Thomas Coville, onboard maxi trimaran Sodebo departed on Saturday, Jan. 29th at 11:07:28 UTC on an attempt to beat Francis Joyon’s (IDEC) “solo” Jules Verne Trophy record.
After 28 days at sea and now at the midway point in his race against the clock, Thomas Coville looks back at his descent of the Atlantic and his passage across the Indian Ocean. On entering the Pacific, “which is never as pacific as all that,” the skipper of Sodebo is beginning the next section of his planetary voyage.
At the midway point, the skipper confirms that physically he’s at the peak of fitness: “I’m amazed,” he admitted, “to feel this fresh. I’m not limiting myself. I don’t have to choose to do one course or the other.” The same is true for the boat, ”even though I carry out a few jobs here and there on a daily basis, notably at the equator when I broke three battens.” Excellent news then as the skipper of Sodebo made his entrance into the Pacific on Friday. Ahead of him and prior to the liberation represented by rounding Cape Horn, potentially 10 days away, the big test consists of going around the Antarctic continent.
Battling against time is one thing. With a deficit of around two days in relation to the reference time set by Francis Joyon, who two years ago traced a cheeky and exemplary course, the skipper of Sodebo knows the frustration of being faster across the water and yet behind on the content.
Fully focused for the past 28 days and sailing at an extreme standard since leaving Brest, Thomas is continuing to attack “whilst trying to strike a balance on a daily level and keeping to the same pace day after day of around 20 knots, and the same output with about the same number of miles each day, namely around 500.”
“But what’s he looking for down there?” wondered Joseph and Simone Bougro, founders of Sodebo, whilst listening to Thomas saying that for him “each day is a new day.” Even though he’s making a reference to Ulysses, his trip is light years away from mere wanderings. There are neither lotus-eaters, Cyclops nor mermaids in the world of the energy-boosted multihull. Indeed the skipper of modern times has a very different tale to tell of this great voyage across the oceans between Brest and Tasmania.
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