Thomas Coville, skipper of maxi trimaran Sodebo Ultim', July 4, 2017 NYC ( Photo © George Bekris )

Thomas Coville, skipper of maxi trimaran Sodebo Ultim’, July 4, 2017 NYC ( Photo © George Bekris )

 

THOMAS COVILLE Beats the North Atlantic solo record and also comes in under the 5 day mark.

4 DAYS 11 HOURS 10 MINUTES 23 SECONDS *

The World Tour recorder crossed the North Atlantic in less than 5 days. The skipper of the trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ , Thomas Coville, set a new record North Atlantic solo crossing record.
After the world record solo this winter, Thomas Coville becomes the fastest on the North Atlantic as well. The skipper of Sodebo Ultim crossed the finish line at Cape Lizard (South Point of England) today, Sunday 15 July at 7:29 pm (French time).

Maxi Trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ © YVAN ZEDDA / SODEBO

His time was 4 days 11 hours 10 minutes 23 seconds * (subject to WSSRC validation): a historic journey time, as the solo sailor falls below the 5-day mark. With this exceptional solo time, It beats 15 hours 45 min 47s the very recent time of Francis Joyon realized the 13 of July.

Distance traveled on the water: 3039 nautical miles – that is 5628 km
Average speed: 28.35 knots (26.87 knots on the orthodromy)

Maxi Trimaran Sodebo Ultim' prior to leaving NYC to set North Atlantic Record ( Photo © George Bekris )

Maxi Trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ prior to leaving NYC to set North Atlantic Record ( Photo © George Bekris )

 

After crossing the line, Thomas Coville will remain all night at sea with his team who will have joined him on board to convey the boat to his home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer.
Sodebo Ultim ‘will arrive at the entrance of the Channel of the Trinity on Mer (Morbihan) Sunday afternoon around 16h00 for an arrival at the pontoon at 17h00.

 

Landmarks
Departure Ambrose Light in front of New York: Tuesday July 11 at 8 hours 18 min 37s French time
Arrival at Cap Lizard: Sunday 15 July at 19 hours 29 minutes French
time Crossing the North Atlantic alone: ​​4 days 11 hours 10 minutes 23 seconds *
3039 miles traveled at an average of 28.35 knots

 

091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM', skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Photo Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

091014-Naviguation solo, entrainement pour la Route Du Rhm 2014, au large de Belle-Ile. Trimaran SODEBO ULTIM’, skipper, Thomas Coville. Reportage hélico. (Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX))

At 23:30, Sunday, Nov. 2, the Cross informed the race management of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe that a collision had occurred between Sodebo Ultim ‘and a cargo and Thomas Coville was unharmed. The trimaran was almost out of the rail and sailed under 3 reefs and ORC, progressing at a speed of 15/18 knots in assets grains with 30 knots of wind from the southwest.

In shock, the trimaran has lost the front of the starboard float to link arms. The middle housing also appears to have been damaged at the front. Sodebo Ultim ‘moves towards the port of Roscoff, crosswind, under reduced sail, leaning on the port float. He is currently lead less than 10 knots. By approaching the Brittany coast, the wind will ease and the sea to settle down. His crew was on standby in Brest will travel at night in Roscoff where the trimaran is due in the morning

Ill fortune was in no way selective as it struck a wide cross section of the La Route du Rhum-Destination fleet over the first 24 hours of the 3,542 miles Transatlantic race which started from Saint-Malo, France on Sunday afternoon, bound for Guadeloupe.

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Difficult sea conditions, squally winds which pumped up to 45kts and periods of poor visibility took a heavy toll across the five classes with dozens of skippers among the 91 starters forced to stop or abandon their race.

Most high profile early casualty is the 31m Ultime trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ of Thomas Coville which struck a cargo ship last night around 2330hrs UTC, losing the starboard float right back to the crossbeam. The solo round the world ace who was considered to be one of the pre-race favourites to win into Pointe-a-Pitre was unhurt and arrived in Roscoff at a little after midday today, disappointed and shaken.

