World's slowest 24 hour maxi-trimaran run

Sodebo gets nailed by the St Helena high on her round the world record attempt

Wednesday January 29th 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Thomas Coville and Sodebo have set another record - this time for a maxi-trimaran's slowest day's run. In the 24 hours leading up to 0500 this morning, the 105ft yacht - which can normally make good speed when presented with the slightest zephyr - covered just 35 miles. Those occasionally glancing at the tracker showing her progressed may have noticed the boat was even apparently going slowly in the wrong direct at times yesterday. This has been thanks to a broad area of high pressure that has been blocking Sodebo's path south and the result is that at the 1300 sched, she has fallened 889 miles behind the pace set by Francis Joyon aboard Sodebo's Irens-Cabaret designed sistership IDEC 2 in 2008.

Fortunately prospects are looking up slightly for Coville, who last sailed around the world as part of Franck Cammas' winning crew on the Groupama VO70. Sodebo's speed is now back up to 15-16 knots, although its not entirely clear why - the latest GFS GRIB (see above) has Sodebo still in the middle of the high... It appears that the high Coville is negotiating, is in the process of splitting in two and he sailing south between the two halves.

Sadly, if the forecast is correct, even now that Sodebo is back up to cruising speed, it doesn't look that she's going to make it south in time to hook on to the front associated with the depression centred currently some 780 miles to his south. Nonetheless there now appears to be pressure and for the first time since Monday afternoon, the big red tri is back up to double digit boat speeds.

Last night Coville was attempting to stay calm... "On a tour of the world, we must learn to adapt to all conditions! It was nice to train and prepare for all eventualities, but I realise that Mother Nature is always stronger than we are! She plays with my nerves, my physique. On land, we are not accustomed not to be in control of everything! Here we must learn to accept our destiny a little. So I must be patient and I stay focused."

One of his shore-based routing team, Thierry Briend, observes that Sodebo has been attempting to sail around the east side of the anticyclone since Monday. "All these minis cells form a huge mass of high pressure and we are currently between two of them. This will allow Thomas to hoist his small gennaker this afternoon, and if it all transpires as it should, the wind reach 12-15 knots by this evening. "

While he may not be able to get south in time to pick up the favourable winds ahead of the depression, the system is certainly helping at last to bring some pressure to Sodebo's vicinity. 

Geographically the next hurdle for Sodebo is passing into the Roaring Forties, currently 840 miles up the track on her current heading. Fortunately by the weekend another depression is due to come along and Sodebo will be able to key into the front ahead of this, which should take her most of the way towards the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope - hopefully an opportunity to make up some lost ground on Joyon.

Image above courtesy of Expedition and PredictWind.


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