Francis Joyon is leaving. In a few days, he will address the prestigious North Atlantic record. Success would make him the first skipper to win the incredible “Grand Slam” of records. Joyon will be on stand-by in New York from May 15. Yesterday evening the skipper was in Paris for a great evening presentation at Pershing Hall in the presence of three of the four solo Atlantic record holders Florence Arthaud, Thomas Coville and Bruno Peyron, current record holder. His record will be challenged shortly by the skipper of the Maxi-trimaran IDEC.
Hold 21 knots average for less than 5 days, 19 hours and 29 minutes. Alone. On the demanding North Atlantic. That’s the challenge with the high bar set by Thomas Coville in July 2008. Francis Joyon will sail between the Statue of Liberty and the English Cornwall. To be precise between Ambrose Light in New York and that the Lizard in the south of England . In that in-between are heavy waves, winds and icebergs to content with while sailing at breakneck speeds.
Giovanni Soldini and Maserati set the new record of the Golden Route
New York-San Francisco in 47 days, 0 hours, 42 minutes and 29 seconds
Maserati crossed the finish line at h 18 31′ 59” GMT
It’s a record! 47 days, 0 hours, 42 minutes and 29 seconds to sail from New York to San Francisco crossing Cape Horn. Giovanni Soldini and Maserati’s team crossed the finish line under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge at 18h 31′ 59” GMT (19h 31′ 59” Italian time, 10h 31′ 59” local time), establishing a new record time reference of the Golden Route, in the monohull category.
“We are happy! – says Soldini – The Golden Route is an historic record, a very important and challenging one. Now it will bear the colours of the Italian flag. Maserati proved to be a powerful boat, a technological and reliable one. The crew has been extraordinary, everyone was prepared to face even the hardest situation. I want to thank all my companions in this adventure and to thank also all my partners, Maserati, BSI and Generali who allowed all of us to make our dream come true”.
Giovanni Soldini and a crew of eight sailors left New York at 17h 49’ 30” GMT of December 31, 2012 aboard Maserati, to challenge the New York-San Francisco record.
The challenge is being sponsored by Maserati as main partner and inspiration for the boat’s name, by the Swiss bank BSI (Generali Group) and by Generali itself as co-sponsor.
Suppliers for the attempt include Vodafone Italia, Bulgari, Official Time Keeper, Boero Bartolomeo S.p.A., Eataly e Great Circle.
At http://maserati.soldini.it you can follow Giovanni Soldini and his team’s navigation from New York to San Francisco almost live, 24 hours a day: videos and photos sent from aboard, news and comments form the crew members. At Cartography page, the position of Maserati is updated every hour to experience the challenge of Soldini and his team surfing from home.
NEW YORK – SAN FRANCISCO RECORD STORY
The 13225 nautical miles that separate New York from San Francisco via Cape Horn, are an historic route, widely travelled by clippers that were involved in the goldrush starting from the second half of 1800. The best result of the time was set in 1854 by Flying Cloud, exceptional vessel from the Boston shipyards, that reached San Francisco in 89 days and 8 hours, a record that stood for more than 130 years.
After several attempts by many boats, the 60-foot Thursday’s Child of Warren Luhrs arrived in San Francisco after 80 days and 20 hours in 1989. In 1994, Isabelle Autissier aboard Ecureuil Poitou took 62 days and 5 hours. Then, in 1998, Yves Parlier on board Aquitaine Innovations has dropped to 57 days, 3 hours, 2 minutes. This is the reference record for Giovanni Soldini and his crew who will try to beat it aboard the VOR70 Maserati, from the second half of December 2012.
The overall record in the multihull category belongs to Lionel Lemonchois that made thejourney in 43 days and 38 minutes aboard Gitana 13 in 2008.
The challenge is being sponsored by Maserati as main partner and inspiration for the boat’s name, by the Swiss bank BSI (Generali Group) and by Generali itself as co-sponsor.