Covillle recalled: “Today I feel like I have been a victim in a car accident. I feel like a truck collided with me, a motorcycle at night. It really basically is that. I was coming away from TSS, the area we avoid because of the maritime traffic, and I was going really fast. That evening I had had a small problem on the bow, so I decided to basically speed up and try and catch up with Loick (Loick Peyron, Maxi Banque Populaire VII) but was sailing along quite comfortably. An engine alarm went off, a battery charge reminder, so I went back inside because I was surprised that after eight hours I would need to be recharging. There was nothing wrong so I went back and there I saw on it on my screen … You can imagine that on our boats we do not have a lot of visibility, that it is dark, there were squalls and lots of rain and that basically we sail like aeroplane pilots or like traffic controllers, using the radar.

I could see that there were two cargo ships close to me. I was sailing in wind mode, which basically means you sail taking into account the variable winds and waves. If I am sailing at 25 knots and the container is at 18 knots, we had a closing speed of 40 knots. Basically the two miles was covered in one minute and thirty seconds. I get out on deck having started the engine and manage to get the right gear and it is just when I look up and see this big black wall cross in front of me and I hit it 1.5 metres or maybe 3 metres from the back. We just did not quite pass behind and but for three metres we would have passed OK.”

Two sistership Class 40s lost their keels just hours apart. Francois Angoulvant had to be airlifted off his recently launched Sabrosa Mk2 by a 33F helicopter just after midnight and taken to Brest for medical observation. Marc Lepesqueux was luckier in that he managed to keep his boat upright when he lost his keel, stabilising it by filling the ballast tanks and he was able to make it into Guernsey.

The unfortunate duo were just two with problems affecting a dozen different Class 40s. Among them an ankle injury has forced Nicolas Troussel (Credit Mutuel Bretagne) – runner up in the 2010 edition – out of the race. Thierry Bouchard (Wallfo.com) succumbed to an injured wrist. Sail or rig repairs are required on Exocet (Alan Roura), Fantastica (Italy’s highly fancied Giancarlo Pedote) and Teamwork (Bertrand Delesne). Double Vendée Globe finisher Arnaud Boissieres reported he was heading for his home port, Les Sables d’Olonne with a combination of problems.

Conrad Humphreys’ hopes of building from a strong start were compromised when the Plymouth, England skipper had to re-route into Camaret by Brest to replace a mainsail batten car luff box. Sailing Cat Phones he arrived in Camaret just before 1600hrs local time this Monday afternoon and his technical team reckoned on a two hours pit-stop. Two Multi 50 skippers required to be towed to port by the SNSM.

Loic Fequet’s Multi 50 Maitre Jacque lost a big section off its starboard float, a seeming repeat of a problem suffered a year ago according to the sailor from Brittany who finished second in the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre. And also in the Multi50s Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) broke a rudder and had to be towed to Roscoff where he arrived around 1600hrs CET this afternoon.

Loick Peyron and the giant Banque Populaire VII (which won the last edition as Groupama) continues to lead the race at the head of the Ultime fleet by a matter of 45 miles ahead of Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2). The battle of the giants was taking on its hotly anticipated centre stage action this afternoon as Guichard continued to march steadily up through the field, now into slightly more moderate breezes but still with big confused seas. He was almost 10 knots quicker than Peyron on the late afternoon poll. The leaders were due to pass Cape Finisterre this evening around 1930-2000hrs. Meantime after holding second for much of the time Sébastien Josse, Yann Elies and Sidney Gavignet are locked in a three cornered battle in the Multi70s with 3.5 miles separating them after 28 hours of racing, between 57 and 60 miles behind the leader.

