Underway - 26000 miles to go
After three months of patient waiting, Thomas Coville and his 102ft trimaran Sodebo have set off on an attempt to break Francis Joyon's 2008 solo non-stop around the world record. The giant red trimaran crossed the line off the Créac'h lighthouse on Ushant at 06:42:44 UTC.
Sodebo left the port du Château in Brest at 02:00 UTC this morning under a full moon, but in gusty wind and driving rain, Coville waving goodbye to his wife and two children and the Sodebo management. Three of the Sodebo shore crew helped him raise the mainsail before being disembarked on to a RIB and taken to Camaret at the mouth of the Rade de Brest.
The aim of Coville was to start before an intense depression moves northeast over the northwest tip of France this afternoon.
Sodebo crossed the line in less than ideal conditions for a blistering start - in upwind in 15-20 knot southwesterlies. According to Coville his intention is to head south on starboard, before tacking to round the bottom of the depression (rather than go around the top of it and then join up with the strong favourable northerlies on its west side). He'll then get into the favourable conditions while will propel Sodebo south to the trades and on down to the Equator.
The solo non-stop around the world rcod is around 21,600 miles of sailing. To date only Francis Joyon, Ellen MacArthur and Coville have completed this singlehanded record non-stop on a multihull.
Before leaving Coville commented: " The window is okay although the first 36 hours will be complicated to manage with 12-14 hours upwind into strong winds before crossing the front and getting into the WNWerly winds. They are not exactly dream conditions. The seas will be about 5-7m, roughly two floors of a building..."
To beat Francis Joyon's record of 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds, Sodebo must arrive back before 15 March 20:15:50 UTC.