Maserati’s support and participation in this majorItalian challenge in sport and technology confirms the company’s role as a world ambassador for that level of excellence for which Italy is universally known. Maserati gives zealous expression to that excellence every day in 65 countries worldwide, through successful high-quality cars like the Quattroporte, GranTurismo and GranCabrio. The performance of Maserati cars on the road matches that of Giovanni Soldini and Maserati on water.
BSI and Generali
BSI is one of Switzerland’s oldest banks andspecialises in private wealth management through top flight global management. BSI is a fully controlled member of the Generali Group, and fields a presence on all major international financial markets, especially in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Generali is one of the world’s largest international insurance groups with offices in over 60 countries. The group boasts a robust footprint in Europe, EEC member states, Asia and Latin America, serving over 70 million customers. The Generali Group is a European leader in life insurance with assets of over 400 billion euros.
Suppliers for the attempt include Vodafone Italia, responsible for providing telecommunication services and developing the official website, official time keeper Bulgari, and Boero Bartolomeo S.p.A. producers of the special paints and enamels used on the hull.
Maserati is also sponsored by Eataly, suppliers to the boat’s galley, Beta Utensili, who have provided all the professional tools, Corderia Lancelin, supplier of the special ropes and cables, FPT Industrial for technical assistance with the engines, Jeppesen for the cartography, B&G Navico for technical assistance with on-board instrumentation, Cantiere Picchiotti of La Spezia, home of Maserati on dry land, and the Port of La Spezia, home of Maserati when at sea.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Francis Joyon is poised to succeed his bet on the Discovery Route. On Thursday afternoon, he did more than 280 miles to cover to cut the finish line in San Salvador. After being slowed yesterday, IDEC found speeds of around 20 knots and should ultimately bring its own record below 9 days! Arrival tomorrow Friday!
Almost direct route or a little less than 300 miles to go, the maxi trimaran IDEC has found a few hours speeds of around 20 knots. After much maneuvering yesterday – as expected – to negotiate quiet areas south of an anticyclone, Francis Joyon has managed to preserve half of the advance he had known garner far, approximately 200 miles 400. This should be enough to raise that reaching the goal set at the beginning of Cadiz is exactly 8 days, ie “win ten hours.”
The final gain will probably nearly double that envisaged since IDEC should cut the finish line in the morning tomorrow, Friday, February 15. In any case well before the scheduled deadline to improve its own record on this course in 2008 (9 days and 20 h), knowing that to do IDEC must happen before Saturday 9:21 French time.
Below 9 days … without routing!
“If all goes well, I get in fact in the morning tomorrow, Friday,” confirms Francis Joyon phone Thursday, “even if it takes to negotiate the final calm. Having said that, I have a little more wind provided that the files “welcomes the driver of the maxi trimaran IDEC.
Recall that this genuine performance will be carried out in unprecedented conditions, since Francis Joyon road itself without outside help. And this road to discovery is yet more complex than the most prestigious record in the North Atlantic. Indeed, in this sense, the solo sailor is forced to deal with a series of weather systems which are linked, and therefore transition zones never easy to manage and time consuming. This is what largely explains why sailors always put more time in the west-east direction between New York and the Lizard, where – from east to west so – the game is to surf high speed trains transatlantic depressions. This record is also another program Francis Joyon this year. IDEC and is now on the right side of the Atlantic to put on stand-by in New York in the spring arrives. Another challenge … but not anticipate. For now, Joyon must complete its transatlantic journey there will be time tomorrow morning to get out the calculators!
British solo sailor, Alex Thomson has smashed the single-handed monohull transatlantic record, by more than 24 hours, crossing the finish line at Lizard Point, off Falmouth in Cornwall, in time to get back for the London Olympic Opening ceremony.
The 38 year old sailor crossed the line at 17:17 GMT (18:17 BST) setting the new time at 8 days 22 hours 8 minutes, beating the previous record, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, which had been held for 10 years.
“It has been a long few days,” said Alex. “The first half from New York was great with weather conditions in our favour, but things started to slow down the closer I got. But the wind has held out this morning and it’s so fantastic to have broken this record.”