Multi 50
Five seriously damaged but a duel at the front. The Multi50 fleet was hit badly by the harsh conditions. First to be affected was Maitre Jacques of Loic Fequet which suffered a damaged starboard float. His was the first of a series of accidents and damage. Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) with a broken rudder; Hervé de Carlan (Delirium), damaged a daggerboard; Erik Nigon (Vers un Monde Sans SIDA) has ripped mainsail and Alain Delhumeau (Royan) was dismasted. There were six still on course this afternoon carrying on a spirited fight to continue their race to Guadeloupe. A tight duel is at hand between Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA Cardinal) who were racing just a few hundred metres apart this afternoon off the latitude of Les Sables d’Olonne.

IMOCA
One Abandon, two damaged, Macif supreme since the start François Gabart has maintained a consistent leadership since breaking the start line first on Sunday afternoon. The lead of the current Vendée Globe champion increased this afternoon, out to 25 miles as his nearest rival Vincent Riou reported damage to his mainsheet track mountings. Two other notable damages include Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives Couer who was having to reroute for a pitstop after a shock to his rudder damaged the mountings. And Bertrand de Broc is reported to have abandoned after the hydraulic ram on his pilot failed and he also suffered an injured elbow. The rest close reach on down the Bay of Biscay with a big lateral gap (60 miles) between the trio of Gabart, Guillemot and Beyou in the west and Burton / Di Benedetto in the East.

Class 40 Sébastien Rogue remains untouchable so far in Class 40 on GDF SUEZ, but Spain’s Alex Pella is keeping the pressure on the race leader, pressing hard on the Botin designed Tales 2. Pella confirmed that he had damaged his preferred genoa during a sail change and anticipates losing some miles. But he expects to be under gennaker by the middle of tomorrow in easier conditions. “The main thing is I am still in the race which is important considering how the conditions have been.” Speaking less than 20 minutes before he was due to leave Camaret Briton Conrad Humphreys said: “I was shattered. We are almost there (close to completing repairs). The showstopper was the broken batten box which means the batten was no longer attached at the front of the main and I did not have any spares. It was a pretty hideous night, the waves were difficult, but I felt I had sailed reasonably well. There was a lot of reef in, reef out and it happened during one of these episodes. I am tired still but I will get back out there and try to stay with the group. That is the important thing. I am annoyed this happened.” Miranda Merron on Campagne de France was up to ninth place this afternoon, just 14.5 miles behind the leader. The English skipper reported: “ Minor issues on board, mainly the masthead wind unit which has stopped working, so no wind info at the moment – back to dinghy sailing. I should be able to plug in the spare wand, but not in this sea state. It will have to wait a few days until conditions improve. Not so good for performance. Anyway, it’s sunny today, although rather wet on deck. Can’t have it all!”

Rhum Class: Mura out in front, Sir Robin en forme In the Rhum Class defending title holder Andrea Mura on the optimised Open 50 Vento di Sardegna was 50 miles west of Ushant this afternoon, furthest offshore of the top group with a lead of 19 miles. He continues to clock high average speeds. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was on robust form this morning when he spoke to Race HQ in Saint Malo on the morning Radio Vacs: “I have seen gusts to 35 knots and am about 37 miles from Ushant. The first night I did see a 40 knot gust at one stage but I was ready for it. I got the third reef in and the storm jib up. We were alright. I am fine, absolutely fine, just looking forwards to getting past Ushant and get away. I always think you start racing at Finisterre but the main objective just now is just to get around Ushant. I am eating properly now after my stomach upset, so I am all good.” Knox-Johnston’s Grey Power was up to 12th in the class, while Finland’s Are Huusela is in eighth on his Class 40 Neste Oil.

