Coville Sets Off on Jules Verne Trophy Attempt

Thomas Coville, skipper of Sodebo, crossed the start line on Saturday, January 29th at 11:07:28 UTC. To beat Francis Joyon’s record, he will have to be back in Brest by March 28th at 0:40:34 UTC.

A week after Pascal Bidégorry’s crew set off on the Jules Verne Trophy, it’s over to Thomas Coville to head off to attack the rather different “solo” round the world record aboard Sodebo. The skipper left the pontoon in Brest’s Port du Château shortly before 8:00 UTC to cross the start line off Ushant, in front of Le Créac’h lighthouse, by late morning. His aim is to return to the same spot in under 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds, the reference time set by Francis Joyon  in January 2008. The skipper has set off with “a good weather window for solo sailing and feels a sense of liberation at having taken the decision to set off. I’ve nurtured this moment for years. I’m heading off on this because I want to. The emotion stems from extracting yourself, making the switch from a landlubber to a sailor.”

Conditions at the start promise to be lively with a 25 knot NE’ly wind followed by fairly steep seas in the Bay of Biscay. If the forecasts are confirmed, the skipper could hold onto the NNE’ly air flow for a considerable time and even as far as the equator. As such, on the computer, Sodebo’s schedule is rather favorable. “This decision to set off was an easy one to make given the stability of the weather conditions,” admitted the Solo Atlantic record holder on the eve of his third round the world record attempt on this boat. “The weather models have been in agreement for several days and if conditions remain ‘vigorous,’ the situation enables a quick and easy descent to the equator, which I could cross in about seven days, which isn’t bad.”

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