Alex set sail from New York on July 17th at 19.09GMT to cover 2800 nautical miles in a quest to break the record for what is officially known as the ‘West to East Ambrose Lighthouse to Lizard Point Under 60ft Single-Handed Monohull Record, Male’, which sat at 10 days, 55 minutes and 19 seconds, and was set by Swiss sailor Bernhard Stamm 10 years ago.
His secondary aim was to get home in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in order to support Chairman and good friend, Sir Keith Mills.
“When I set off I had no idea if I was going to be able to do it. And it has been hard. Lack of sleep, broken instruments on the boat and constant exposure to the elements has really taken it out of me. But it’s such a good feeling to have beaten it by such a great margin,” said Alex.
But the record breaking achievement is only half of the story. Alex is in fact lining up to attempt to be the first Brit ever to win the gruelling single-handed round-the-world race, the Vendee Globe, leaving from France in November on board his 60ft monohull, HUGO BOSS. And this record breaking achievement puts him in good stead.
“This record attempt was also a training exercise for the Vendee Globe,” said Alex. “We felt this record attempt would put me under real pressure and stimulate race conditions and I have felt a real value in it.”
He is one of three British competitors who will take part in the non-stop, solo, unassisted round-the-world yacht race starting in Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on November 10th. Currently only 50% of attempts to complete the race have been successful in the race known as the ‘Everest of sailing’
The fourteen sailors aboard the Maxi trimaran Banque Populaire V just entered history of offshore racing by becoming the fastest men around the globe with crew, after 45 days 13 hours 42 minutes 53 seconds of sailing*. Loïck Peyron and his crew improved the reference time of the Jules Verne Trophy held by Groupama 3 since March 2010 by 2 days 18 hours 1 minute and 59 seconds.
Historical record for Banque Populaire !
Departed on November 22nd at 09:31:42 Paris time (08:31:42 GMT), after having crossed the imaginary line between Ushant (Finistère-France) and Lizard Point (southern tip of England), the Maxi Banque Populaire V crossed the finish line of the Jules Verne Trophy at 23:14:35 Paris time (22:14:35 GMT) this Friday. She undertook this sailing around the world in 45 days 13 hours 42 minutes 53 seconds days at an average speed of 26.51 knots, covering a total distance of 29 002 miles.
Launched in August 2008 in Lorient (Morbihan-France),the giant trimaran holding the colours of Banque Populaire has also established several referenced time on various partials officially listed by the WSSRC for her first world tour:
Equator / Equator record in 32 days, 11 hours, 51 minutes and 30 seconds
Indian Ocean crossing record (Cape Agulhas / South of Tasmania) in 8 days 7 hours 22 minutes and 15 seconds
Under the leadership of the skipper Loïck Peyron, Thierry Chabagny, Florent Chastel, Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, Kevin Escoffier, Emmanuel Le Borgne, Frédéric Le Peutrec, Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant, Ronan Lucas, Pierre-Yves Moreau, Yvan Ravussin, Xavier Revil, Brian Thompson, Juan Vila and onshore router Marcel van Triest, are the new holders of the Jules Verne Trophy*.
Loïck Peyron, skipper of the Maxi Banque Populaire V : The feeling from the guys onboard : Emotion and Happiness ! We have filled a good part of the contract! We will now appreciate our victory between us and will return in Brest tomorrow morning to share this beautiful story with everyone. Our memories are full of wonderful images: the departure, icebergs, albatrosses, the Kerguelen Islands… When you sail around the world in 45 days, you see many things. The only one we did not get is Cape Horn but this frustration is quickly forgotten with the record we now have in hands. We are very proud !
