Jules Verne: Working with nature

Published on December 8th, 2020

(December 8; Day 14) – Sodebo Ultim 3 continues to sail eastward toward the Kerguelen archipelago, located about 700 nm from its bow this evening. However, after a necessary gybe, Thomas Coville and his seven crew lost over 300 nm from the Jules Verne Trophy pace of Idec Sport, now holding an advance of 281.94 nm (as of 22:45 FR).

The onshore routing unit made up of Jean-Luc Nélias and Philippe Legros seek to determine the best course through the Indian Ocean. We propose and they dispose, it is always a loop between us,” explains Nélias. “We are a bit of a spur, but generally, the instructions we give them are achievable, we try to be realistic and we obviously take into account the problems on board. And with Thomas, we start to get used to working together.”

Nélias has indeed accompanied the skipper of Sodebo Ultim 3 on his attempts to set a single-handed round-the-world record for the Route du Rhum, but also at sea, especially last year on the Brest Atlantiques. This essential complicity allows the two men to agree on the rhythm to keep, even if it is above all nature that decides.

“The weather always requires going a little faster to avoid getting caught up by light winds or by a beating stroke,” explains Nélias. “We decide on a few adaptations, but overall, it’s the weather that directs us and sets the tempo.”

Crew list: Thomas Coville, François Duguet, Sam Goodchild, Corentin Horeau, Martin Keruzoré, François Morvan, Thomas Rouxel and Matthieu Vandame.

After starting at 02h 55min (French time) on November 25, to grab the Jules Verne Trophy (40:23:30:30) for fastest time around the world, the 32-metre Sodebo Ultim 3 must cross the finish line before January 5 at 2h25min (French time, subject to World Sailing Speed Record Council).

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The rules for the Jules Verne Trophy are simple – it is for the fastest time around the world by any type of yacht with no restrictions on the size of the crew, starting and finishing from the exact line between the Le Créac’h Lighthouse off the tip of Brittany and the Lizard Point in Cornwall. It was first won in 1993, with all nine winners as either catamarans or trimarans. The current challenge is to beat the record time of 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes and 30 seconds set by Francis Joyon and crew on the 31.5m IDEC Sport in 2017.

Record Facts
• Start and finish: a line between Créac’h lighthouse (Isle of Ushant) and Lizard Point (England)
• Course: non-stop around-the-world tour racing without outside assistance via the three Capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn)
• Minimum distance: 21,600 nautical miles (40,000 kilometres)
• Ratification: World Sailing Speed Record Council, www.sailspeedrecords.com
• Time to beat: 40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 30 seconds
• Average speed: 21.96 knots
• Date of current record: January 2017
• Holder: IDEC SPORT, Francis Joyon and a 5-man crew

Split Time References – Full Crew:
Ushant-Equator: 4d 20h 07 ‘(Spindrift 2 in 2019)
Equator-Cape Aiguilles: 6d 08h 55 ‘(Banque Populaire V in 2012)
Cape Aiguilles-Cape Leeuwin: 4d 09h 32 ‘(IDEC Sport in 2017)
Cape Leuuwin-Cape Horn: 9d 08h 46 ‘(IDEC Sport in 2017)
Cape Horn-Equator: 7d 04h 27 ‘(Banque Populaire V in 2012)
Equator-Ushant: 5d 19h 21 ‘(IDEC Sport in 2017)

Here are the nine that have held the trophy:
2017 – Francis Joyon / IDEC SPORT (31.5m) – 40:23:30:30
2012 – Loïck Peyron / Banque Populaire V (40m) – 45:13:42:53
2010 – Franck Cammas / Groupama 3 (31.5m) – 48:07:44:52
2005 – Bruno Peyron / Orange II (36.8m) – 50:16:20:04
2004 – Olivier De Kersauson / Geronimo (33.8m) – 63:13:59:46
2002 – Bruno Peyron / Orange (32.8m) – 64:08:37:24
1997 – Olivier De Kersauson / Sport-Elec (27.3m) – 71:14:22:08
1994 – Peter Blake, Robin Knox-Johnston / Enza New Zealand (28m) – 74:22:17:22
1993 – Bruno Peyron / Commodore Explorer (28m) – 79:06:15:56

Source: Sodebo Ultim 3

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