Just days after his arrival in New York, Thomas Coville has announced his stand-by for an attempt to break his own solo North Atlantic record (New York – Lizard Point). Objective: to cover the 2,980 miles which separate the Ambrose Light and Lizard Point (South-West tip of England) in less than 5 days 19 hours 29 minutes and 20 seconds.
On Friday 26th June, Thomas Coville and his Maxi-Trimaran Sodeb'O arrived in New York after a ten day delivery trip in crewed configuration. Keen not to waste any time, the crew and skipper made the most of the opportunity to put in a series of tacks at the foot of the buildings around Manhattan, the Hudson River and the East River as far as Brooklyn Bridge… “We all have the dream of leaving New York, which gives the transatlantic a fantastic added dimension” admits Thomas.
The very next day, the Sodeboys took over the 32 metre Maxi Trimaran to get her into record configuration. The shore crew have lightened the boat by 30 kg and removed the propeller shaft. At the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic, routers Christian Dumard and Richard Silvani (Météo France) are on the look-out for the slightest hint of a depression system, which would provide a favourable weather window to beat the record. “The North Atlantic in less than six days isn't superhuman. You can even perform the crossing in under five days single-handed with a good weather forecast; for that you have to hook onto a system and not let go” explains Thomas. “It's a playing field that I'm very familiar with. It's also the most amusing and the most impressive record” recalls the skipper of Sodeb'O with a smile.
On 15th July 2008 Thomas Coville became the new Solo Transatlantic Record holder. Setting out from New York on 9th July 2008 the skipper covered 2,925 miles at the average speed of 20.97 knots.
This year, Thomas has one objective which he describes as just a week's work as it consists of making Lizard Point (South West tip of England) in less than 5 days 19 hours 29 minutes and 20 seconds. “With the boat we have today, we can do better than last year. In 2008, over the last few hours, we were conservative with the weather forecast. We knew we were going to beat it if we didn't break. We think we're going to take more risks this year” explains Thomas.
The Maxi Trimarans' North Atlantic Meet
The Maxi-Trimarans Banque Populaire V skippered by Pascal Bidegory and Groupama III skippered by Franck Cammas are also set to rendez-vous in Gateway Marina to the South of Brooklyn. Similarly these giants intend to line-up at the Ambrose Light in a bid to tackle the North Atlantic Record this summer, but there will be one fundamental difference: the two skippers will be sailing with 11 sailors on Banque Populaire and 9 on Groupama. “This year, we're creating a competition against the clock with a number of candidates” says a thrilled Thomas. However, it's worth noting that though the three maxi multihulls will be attempting to break the same record, there's nothing to say that they'll set off with the same weather window. Indeed, the conditions required aren't necessarily the same for a solo sailor or a crew.