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'I won't crack under pressure' solo circumnavigator Coville

by Sail-World Cruising on 15 Feb 2011
Sodeb’O François Van Malleghem / DPPI pour Sodeb'O http://www.sodebo-voile.com
'I won't crack under pressure. I'll do my best.' Words of a true sportsman from French sailor Thomas Coville, who is on his 17th day trying to solo circumnavigate the world and set a record doing so. So what's the pressure? Coville has been singularly unlucky with his weather, which has put him far behind the man he is trying to beat, fellow Frenchman Francis Joyon, who currently holds the record at under 58 days.

It's true that the weather has finally come good for Coville as he approaches the Roaring Forties in his 105ft trimaran Sodeb'O, and he's averaging a good 22-23 knots. The problem is, at the time of writing he is over 800 miles behind where Joyon was at this stage, which will be very difficult to catch up, even with the best of conditions all the way.

Coville reports wryly: 'It is not a perfect world at the moment.'

Explaining, he goes on, 'We are sailing around the St Helena high pressure which is really big at the moment and we are having to make big big distance to catch the low pressure in the south and get 'on the train, but all that way we have done along the Brazilian coast and all that distance are miles Francis Joyon’s didn’t do.

'Everything is okay on Sodebo and this morning it is very nice. I am trying to take every minute and every second like it is and not think too much about the future and our delay. I know already what is going to be the race now. The race is against time and is against me. I won’t crack under pressure. I’ll do my best.'

Not long after saying this, Coville passed the Cape of Good Hope, marking his entry to the south Indian Ocean.

Francis Joyon's record was set three years ago at 57 days, 13 hours and 34 minutes and 6 seconds, in his maxi-trimaran IDEC. Coville has already made a previous attempt two years ago to beat the record, but it took him more than 59 days. Sodeb'O has been under constant improvement since then to find the perfect trim and balance to enable him to crack the elusive record.

But unless something out-of-the-box happens with the weather, it might be just not perfect enough...





















































More than a month after his target departure date of 20th December, French solo sailor Thomas Coville has set off from the port of Brest in his 105 ft trimaran Sodeb'O in a bid to break the around-the-world solo sailing record. To achieve this, he will have to round the globe in less than 57 days, 13 hours and 34 minutes and 6 seconds.

This is how long it took his fellow Frenchman Francis Joyon to circle the world three years ago, and THAT was a whopping 14 days faster than British sailor Ellen Macarthur's record making voyage in 2005.

Two years ago, in the same boat, Coville made an attempt to beat the record, but it took him more than 59 days. He didn't even think of giving up. Sodeb'O has been under constant improvement since it was delivered in 2007, to find the perfect trim and balance to enable him to crack the elusive record. New curved dagger boards that act as hydro foil have recently been added to help lift the hull clear of the water.

About the boat:
Boat Speed shipyard built this 105-foot trimaran especially for Thomas in Sydney, Australia. It’s the same wharf that built B&Q for Dame Ellen Mac Arthur. The design comes from the well-known and merited due Nigel Irens and Benoît Cabaret. The important structural analysis done by John Level has helped ensure that Thomas the optimal weight-to-safety ratio in his search for winning speed.

Length: 32 m (105 feet)
Width: 16.55 m (55 feet)
Weight: 12 tonnes
Depth: 2,50 m
Main sail: 240 m2

About Thomas Coville:

Thomas Coville is no stranger to the setting of records. So far his records include:

Twenty-four hours singlehanded record: Thomas covered 628,5 nautical miles at an average speed of 26,2 knots (2009)

Trans Atlantic singlehanded record, New York to Lizards point, in 5 days, 19 hours, 29 minutes and 20 seconds (2009)

Fastest lap of the British Isles: 6 days 6:40:31 (2006).

Record Miami - New York in 3 days 05 hours and 12 seconds (2005)

Record of the Atlantic from East to West ( Cadiz - San Salvador ): 10 days 11:50:46 (2005).

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