Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

It's over - Thomas Coville about to finish, but not with a record

by Sail-World Cruising on 30 Mar 2011
Sodeb’O - a great effort, but the weather was against him Jean Claude Figenwald http://www.sodebo-voile.com
It’s over.

French sailor Thomas Coville set off on Saturday 29 January in the morning, offshore of the Créac’h lighthouse on Ushant, a French Island in the English Channel to try, for the second time, to best the record of fellow Frenchman Francis Joyon for a solo round world voyage, set in 2005 at 59+ days. In 2008, he had made the attempt, missing by two days. Since then he had worked on his boat Sodebo, making her faster, stronger. Finally in January, he thought he had a chance.

The weather, however, had other ideas. In the Pacific it was against him, but by the time he rounded Cape Horn he had caught up much lost time and the record was within his grasp. However, again the weather didn't play ball.

His blog records, with an elegance of words and a graciousness of style, the manner of his finish as he conceded defeat:

For the last section of the course, time turns against the record hunter. The desired nudge in the right direction from a not very conciliatory weather doesn’t happen. The anticyclone is entirely barring the way towards Europe, sprawled from one side of the Atlantic Ocean to the other, forcing Thomas to further extend his course and causing him to carve out a path to the NW whilst Francis was able to head directly towards the Azores. The lows are rolling across very far – too far – to the North and the die is cast. There won’t be a miracle. For his third attempt and his second complete solo circumnavigation aboard Sodebo, Thomas no longer has a chance of making it back to Ushant in time. For over 50 days, the sailor has put up a creditable performance; he has never given up or shied away from any kind of difficulty. Like all athletes, he has overcome the hurdles one by one. Along with his routers, he has carved out a fabulous route on the world map.

'There is no second, your Majesty!'
On 22 August 1851, America, helmed by John Cox Stevens, President of the New York Yacht-Club, dominated the British armada in home waters, under the watchful gaze of a large crowd who had come to witness the confrontation in the presence of Queen Victoria. When the Queen asked to know who was second, he gave what remains a famous reply: 'There is no second, your Majesty'. The answer came at the end of the first challenge which gave rise to the America’s Cup and perfectly sums up the mindset of the top level sportsman and competitor that Thomas Coville is.

Like the America’s Cup, albeit in an entirely different style, records don’t reward those that come in second. The weather decides; time chasers know that. They must accept it, even though it comes as a great frustration and a immense disappointment for Tom as well as for Sodebo, who are still as proud as they have ever been to support their skipper in his extraordinary adventures.

Indeed, you must never forget that the solo circumnavigation of the globe on a multihull without stopovers and without assistance belongs to a universe which is difficult for ordinary mortals to understand and grasp: that of extreme sport.

Today Francis Joyon remains the fastest man to sail solo around the world.


Thomas is due to arrive off Ushant sometime on Thursday this week.

Related Articles

Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
T Clewring - GenericBakewell-White Yacht DesignNorth Technology - Southern Spars