11 abandons

1. Thomas Coville (Ultime – Sodebo Ultim’) : collision with cargo ship
2. Bertrand de Broc (IMOCA – Votre Nom autour du Monde) : elbow injury and pilot damage
3. Alain Delhumeau (Multi50 – Royan) : dismasted
4. Loïc Fequet (Multi50 – Maître Jacques) : float damaged
5. Erik Nigon (Mulit50 – Un monde sans sida) : mainsail shredded
6. Gilles Buekenhout (Multi50 – Nootka Architectes de l’urgence) : rudder broken
7. François Angoulvant (Class40 – Team Sabrosa SR 40MK2) : lost keel
8. Marc Lepesqueux (Class40 – Sensation Class40) : lost keel
9. Nicolas Troussel (Class40 – Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) : injury
10. Thierry Bouchard (Class40 – Wallfo.com) : injury
11.Arnaud Boissières (Class40 – Du Rhum au Globe) : technical problem

 

Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

sodebo

French skipper Thomas Coville and the 101-foot trimaran Sodebo have aborted the pursuit to beat the solo around the world record set of Francis Joyon (FRA) with IDEC of 57d 13h 34m 6s in January 2008.

After slowed by the St. Helena High in the South Atlantic, Coville was concerned that weather conditions ahead would direct his routing to 60 degrees south, which is about 300 miles north of Antarctica.

“I have a great boat, but the files confirm that even sailing deep into the South Indian Ocean, we are slower than Francis (Joyon),” explained Coville. “We would have needed to go beyond the limits we set for ourselves in terms of safety. The routing needed me to slalom between the ice south of Kerguelen Islands, which would risk putting myself in danger and also involve other people in case something goes wrong.”

The maxi-trimaran will return to its home port of La Trinité-sur-Mer, France.

 

For more information on Thomas  Coville’s record attempt and the Maxi Trimaran Sodebo visit http://www.sodebo.fr/voile .

 

 

 Thomas Coville sets off for his solo round-the-world record attempt. Brest, 17 January 2014. Photo by  Yvan Zedda-Sodebo

Under a southerly-southwesterly breeze of 15-20 knots and a swell at Ushant, Thomas Coville crossed the start line of his round-the-world solo record attempt this morning at 7h42’44” (French time). To beat the record of 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds, held by Francis Joyon since 2008, the Sodebo maxi- trimaran should be back before March 15th at 21h15’50” (French time).

Being in the right place at the right time. This is the challenge of the start of this round-the-world record attempt, much-expected and desired by the solitary skipper, that has been looming three months for favorable conditions to get out of the Bay of Biscay, swept by successive storms. The skipper was also forced last night to postpone for a few hours his dockout to let pass a new gust of wind which made maneuvering in the port difficult .

Late-night goodbyes
It is at 3:00 in the morning, under the light of an almost full moon, that the trimaran left the port of Château. Meanwhile on the dark dock in Brest, one could see the shadows of some irreducible including Thomas’ wife and their two children, but also the managers of Sodebo that have been supporting the skipper for 15 years. Despite the rain and wind, everybody tried to greet a more determined than ever skipper, very focused on his goal. It didn’t take long for Thomas to head towards Ushant. Three of his teammates helped him hoist the mainsail before switching to a tender off the port of Camaret, located at the exit of the harbor of Brest.

 

Without transition
The first objective of the skipper was to cross the line before the breeze weakened too much off the tip of Brittany. The maxi-trimaran sailed upwind facing a wind of 15-20 knots which is never easy near the coast. After tacking to get clear off Ushant, Thomas will head south on starboard tack to cross the thalweg (area of ​​light breeze) as low as possible in the Bay. He will then, finally, catch westerly-northwesterly downwind conditions. He will be able to accelerate but must remain vigilant because of squalls forecast on his way.

Around the world via the three capes
After the descent of the Atlantic, the record-chasing skipper must pass the Cape of Good Hope (Southern tip of Africa) and Cape Leeuwin (southwestern tip of Australia) and finally the legendary Cape Horn (South America) before returning back to the Atlantic to cross the finish line off Ushant. It’s race against the clock of 21,600 miles considered to be the most demanding of singlehanded sailing. Only Ellen MacArthur, Francis Joyon and Thomas Coville have already completed it nonstop.

Francis Joyon breaks the North Atlantic Sailing Speed Record crossing Lizard Point this morning on IDEC II (Photo © JEAN MARIE LIOT / DPPI / IDEC)

Francis Joyon on on the maxi trimaran IDEC II shatters the North Atlantic Record in an amazing  5 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds.  That is 16 hours, 24 minutes and 30 seconds faster than the record previously established by Thomas Coville in 2008!