Brian Thompson : “Everyone is really excited on board and we are looking forward to seeing everybody tomorrow morning. This has been an incredible trip around the planet, almost a dream ride. And that is because of the quality of the boat, of the preparation and most of all to the incredible crew on board. I am very fortunate to have sailed with Loïck, the best all round multihull sailor there is, and the rest of the team that are so talented, industrious, dedicated, fun and welcoming to an English guy with schoolboy French! It feels absolutely fantastic. At the same time, to become the first Briton to sail around the world non-stop 4 times, is just amazing and feels very special”
JULES VERNE TROPHY
Start date and time : November 22nd 2011 at 09:31:42 Paris time (08:31:42 GMT)
Arrival date and time at Ushant: January 6th 2012 at 23:14:35 Paris time (22:14:35 GMT)
Distance: 29 002 miles
Average speed : 26.51 knots
New reference time on the Jules Verne Trophy* : 45 days 13 hours 42 minutes 53 seconds
Time difference with Groupama 3’s record in 2010: 2 days 18 hours 1 minute and 59 seconds
* Under the WSSRC approval (World Sailing Speed ??Record Council).
Loïck Peyron and his crew are expected at the Marina du Château, quai Jean-Francois La Perouse in Brest (France) at around 10:30am this Saturday, January 7th.
Since 12 :17 :30 (French time) this Friday, Loïck Peyron and his men are back in the Northern Hemisphere, 38 days 2 hours 45 minutes and 48 seconds * after leaving Ushant. With this outstanding performance, the Maxi Banque Populaire V not only writes a new distinction to his logbook, but also improves the partial Equator to Equator with a lead of 3 days 18 hours 24 minutes over Groupama 3 in 2010 but above all, faster than any other sailing boat on this race. A good sign for the fourteen sailors entering their final week at sea.
With this new partial shattered, the Maxi Banque Populaire V carries on falling records on her attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy. 32 days 11 hours 51 minutes and 30 seconds * after entering the southern hemisphere, the fourteen record’s hunters shattered the time set in 2005 by Bruno Peyron aboard Orange II, improving it by more than one day. Still enjoying mild conditions, the crew of the Maxi Banque Populaire V, by the voice of his skipper, savors the moment of the crossing: “We crossed the equator at high speed. We are sailing at 35 knots, on a sea almost flat, it’s really fun ! The boat does not suffer, and men even less. Everyone is excited, especially the fresh Cape Horners. Hello northern hemisphere, that’s not bad at all this record! It will now be increasingly difficult to beat it but still feasible and that’s the good news …”. A natural enthusiasm shared by Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, helmsman / trimmer on board, who joined today’s radio vacation : “We are in the northern hemisphere for a few minutes and it already seems like being on our usual playground. It’s been thirty-two days since we left the Northern Hemisphere, which roughly accounts for three quarters of the time in the South and one quarter in the North. It brings us closer to home, which is good. The sailing conditions are beautiful, the sea is completely flat and it is almost straight on the road. There are very little squalls, the nights are quiet, starry … we really encounter exceptional conditions and we could not ask for more, including the boat. The weather conditions enable us to break the record but our anxiety is coming from the technique. We have sailed 20,000 miles without making any pit stop, we must keep the equipment in good shape.”
For Brian Thompson, this passage to the North was even more particular: “I was lucky enough to be on the helm doing 35 knots as we counted down 0.02S, 0.01S, 0.01N!! The 3rd small bottle of Champagne we have carried was opened, and some of the bubbly nectar is first given to Neptune, to thank him for a safe passage through the Southern Seas..Then comes the saucisson and the Toblerone, all being shared between the crew and that God of the Sea.”
24,063 miles already in the wake
This return in the North is not the finish line and on board, we specifically know that even after 24 063 miles undergone smoothly, nothing is settled yet. Vigilance is still more than ever a must, as the final conditions for the final stretch ahead appears nicely. With a lead of 1 432 miles and three days advance on Groupama 3 around the same time, a certain serenity sets in, especially as the inter-tropical convergence zone is seen as particularly friendly as recalled Thierry Duprey du Vorsent “The Doldrums are not very active, and thanks to our western position, it should be easy to get through. This will be one of the first times I pass them without a transition zone of dead calm on a single board. Again, we are lucky. We will have to get dressed again in two or three days and get the fleeces and foul weather gears out again. But we will accept it more easily as the finish line won’t be far !”
