Photo: Vincent Curuchet / Sodebo

Sodebo on standby

Thomas Coville waiting to set off on fourth attempt on solo non-stop round the world record

Thursday October 17th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

Thomas Coville has moved his maxi trimaran Sodebo up to Brest ready to go on stand-by for his latest attempt on Francis Joyon's singlehanded non-stop around the world record. 

Unhappily for tenacious Coville, who last year won the Volvo Ocean Race as part of Franck Cammas' crew on Groupama, this will be his fourth attempt to claim this elusive record that Francis Joyon and Sodebo's sistership IDEC did such an impressive job of sewing up, when they raised the bar to 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds in 2007. To put into perspective what a superhuman feat Joyon's time was, only three years earlier the late Steve Fossett had set a record for sailing around the world aboard his maxi-catamaran Cheyenne in a time of 58 days 9 hours and 33 minutes...and that was fully crewed... 

Three times so far Coville and his 31m Irens-Cabaret designed trimaran have come up short. He had to retire from his attempt in early 2008 after Sodebo collided with with a growler soon after entering the Southern Ocean, and just after having broken the record for the maximum distance traveled in 24 hours at sea singlehanded. This was only a few weeks before Joyon set his crucial record.

Over the winter of 2008-9, Sodebo succeeded in making it around the world, but Coville endured difficulties and the weather conspired against him. Bearded, weary, bruised and above all frustrated, he finished two days outside of Joyon's time, still an impressive time considering.

In January 2011, Coville set off on another attempt. On this occasion his attempt was scuppered by the weather with a giant area of high pressure making for a windless North Atlantic, 1000 miles out from the finish line.

At present Coville is on stand-by ready to leave. The 45 year old father of two is better prepared than ever and remains hugely fit, being a keen cyclist and climber.

Recent holders and attempts on the singlehanded non-stop around the world record

2004 Francis Joyon on IDEC 72 days, 22 hours, 54 minutes and 22 seconds
2005 Ellen MacArthur B & Q / Castorama 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds
2008 Francis Joyon on IDEC 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 06 seconds
2009 Thomas Coville on SODEBO 59 days, 20 hours, 47 minutes and 43 seconds aboard Sodebo
2011 Thomas Coville on SODEBO 61 days, 5 minutes and 5 seconds


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