Weather window dwindling
Thomas Coville is running out of runway. The French skipper of the maxi trimaran Sodebo has been on stand-by to set out on his attempt to break Francis Joyon's record for sailing singlehanded non-stop around the world since 18 October. Unfortunately, as those of us in northern Europe can attest, for several weeks now a constant stream of depressions has been bombarding our shore and while there have been breaks in the weather, departure opportunities have degraded very quickly.
Coville has given himself until tomorrow, 15 January to leave and there is still a small possibility that an opportunity might arise that would allow Sodebo to reach the equator in less than seven days - necessary if he is to better Joyon's time of 57 days, 13 hours and 34 minutes.
"If we set off on a round the world attempt, we can't waste precious hours on the first part of the journey to the equator because it is the only one where we can choose the weather. Our desire to leave shouldn't cause us to take extreme risks for the boat by setting off in 40 knots. I must resist the temptation. The long wait is not easy to live with, nor for the team, or for all those who support us and I thank them for their patience."
At the moment the rapid succession of depressions has not yet led to a sequence that would allow Sodebo to move between two fronts and then to get into the Trade Winds off Portugal. The wind on the Bay of Biscay remains strong and upwind requiring many manoevure which would not be conducive to making a fast time south, especially solo.