Francis Joyon on IDEC II (Photo by George Bekris)

Records Francis Joyon has previously broken.

2013

Record of Discovery Route
8 days 16 hours 7 minutes and 5 seconds (valid record date)

2012

24 hour record solo
666.2 miles traveled (valid record to date)

2010

2nd in the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale

2009

Winner of the Tour of the Isle of Wight
4 hours and 24 minutes

2009

Record between France and Mauritius
26 days 4:13 minutes 29 seconds (first reference time)

Winner of the Tour de Belle-Ile

2008

Record of Discovery Route
9 days 8:35 p.m. minutes 3 ​​seconds

Lap record of absolute world alone
57 days 1:34 p.m. minutes and 6 seconds (valid record to date)

24 hour record solo
616.07 miles traveled (improved by Thomas Coville)

2007

Record run of the inning solo
6 hours 23 minutes and 36 seconds (valid record date)

2005

Record for crossing the Atlantic solo (New York – Lizard)
6 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 37 seconds

24 hour record solo
542.7 miles traveled

2004

Record of Discovery Route (Cadiz – San Salvador) alone
11 days, 3 hours, 17 minutes and 20 seconds (improved by Thomas Coville)

Lap record of absolute world alone
72 days, 22 hours, 54 minutes and 22 seconds (enhanced by Ellen MacArthur)

2001

Winner of the 76th Fastnet sur Eure et Loir

Fastest lap of the Isle of Wight
3 hours, 10 minutes and 11 seconds

2000

Winner of the Transat Europe 1 – Newman Star sur Eure et Loir
record running into 9 days, 23 hours 21 minutes

1998

Sixth of the Route du Rhum

2nd Route des Phares

1997

4th in the Transat Jacques Vabre

2nd Grand Prix Port of Fecamp

4th Race in Europe

1996

5th Multihull Championship

Second Quebec-St Malo

1995

3rd Open UAP Banque Populaire

2nd in the Transat Jacques Vabre

1993

3rd Open UAP

Third of the Coffee Route

1992

Third of the Coffee Route

1991

5th Open UAP on BPO

1990

10th Route du Rhum on BPO

1988

Third of the Discovery Route on JB Express

SAILING - NORTH ATLANTIC MULTI SOLO RECORD 2013 - CAP LIZARD (GBR) - 16/06/2013 - PHOTO JEAN-MARIE LIOT / DPPI - FRANCIS JOYON (FRA) ONBOARD IDEC BREAKIN THE SOLO-HANDED NORTH ATLANTIC RECORD

Sodebo (Photo by Christophe Launey)

Sodebo (Photo by Christophe Launey)

After setting out on Saturday 29 January at 11h07’28” (GMT) on the solo round the world record attempt, the skipper of SODEBO crossed the finish line off Ushant today, Thursday 31 March 2011 at 12h15 (GMT) after 61 days, 7 minutes and 32 seconds at sea. Thomas Coville took 3 days, 10 hours, 43 minutes and 26 seconds longer than Francis Joyon on IDEC in 2008 (57d 13h34’06”).

Paradox: the challenger was faster than the record holder. However, due to less favourable weather conditions, which meant that Thomas wasn’t able to follow as direct a route as that of the record holder, the skipper of Sodebo covered 28,431 miles at an average of 19.42 kts, or 2,031 miles further than Francis Joyon, who covered 26,400 miles at an average speed of 19.11 kts.

After a lively start off Ushant two months ago, conditions also proved rather beefy for the finish off the NW tip of Brittany. Though all the solo sailor’s efforts weren’t crowned with victory on the finish line, the emotion was very real with increased vigilance necessary to protect the damaged starboard bow as it buried into the chaotic sea.

Sodebo is expected into the port of La Trinité-Sur-Mer, SW Brittany at around 1900 GMT.