A fighter named Banque Populaire V
With an average of 26.31 knots since leaving Ushant on November 21st, Loïck Peyron and his men have significantly reduced the time and distance, leaving their fans admiring. Rarely a boat will have scrolled through that amount of miles and still demonstrating such reliability. Qualities that the skipper did not fail to mention this afternoon: “Last night, around 6pm, we were off the coast of Recife in Brazil while we were still off Cape Horn less than a week ago. The Maxi Banque Populaire V is a unique fighter on the planet. We should return to Brest in a week and oddly, it promises to be the most week-long of this round the world course.” But before seeing the end of this last week, the fourteen men still have to compose with the North Atlantic sea before entering the great history of offshore sailing.
* subject to approval and ratification by the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council)
Yvan Ravussin Chef de quart, responsable composite
Brian Thompson Barreur/ Régleur
Pierre Yves Moreau Régleur, Responsable mécanique et hydraulique
Thierry Chabagny N°1/ Barreur/ Régleur, Responsable accastillage et voiles
Frédéric Le Peutrec Chef de quart
Emmanuel Le Borgne Barreur/ Régleur, Responsable médical
Thierry Duprey Du Vorsent Barreur/ Régleur, Responsable mécanique
Ronan Lucas N°1/ Régleur, Responsable sécurité
Jean-Baptiste Le Vaillant Chef de Quart, responsable voile
Kevin Escoffier Barreur/ Régleur, Responsable vidéo et structure
Xavier Revil Barreur/ Régleur, Responsable avitaillement à bord
Florent Chastel N°1/ Régleur, Responsable médical
Marcel Van Triest Routeur à terre
Cliquez ici pour visionner la cartographie (mises à jour toutes les heures)
Reference time of the Jules Verne Trophy
Groupama 3 (Franck Cammas) – 48 days 7 hours 44 minutes 52 seconds
Record to beat
To become the new record holder, the Maxi Banque Populaire V has to be back no later than Monday, January 9th 2012 at 16:15:34 GMT.
Lead / Delay at 4pm
1436.2 miles lead on the reference time
Sailing time since departure :
38 days 07 hours 47 minutes 26 seconds or 3 days 18 hours 24 minutes less than Groupama 3 in 2010.
Distance Ushant-Equator: crossed on the 28/11/2011 at 00:26:52 am, French time.
In 5d 14h 55mn 10s of navigation, Loïck Peyron and his 13 teammates realize the fastest time on the distance from Ushant.
Distance Ouessant-Equateur : le 28/11/2011 à 00h 26mn 52 sec, heure française.
En 5j 14h 55mn 10s de navigation, Loïck Peyron et ses 13 équipiers réalisent le meilleur temps sur la distance depuis Ouessant.
Distance Ushant – Cape of Good Hope: crossed on the 4/12/20 at 07:20 am, French time.
In 11 days 21 hours 48 minutes and 18 seconds, Loïck Peyron and his 13 teammates realize the fastest time over the distance established between Ushant and Cape of Good Hope, until then hold by Groupama 3 in 2008 in 13 days 06 hours 1 minute.
In 2010, Groupama took 14 days 13 hours 31 minutes and 43 seconds to reach the Cape of Good Hope, Banque Populaire V thus improves this time of 2 days 15 hours 43 minutes and 25 seconds.
Ushant – Cape Leeuwin: crossed on the 10/12/2011 at 9:29 am, French time.
In 17 days 23 hours 57 minutes and 18 seconds, Loïck Peyron and his 13 teammates realize the record for the distance established between Ushant and Cape Leeuwin, which was previously of 21 days 14 hours and 43 seconds in 2008 hold by Groupama on her first attempt.
In 2010, Groupama took 21 days 14 hours 21 minutes and 54 seconds to reach the Cape Leeuwin
Ushant – Cape Horn: crossed on the 23/12/2011 at 7:50:30, French time
The Maxi Banque Populaire V took 30 days, 22 hours, 18 minutes, 48 seconds since crossing the start line off Ushant to achieve this transition, a lead of more than one day on the reference time on the Jules Verne Trophy.
