2015

The Jules Verne Trophy is the prize for the fastest circumnavigation of the world by any type of yacht with no restrictions on the size of the crew. The designated starting and finishing area is between the Le Créac’h Lighthouse off the tip of Brittany and the Lizard Point in Cornwall.

Behind the doors at the National Naval Museum in Paris, France is where the Jules Verne Trophy awaits its next holder. The Trophy is an exhibit from the National Contemporary Art collection, and is looked after by the Naval Museum, thanks to Titouan Lamazou and Florence Arthaud.

The Jules Verne Trophy is a work of art created by American artist Tom Shannon, whose specialty is creating works of art which float within a magnetic field. The Jules Verne Trophy is very symbolic, as it resembles the hull of a boat floating above a magnetic field. It symbolically represents the relationship between human and their world.

When a skipper and crew break the round the world record, a special ceremony takes place. It is very emotional as the Head of the Naval Museum hands over the Trophy to the former winners, who then give it to the new crew and skipper who have beaten the record.

Upon receipt of the Trophy, the new record holders place it in the magnetic field. This is a very special moment, as they have to find the magnetic field, and all the sailors have their hands on the Trophy. Everyone attending the ceremony holds their breath as the crew seek to find the field.

When you touch this trophy you have to wear gloves, so all the sailors wear gloves. Usually the gloves are white, but upon winning the Trophy, Peter Blake and Robin Knox-Johnston and their crew had another idea. They put on red and green gloves, symbolizing port and starboard.

The Naval Museum deals with art, history, sciences, technology but above all human endeavor… an appropriate residence for the Jules Verne Trophy.

Note: The Trophy has been held since January 2012 by Loïck Peyron and his crew on the 40m maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V when they set the record of 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds.

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