by Des Ryan
While Francis Joyon is almost/more than half way round the world on his Ellen MacArthur record breaking attempt, another Frenchman is chasing in his wake.
Thomas Coville crossed the official start line of the single-handed round the world record attempt yesterday at 18 hours 43 minutes and 21 seconds UTC.
The maxi-trimaran Sodeb'o set out with two reefs/ORC pushed by an east north-easterly wind of nearly 30 knots, set to fill in overnight.
Coville's comments recorded at 1400 UTC yesterday whilst the boat was heading up to Ushant:
'The window? It's a great weather window actually but it doesn’t come for free. This is one you have to go and hunt down.'
'The first 48 hours? It’s going to be a rather virile introduction due to the climatic conditions of course but also and above all because I’m going to have to deal with what may be a harsh depression. I’ll have to round to the North of it and then sail along it. The next step will see me slipping along until the negotiation of the transition to track down the pattern of tradewinds.'
'The emotion of the start? An emotion associated with the land rather than the sea. I can’t hide the intensity you feel when pulling yourself away from those who are dear to you. More than apprehension, today I feel a mixture of enthusiasm and concentration. I can’t say I have a knot in my stomach. I really like the boat I'm setting off on. I'm aware of the difficulty I'm going to encounter. The knot in my stomach was something I felt at home yesterday evening.'
'Choosing the moment to leave? It’s a moment which is both fabulous and gripping yet petrifying at the same time.'
'Sodeb'O and Idec? Difficult to compare the boats in different sailing conditions. What will be interesting is to compare the average speeds on the same points of sail. Clearly our boats have evolved a great deal since that of Ellen’s. You’ll have to discuss it with the architects, Nigel Irens and Benoît Cabaret who designed both our boats. You couldn't even have imagined averages like these only 3 or 4 years ago.'
'The Equator in 7 days? We’ll give ourselves between 7 and 8 days.'