Message from Francis Joyon:
“In a world where oil escaped from the sea bed for weeks on end offshore of New Orleans, a world where nuclear power stations are throwing out radioactive clouds and where seawater has been irradiated to the extent that it has damaged life for generations to come, Thomas Coville has proven, through his journey around the world under sail, that natural energies aren’t lacking in strength.
The fact that he hasn’t beaten the round the world record isn’t the most important thing. The key to this journey is that our circumnavigations of the globe, in crewed as well as solo configuration, have been more effective under sail than under power.
Right now, no boat powered by an engine has managed to circumnavigate the globe as quickly as we do under sail, due to their weight and range associated with the massive amount of fuel required aboard.
If our sail boats could influence the upcoming decisions about energy, which are both vital and urgent, they could help us understand that the only way forward is free of pollution, CO2 and radiation, using natural energies: the wind, the current and the sun…
Congratulations to Thomas for this fast, damage-free journey across the ocean.
Francis Joyon”

Pascal Bidegorry Skipper of Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire V (Photo by B. Stichelbaut / BPCE)

Pascal Bidegorry Skipper of Maxi Trimaran Banque Populaire V (Photo by B. Stichelbaut / BPCE)

The names of the winners of the 2009 Ocean Records World Championship are now known. In the crewed category, Pascal Bidégorry is the new champion thanks to his great achievement this summer with the crew of the Banque Populaire V trimaran in the Atlantic. In the single-handed category, after Francis Joyon in 2008, it is now Thomas Coville, who deservedly takes this award after completing a round the world voyage in 59 days.

Thomas Coille, Skipper of Sodebo Transatlantic Record (Photo by Daniel Forster / DPPI)

Thomas Coille, Skipper of Sodebo Transatlantic Record (Photo by Daniel Forster / DPPI)

The Ocean Records World Championship, which brings together all the major historic sailing records – over twenty routes in all – has delivered its verdict for 2009.  In the final rankings based on each record being given a coefficient of one to ten according to its length and difficulty, the big winners in 2009 are Pascal Bidégorry in the crewed category and Thomas Coville for the single-handed sailors.

The North Atlantic and 24 hour record smashed
Pascal Bidégorry and his men have won the title of world champions thanks to the records set by the maxi-trimaran Banque Populaire V in the Atlantic.  To remind you of their incredible feat, they crossed the ocean averaging 32.94 knots with a time of 3 days, 15 hours, 25 minutes and 48 seconds… They also smashed the 24-hour record and in so doing went through two symbolic barriers: the 800-mile and then the 900-mile barrier … In fact the giant trimaran Banque Populaire V sailed 908 miles  in just one day.

North Atlantic Record Holder Banque Populaire V, Skippered by Pascal Bidegorry (Photo by B. Stichelbaut / BPCE)

North Atlantic Record Holder Banque Populaire V, Skippered by Pascal Bidegorry (Photo by B. Stichelbaut / BPCE)

Looking at the solo sailors, after Francis Joyon in 2008 and his 57-day round the world record, it is Thomas Coville, who takes the title of 2009 World Champion, thanks to his non-stop single-handed round the world voyage completed in a time of 59 days, 20 hours, 47 minutes and 43 seconds, the second best time ever.  Thomas Coville did not manage to better Francis Joyon’s record, but achieved a remarkable performance, for which he has quite naturally been rewarded with this title of 2009 World Champion.  We can note that this is the second time Thomas Coville has won this title as he was already proclaimed world champion for the first time back in 2006.