Pacific crossing time of the Maxi Banque Populaire V: 10 days 15 hours 7 minutes 15 seconds, or 1 day 20 hours 59 minutes 15 seconds longer than Orange II, who holds the record of this stretch in 8 days 18 hours 8 minutes.
Watching closely to weather forecasts for the past few days, Loïck Peyron and his men have decided to take advantage of the front that now stretches between Ireland and Portugal, taking a departure opportunity waited for the past month. By crossing the virtual start line between Ushant and the Lizard Point at 09h31min42s, the Maxi Banque Populaire V is undertaking the Jules Verne Trophy, for the second attempt of her history. “Light” for the warm-up, weather conditions should quickly gain in intensity in the Bay of Biscay, thus plunging the fourteen sailors directly at the heart of their oceanic subject. The stopwatch is on, along with a great adventure.
It was at 5.03pm, Monday 21st November, a month after mooring at the Port du Chateau in Brest, that Loïck Peyron and his men were finally able to give in to the urge to take off. In a relaxed atmosphere, illuminated by fourteen smiles, the Maxi Banque Populaire V has cast off with all the usual precautions in order to reach Ushant and to wait for a few hours, before setting off the timing of this famous Jules Verne Trophy. Ronan Lucas, director of Team Banque Populaire and bowman, summarized his satisfaction: “We have been waiting for this moment for long. We wanted it to happen earlier this year. We cannot wait to be in action rather than behind the computer trying to analyze if it goes or not! It is a relief. ”
“It is going to shake! »
At 09h31min42s this Tuesday, finding the optimal weather configuration over the Atlantic and in consultation with the strategic cell composed of Ronan Lucas and Juan Vila on board, and Marcel van Triest on shore, Loïck Peyron crossed the imaginary line between the Creac’h lighthouse situated on the Northwest tip of the Brittany island and Lizard Point, on the south west of Britain. The light conditions to get into the swing of this non-stop round the world won’t last for long and the menu should seriously get tougher for the sailors. Interviewed prior to departure, the Spanish navigator of Team Banque Populaire, detailed the situation announced over the Atlantic in the coming hours: «We have deeply analyzed weather files these days and everything seems to line up for now to reach the Equator and the Cape of Good Hope in good times. We should have standard conditions at Ushant, with about twenty knots, but it will it will quickly rise. Within four / five hours, we should reach thirty knots. If the weather files are accurate, we should have around forty knots in Cape Finisterre. It’s like every departure, we are looking for the wind and inevitably we will have to face waves and swell. It is going to shake. For the longer term, we are looking at the time at the Equator. For the moment it looks like five days and a half, hoping it stays that way, and if the files are confirmed in the coming days. After that, we look at a trend that could lead us to the Cape of Good Hope in thirteen days. ”
The game of compromise
Tough and wet, this entering should allow Loïck Peyron and his crew to negotiate the descent to the equator at first, then to South Africa, under these more than acceptable conditions. For his first appointment, out of his distinguished career, with the Jules Verne Trophy, the skipper likes the script and its pitfalls: “The weather conditions are favourable for now. The major trick will be to squeeze between the Azores High and Portugal and Morocco, to get as Western as possible to get a good angle with the low trade winds blowing now. The first matter is therefore the management of a strong wind to start with, followed by a light one after three days racing. Afterwards, it is the unknown and for the best! It’s a nice window, but it is never optimal, we must always compromise. What is interesting is that the time set by Franck Cammas and his crew does not have the best partial times. You can always try to improve all one after the other, which would be a good sign, but we can also be late for a while and catch up later. Banque Populaire V’s potential is greater than any other boat that has ever attempted the Jules Verne Trophy. It was designed for that. It already holds every offshore record on the planet. This is the only one missing! ”
Downwind, pushed by North / West stream, Maxi Banque Populaire V will then begin its journey around the world. Now stands a 21 760 miles challenge and a loop by the three Capes – Good Hope, Lizard and Horn. To write their names on the prestigious list of the Jules Verne Trophy and enter the offshore racing’s history, Loïck Peyron and his men will have to stop the WSSRC * timer before Monday, the 9th of January 2012 at 17h15min34. In the meantime, it is now time for sports and adventure and human performance.
