French sailor in fast start for solo circumnavigation record

Sodebo - Thomas Colville - Round the World Record attempt January 2014

Two and a half days after leaving Brest, France, the maxi-trimaran Sodebo, already reached the latitude of Gibraltar and expected to be at Madeira 12 hours later.

French sailor Thomas Coville, skipper of Sodebo, has just started from Brest for his latest attempt on his fellow Frenchman Francis Joyon's singlehanded non-stop around the world record. So far so good.


This will be his fourth attempt to claim this elusive record that Francis Joyon and Sodebo's sistership IDEC did such an impressive job of sewing up, when they raised the bar to 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds in 2007.

Three times so far Coville and his 31m Irens-Cabaret designed trimaran have come up short. He had to retire from his attempt in early 2008 after Sodebo collided with with a growler soon after entering the Southern Ocean, and just after having broken the record for the maximum distance traveled in 24 hours at sea singlehanded. This was only a few weeks before Joyon set his crucial record.

Over the winter of 2008-9, Sodebo succeeded in making it around the world, but Coville endured difficulties and the weather conspired against him. Bearded, weary, bruised and above all frustrated, he finished two days outside of Joyon's time, still an impressive time considering.

In January 2011, Coville set off on another attempt. On this occasion his attempt was scuppered by the weather with a giant area of high pressure making for a windless North Atlantic, 1000 miles out from the finish line.

So, undeterred, he is hoping it will be a case of fourth time lucky.

So Thomas Coville has got away to the required fast start for a successful single handed circumnavigation. Yesterday (January 19) he reported passing the 1,000nm mark.

The previous night he had been hit with winds gusting to 40kts, now the winds have eased to 25kts. Colville expects to be in the trade winds zone inside 24 hours.

After six days of sailing Thomas Colville, and his weather routers, expect to have cleared the Cape Verde Islands.

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