The reactions of the champions:

Pascal Bidégorry:
“Receiving this title of World Champion during the first year of sailing this boat is obviously a great pleasure. It is an honour for all those, who sail on the maxi Banque Populaire V… and I hope it won’t be the last! I hope too that there will be more and more of us battling it out in this championship in the coming years.  It’s great that such rankings exist.  We’ll see about next year, but if we get it thanks to the Jules Verne Trophy, I won’t be complaining!”
Thomas Coville:
“Even if I always put this sort of honour into perspective – my real goal is to make another attempt at the single-handed round the world record next year- it’s really nice to be recognised in this way.  The points system means that attempts are honoured. When a pole-vaulter jumps, we always expect him to beat Bubka’s world record and he tends to be forgotten if he doesn’t do that, even if he achieves the best performance of the year… »

Sodebo Thomas Coville (Photo by Jean Marie Liot / DPPI)

Sodebo Thomas Coville (Photo by Jean Marie Liot / DPPI)

Reminder of the winners since the Ocean Records World Championship was set up:

Crewed:

2008 : Lionel Lemonchois
2007 : Franck Cammas
2006 : Bruno Peyron
2005 : Bruno Peyron
2004 : Steve Fossett

Single-handed:

2008 : Francis Joyon
2007 : Francis Joyon
2006 : Thomas Coville
2005 : Ellen MacArthur
2004 : Francis Joyon

26

Arnaud Boissières had less than 70 miles to sail to the finish this afternoon and was still making nearly seven knots, keeping him on target to arrive for a triumphant return up the channel in Akena Véranda’s hope port of Les Sables d’Olonne on Sunday afternoon.

He told today’s radio session that he was already enjoying signs and memories of home, after having spoken with some Les Sables fishermen who congratulated him on his race:

“I’m enjoying myself out here and having a nice time. Yesterday evening some dolphins came alongside and this morning an hour and a half ago, some fishermen from Les Sables congratulated me on the VHF. I have a lot of respect for them, and so I really appreciated that. I hope to see them again soon in Les Sables.”

“ Already yesterday, there were a lot of cargo vessels around. I’ve come a long way in my Veranda and have so many memories. I just felt so good in my boat and I didn’t have any major problems.”

I will remember particularly Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean…There have been so many things. Finishing seventh is just incredible. The boat came sixth with Thomas Coville, fifth with “Jojo” (Sébastien Josse). As for my race, I owe it to my boat, my team, and all the experts, who were ready at all times of day and the people at Akena, who gave me so much support. It feels like there were 150 people aboard the boat!”

“ I should finish tomorrow after coffee and you’ll have time for a couple of brandies… The sun is out, the seas are not very choppy and there’s just 12 knots of wind, and even that is easing off. This morning the dolphins were back. It just makes it feel so good to be out here and so I’m taking advantage of every little moment. It’s just great!”

Steve White on Toe in the Water has 700 miles to the finish and seems to have to chosen to try and route to the east on an inshore course which are present is sending him back on a course south of Cape Finisterre where there is likely to be only light breezes and considerable traffic. He faces a long slow beat and consequently his ETA has now slipped to Wednesday or possibly Thursday. But he is still making the best part of ten knots this afternoon.

Rich Wilson, USA, (Great American III) has two options at the moment: to try and wriggle up the narrow band of contrary winds on the edge of the high pressure system to his east, which will save him miles but will require him to expend more energy, or to take the long way round. This routing sees him first having to breach a high pressure ridge which would see him slowed in light winds, which may in fact give him some time to re-group before a final push to France, but this is a longer routing.

Raphael Dinelli’s (Fondation Océan Vital) fortunes have improved this afternoon as he starts to feel the more solid NE’ly trades, signaling he is leaving the Doldrums behind and indeed his speeds have picked up nicely in recent hours. And while he has been in the Doldrums it has been a chance for Norbert Sedlacek to gain 50 or so miles and so the Austrian is now 430 miles behind on Nauticsport-Kapsch. Sedlacek was contemplating his mast climb this afternoon to try and replace his two foresail halyards.

Norbert Sedlacek, Nauticsport-Kapsch: “ I had a lot of work to do during the night. There was a little rain and the wind shifted a few times. Now it’s settled to become an ENE’ly, but it is not that strong. There is 30% cloud cover. So I’m in a good mood now. The air and sea temperature are the same. 28°C. It’s just right for a nice shower.”