Sadly, French solo sailor Thomas Coville on his trimaran Sodebo has once again dropped significantly behind the pace necessary for him to set a new round world record for a circumnavigation. Struggling to get past Recife, the most easterly point of South America, he is significantly behind where Francis Joyon was at this time of his voyage.
A number of things are going against him at the moment, and it increasingly looks as though it could be a race right to the finish.
Sodebo course against that of IDEC, whom he has to beat to set a new record - .. .
Recently he had a collision with what one can only imagine was a pilot whale, leaving some damage, but not enough to stop him continuing. In the last week he had to effect a repair to Sodebo's outhaul.
At the moment he has a 322 mile deficit, which, of course, is not impossible to catch up.
The Doldrums, or ITCZ, are the next hurdle, and how he transits these will make a great difference to his chances. It is hard to tell from the satellite wind radar images just what sort of passage Sodebo will have through the Doldrums. The worst is on each side of the equator and Sodebo should be through around 600 miles from where he is now.
In Sodebo's favour is that she is a long way west which conventional wisdom holds usually makes for an easier passage through the Doldrums. Our best guess is that Sodebo may once again pull ahead of IDEC at some point over the weekend.
Coville is attempting to beat Francis Joyon's (IDEC) solo Jules Verne Trophy record.
For ongoing information on Thomas's attempt go to his website?nid=81480