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.


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.


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.


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 ( 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.

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 – : injury
11.Arnaud Boissières (Class40 – Du Rhum au Globe) : technical problem


Sodebo Damage (Photo  © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

Sodebo Damage (Photo © ALEXIS COURCOUX)

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:


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


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


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.”

Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget, Photo Sea & Co

Thomas Coville crossed the finish line on his solo round the world record attempt aboard a multihull today, off the Petit Minou light in Brest, Saturday 17th January at 10 hours, 41 minutes and 57 seconds UTC.

The sailor and his Maxi Trimaran Sodeb’O thus completed their circumnavigation of the globe in 59 days, 20 hours, 47 minutes and 43 seconds. He is the third sailor after Francis Joyon and Ellen MacArthur to have successfully sailed around the world without stopovers. Each of them, as well as Olivier de Kersauson, have paid tribute to the skipper of Sodeb’O and his performance.

Alone aboard a demanding 32 metre long boat, constantly pushing back the limits of extreme fatigue, Thomas Coville racked up the 4th best outright time around the globe, behind the crews of Bruno Peyron (2005) and Steve Fossett (2004) and the solo sailor Francis Joyon (2008). Though he was unable to outdo Francis Joyon’s performance in terms of speed, during his circumnavigation of the globe, Thomas Coville beat his own 24 hour distance record on 7th December 2008: 628.5 miles (1,164 km) devoured at 26.2 knots (48.5 km/hr)!

Last year Francis sailed 26,400 miles at an average speed of 19.11 knots. Thomas Coville’s course was certainly longer (28,125 miles) but it was also faster (19.60 knots)

At the harbour entrance in Brest, the three metre waves of the Iroise left the way clear for a good swell. Under one reef mainsail and solent, downwind in a 15-20 knot SW’ly, the Maxi Trimaran returned to the point she set out from on 18th November 2008. Thomas crossed the finish line standing on the bow of the central hull, his hands in his pockets.