Route of Discovery records
Two teams are currently on stand-by to make attempts on the Route of Discovery record, between Cadiz and San Salvador in the Bahamas (the historic landfall of Christopher Columbus).
Having recovered from completing the Volvo Ocean Race with Franck Cammas on winner Groupama, Thomas Coville is back in the driving seat of his maxi-trimaran Sodebo. In September, Coville established a new time of 25 hours for the TransMed record between Marseilles and Carthage, Tunisia.
Coville's Irens-Cabaret trimaran is already in Puerto Sherry, Cadiz awaiting an appropriate weather window to recover the singlehanded record from Francis Joyon, who in November 2008 set a time of 9 days, 20 hours 32 minutes and 23 seconds for the 3,884 mile passage (average speed of 17.91 knots. He will also keeping in mind the outright fully crewed record for this course set in May 2007 by Groupama 3 of 7d 10h 58m 53s, representing a 21.70 knot average.
"This course is like a southern version of Route du Rhum,'' explains Coville. '' This is a difficult passage as tropical storm cells can create havoc in the tradewinds and can drum up powerful unstable depressions or even cyclones towards the end.''
On his first attempt at this record in 2005 aboard ORMA 60 Sodebo, Coville had approached the finish while Hurricane Dennis was in the area churning up rough seas and hurricane force winds.
Meanwhile the Telefonica VO70 has been rebranded as Mapfre and is due to make an attempt on the fully crewed monohull Route of Discovery record. Latest appointment to the team is Olympic Tornado gold medallist Fernando Echávarri, who skippered Telefonica Black in the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race.
The Mapfre Challenge, which is being spearheaded by Pedro Campos, while kick off with a quick tour of the coast, from the team's base in Sanxenxo to Palos de la Frontera, making stops in Bayona, Lisbon and Cadiz along the way. The team will then go on stand-by before having a crack at the record set in February last year by Giovanni Soldini and the crew of his modified VO70 Maserati of 10 days 23 hours 9 minutes and 39 seconds.