Thomas Coville Sets New Solo Round the World Record
Published on December 25th, 2016
(December 25, 2016) – Thomas Coville (FRA) and his 31m maxi trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ has successfully broken the solo round the world record, completing the 28400 nm route in 49 days 3 hours 7 minutes and 38 seconds (time to be ratified).
Coville, who started the attempt on November 6, beat the current record (57:13:34:06) set by Francis Joyon (FRA) on the 29.8m trimaran IDEC in January 2008 by over eight days (08:10:26:28).
At 17h 57mn 30s, Coville cut the finish line six miles off the lighthouse Creac’h in Ouessant (Finistère), completing the course in the remarkable average of 24.10 knots (52,596 kilometers at 44 km / h).
In the darkness of a day’s rest obscured by a mist that completely concealed the cliffs of the Breton island, the 48-year-old skipper made two final gybes before finally knowing the deliverance. Until the end, he led his trimaran 31 meters long and 21 meters wide at an infernal cadence, sparing no effort and maneuvering his enormous sailboat as if he were surrounded by a complete crew.
On November 6, at 14:49, Thomas made his fifth attempt against the record established by Francis Joyon in January 2008, in 57 days and 13 hours. This performance was simply outstanding at the time. The skipper of the trimaran Idec greatly improved the record held until then by Ellen MacArthur. Remember that they are only three in the world to have dared to attack the world without stopover and without assistance in multihulls: Francis Joyon, Ellen MacArthur and Thomas Coville.
In seven weeks of a frenzied cavalcade, Coville won this mad bet: to carry alone its trimaran 31 meters long and 21 meters wide, equipped with a mast 35 meters high and carrying up to 680 meters Squares of sail, to become the fastest man around the world alone.
Coville will spend the night at sea with his teammates who joined him two hours after the line. We contacted him by phone. It tells the minutes that follow such a feat:
“Nobody was planning to spend 50 solo days. Arrival is something that rises in you, something very dense. It is a very heavy sensation that overwhelms you. I had the anguish of the last hours, that of the last days, that of touching something, all that put pressure on me. All this is mixed up with a lot of fatigue. I am in a deficiency of sleep It’s a very big day for me as an athlete, as a man. I am proud of the way I have traveled to get there. I fell, I got up and that’s all that made me have that mental strength. Experience is what one does with one’s failures. I can say today that I valued them. That’s what I’m proud of.
“Having to do so many maneuvers is what makes us not far from crewed records. Sometimes I had blood in the mouth carrying sails weighing 150 kgs and which are full of water and that you drag 10 cms by 10 cms on the moving trampoline. There were nights outside, lying in the cockpit, in the cold with a listening to the hand ready to drop if the boat rises too high on a hull. It’s not a very elegant job, but it works. With the speeds you reach, you’re always on the edge of the razor. You have ups and downs. The South Atlantic has been very hard. I managed to satisfy myself with small victories on a daily basis. Physically, I can not go any further.
“Right now, I have only one desire: to sleep and to let my mind rest. I want to fall asleep by simply telling myself: Everything is fine!”
Photos by Christophe Launay:
Background: Thomas Coville (FRA) and the 31m maxi trimaran SODEBO ULTIM started the attempt to break the solo round the world record from Brest (France) on November 6. The current record of 57d 13h 34m 6s, which starts and finishes between the island of Ushant and Lizard Point in southern England, was set by Francis Joyon (FRA) on the 29.8m trimaran IDEC in January 2008. To break the record, Coville must finish by January 3 at 4:23:57 am (French time).
Source: Team Sodebo