- In 49 days he sailed around the world alone
- One-handed circumnavigator Thomas Coville became a legend
- Gigantic waves threw the trimaran around
- Twelve years on the hunt for the world record
- "Sometimes I had blood in my mouth"
In 49 days he sailed around the world alone
This is insane: Thomas Coville circumnavigated the world in 49 days, three hours, seven minutes and 38 seconds
The French extreme sailor Thomas Coville set a fabulous world record single-handedly. Even French President Hollande bowed to this sensational achievement.
A.On the Quai de Malbert in the port of Brest, the flurry of flashlights did not want to end. In the midst of thousands of fans, hundreds of press representatives, photographers and TV cameras, Thomas Coville rubbed his tired but shining eyes.
Again and again he had to wipe the tears of joy from his face, at times he lacked words. "It’s just awesome," stammered the new French hero in the first storms of enthusiasm. "Its magical. Fantastic!"
Coville is the fastest single-handed circumnavigator. To get to the destination of his dreams, he had to pass the three big capes – the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leuwin and Cape Horn – and not only defy storms with wind speeds of 40 knots and waves as high as a house, but also the isolation and lack of sleep withstand.
One-handed circumnavigator Thomas Coville became a legend
In an amazing 49 days, three hours, seven minutes and 38 seconds, he circled the globe on the “Sodebo Ultim”, a 31-meter-long and 21-meter-wide projectile from a trimaran. He was eight days and ten hours faster than the previous world record holder, his compatriot Francis Joyon.
The fact that Coville broke the 50-day barrier makes it a legend in one fell swoop, and not just in France. "In England they would knight him," wrote Mark Turner, executive director of the Volvo Ocean Race, in his congratulations.
Thomas Coville on board the gigantic trimaran "Sodebo Ultim"
Source: AFP / Getty Images
Former record holder Francis Joyon, who is currently chasing the Jules Verne trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the world with his team on the “Idec”, sent congratulations befitting his class: “Bravo, Thomas! He set up a great time and navigated the circumnavigation perfectly. Bravo for his performance and his persistence! "
A look at the annals confirms how outstanding Colville’s performance is. The first circumnavigator Joshua Slocum needed between 1895 and 1898 with his eleven-meter-long “spray” in several stages three years and two months for his adventurous journey over a total of 46,000 nautical miles. A year later he published his travelogue entitled “Sailing Alone Around the World”, which inspired generations of sailors.
No solo sailor has been so fast before him: Coville was eight days, ten hours, 26 minutes and 28 seconds faster than the previous record holder Francis Joyon
Source: AFP / Getty Images
The first non-stop circumnavigation of the world was achieved by the Briton Robin Knox-Johnston from 1968 to 1969. With the "Suhaili" he completed the route of the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race in 312 days. Since then, solo sailors and crews have consistently set new records.
Gigantic waves threw the trimaran around
It took Coville a good sixth of Knox-Johnston’s time. On Facebook, a fan said he was “eggs made of steel” and the French President praised an “achievement full of courage”. Experts doubt that the sensational record can be beaten in the foreseeable future.
For this, Coville has often risked his life and endured hair-raising situations at sea. In the Indian Ocean gigantic peaks of waves tossed his trimaran around like a toy. “You have to accept that sometimes you sail underwater“Said Colville. "The ‘Sodebo’ is big, but in the valleys of ten-meter waves, she is like a model boat."
Glistening sea: Thomas Coville’s circumnavigation of the world did not always go as smoothly as it did here. In the Indian Ocean he had to deal with waves ten meters high
Source: AFP / Getty Images
In addition, the trimaran has been around for a few years. When Coville bought the boat four years ago to turn it into a racing machine, it was in very poor condition. The previous owner hadn’t used it for six years, and the renovation work took 14 months to complete. The main hull has been shortened and tailored entirely to the requirements of one-handed operation. The weight of the trimaran could be reduced by a whole seven tons.
Twelve years on the hunt for the world record
For the French, the record run was not the first attempt to set a new record. He only triumphed on the fifth attempt. Thomas Coville was on the hunt for the world record for twelve years, but failed four times. His equipment failed twice and he missed the finish line twice.
Some had already written off him as a tragic hero, but his long-time sponsor Sodebo, a manufacturer of frozen pizza, believed in the Rennes-born exceptional sailor despite all the setbacks and remained loyal to the down-to-earth athlete. This, too, is part of the success story of Thomas Coville: He always refused to throw in the towel and kept getting up when he was on the ground.
Record collector: Coville had already set new records before this current world record. So he had set a new record from the equator to the equator. The route h…it was completed in 35 days, 21 hours, 38 minutes and 6 seconds
Source: Lloyd Images
The fact that Coville has achieved something superhuman can also be seen in the comparison with the Jules Verne Trophy, which is awarded to the fastest sailing teams. Loïck Peyron and his “Banque Populaire 5” team have held the record for the team’s fastest circumnavigation since 2012.
Four years ago it was 14 men who circled the globe on the classic route along the three capes in 45 days, 13 hours, 42 minutes and 53 seconds. It only took Thomas Coville three and a half days longer all by himself.
"Sometimes I had blood in my mouth"
In view of the forces acting on the trimaran with its 35 meter high mast and its up to 680 square meter sail area, this is a monumental achievement. “Physically, I couldn’t have pushed my limits further,” says Coville. "Sometimes when I stowed the 150-kilogram, spray-soaked sails, I had blood in my mouth when I moved them centimeter by centimeter."
At the festivities in Brest, the well-known French deep sea adventurer Olivier de Kersauson summed up what the new superstar among French sea heroes has achieved: “There is nothing in the world that comes close to this exceptional achievement. It requires total concentration, the work is extremely brutal. That is what makes what has been achieved so great. If you make a mistake on such a multihull, then you are dead. "
Coville made no mistake, he is as alive as never in his life. And his record is for the foreseeable future the measure of all things for solo circumnavigators.
Thomas Coville is celebrated on his return
Source: pa / dpa
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