Christophe Launay Photography /

New livery for Sodebo maxi-tri

Thomas Coville's maxi-trimaran is relaunched ready for Route du Rhum and RTW record

Thursday August 19th 2010, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

On his return from his round the world record attempt in January 2009, Sodebo maxi-trimaran skipper Thomas Coville as per usual, filled page after page of his notebook. Next on the job list was to sift out the really good ideas, in the knowledge that the objective was to make the maxi-trimaran lighter and even speedier for the Route du Rhum taking place over October/November this year. Added to this challenge is another solo round the world record attempt, which is scheduled for Coville's return from Guadeloupe.

It promises to be a hectic year then for the maxi trimaran and her skipper, with the focus on two very different exercises, one a sprint. Clearly, it’s one thing for the skipper to be the fastest man to sail across the North Atlantic and over 24 hours in solo configuration, but taking the start of the singlehanded Route du Rhum race and setting off on a solo round-the-world record attempt is something entirely different.

To improve the performance of Sodebo she has been fitted with retractible ORMA 60-style foils in her floats, that should enable the 32m, triple-hulled monster to make a 5-7% gain in boat speed. That is of course “if the theoretical values translate into real figures, which would enable us to make a solo circumnavigation of the world in under 57 days!” explained Coville just hours after Sodebo was relaunched this week.

“The foils will enable us to be less Archimedean and more aerial. It’s essential to use our knowledge of the boat to be able to follow through this evolution," Coville continues. "The boat will pass into another phase. With the canting mast and the foils, the boat will be considerably boosted. She’s going to fly! What remains is to ensure the automatic pilots are as reliable as possible, because they’re going to be under a lot of pressure. One of the things we’ve integrated is a gyroscopic compass used by the army. The responsiveness of the rams, the design of the beams - it’s all been developed internally”.

Whilst work has been carried out on the aerodynamics and the hydrodynamics, Coville's shore team (the 'Sodeboys') have been relieving the boat of any surplus grammes. This search has even extended as far as the trampolines, where they’ve rigged up a machine which enables them to make trampolines whose lattice work doesn’t contain knots. The upshot of this is 80 fewer kilograms. The same is true for the whole of the running rigging. Martial Salvan, the splicing expert, was given strict instructions: “It’s up to you to find the solution to saving weight without losing out on resistance!” Coville certainly has a lot to smile about since every technician has taken up his bet in their speciality.

As regards the look, the company who has been working on the brand’s platform has kitted itself up with a new logo and new colours. So the boat is sporting her own new livery: Orangey red and grey, the new décor, which has been created by Jeff Callec who is an expert in the art of collage, effectively highlights the slender, elegant lines of the Nigel Irens/Benoît Cabaret design. Drawing inspiration from the graffiti photographed here and there on walls and underground trains, the decoration, taken up on the hulls, are designs which follow the theme of Coville’ adventures and the Sodebo products.

More images from Christophe Launau -




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