*WSSRC : World Sailing Speed Record Council, organization that manages sailing records
Thomas Coville, skipper of Sodebo, crossed the start line today, Saturday 29 January 2011, at 11h07’28” UTC. To beat Francis Joyon’s record, he will have to be back in Brest by 28 March at 0h40’34” UTC
A week after Pascal Bidégorry’s crew set off on the Jules Verne Trophy, it’s over to Thomas Coville to head off to attack the rather different ‘solo’ round the world record aboard Sodebo. The skipper left the pontoon in Brest’s Port du Château shortly before 0800 UTC to cross the start line off Ushant, in front of Le Créac’h lighthouse, by late morning. His aim: to return to the same spot in under 57 days, 13 hours, 34 minutes and 6 seconds, the reference time set by Francis Joyon (Idec) in January 2008. The skipper has set off with “a good weather window for solo sailing and feels a sense of liberation at having taken the decision to set off. I’ve nurtured this moment for years. I’m heading off on this because I want to. The emotion stems from extracting yourself, making the switch from a landlubber to a sailor”.
Conditions at the start promise to be lively with a 25 knot NE’ly wind followed by fairly steep seas in the Bay of Biscay. If the forecasts are confirmed, the skipper could hold onto the NNE’ly air flow for a considerable time and even as far as the equator. As such, on the computer, Sodebo’s schedule is rather favourable. “This decision to set off was an easy one to make given the stability of the weather conditions”, admitted the Solo Atlantic record holder on the eve of his third round the world record attempt on this boat. “The weather models have been in agreement for several days and if conditions remain ‘vigorous’, the situation enables a quick and easy descent to the equator, which I could cross in about 7 days, which isn’t bad.”
Heading off again, the first victory
Since circumnavigating the globe alone aboard this same multihull (winter 2008/2009) when the record escaped his clutches by a little under two days, Thomas has gone on to win the crewed Jules Verne Trophy with Franck Cammas’ Groupama 3 (March 2010). He has also finished third in the Route du Rhum at the helm of Sodebo and completed a number of transatlantic crossings on this 32 metre trimaran which he has been constantly developing. “We built and designed Sodebo nearly three and a half years ago. We’re coming to maturity with this boat and the understanding I can have of it. Setting off tomorrow after having worked so hard is like a deliverance. I’m keen to make the most of what we’ve done. I also feel relieved of the weight of being able to get going on this as there are some winters that don’t have the perfect departure slot. Linking on from the Route du Rhum and the round the world with good weather conditions to set off in means that we’ve pulled off the first stage.”
“I know where I’m setting foot”
“When you set off for the first time, you have to begin by answering the question: “Am I capable of doing it?” “Having completed an initial solo round the world aboard a multihull allows me to know what you have to give of yourself and how; it’s a lever which inspires me to return to it. It’s up to me now to complete it in less time. In our various projects, we make attempts, we fail and we work so we can set out again. I could have moped about it and never returned to it, but I’m lucky enough to be able to do it and that’s how you give yourself the means to write some great stories.”
Last night ashore
At dinner time last night, the skipper of Sodebo admitted: “For the time being I’m busy retranscribing the figures for the routing and the strength or direction of the wind, in terms of manœuvres and the way Sodebo handles. I’m not yet thinking about my life aboard. I’m going to have to extract myself and that’s a delicate moment. I’m a father, a friend, I have a social and sentimental life and I have to suddenly enter into another world. I don’t know another exercise which requires 57 days of concentration. However, this evening, as long as I’m not kitted out in my boots and foulies, I’m still a landlubber.”
In Brest last night, his family, his friends, his team and of course his sponsor, rallied around him, but now Thomas is alone, alone for nearly two months. In an arctic cold, he’ll take up again with the stress of the multihull, which won’t leave him for eight weeks.