JULIO VERNE TROPHY
THOMAS COVILLE , LIFE AT 40 KNOTS: LAST DAY IN THE SOUTH ATLANTIC?
Sodebo Ultim 3, launched from Friday night on a long sprint to the Indian Ocean, emerges from a memorable Saturday day: Thomas Coville and his crew covered 870 miles between Saturday and Sunday morning in 24 hours (1,611 km at 36, 2 knots on average), very close to the absolute record of 24 hours (908.2 miles by Banque Populaire V in 2009). His lead on the Idec Sport table has increased even further, by 613 miles this Sunday at 8 a.m.
What a day ! Between Saturday and Sunday morning, Sodebo Ultim 3 posted the second all-time performance in 24 hours, the trimaran having “swallowed” 869.8 miles, averaging 36.2 knots. In the history of the 24-hour record, only Banque Populaire V performed better with its North Atlantic record in the summer of 2009, at 908.2 miles (37.84 knots). Suffice it to say that if the “Sodeboys” continue at this rate, they could hang a first record on their hunting table.
Whoever says the average is 36 knots says that the peaks exceed 40, as Thomas Rouxel explained on Saturday night, when the Sodebo Ultim 3 had just passed under the island of Gough Island: “Since our last maneuver , we have not been below 35 knots, we even did an hour above 40. I had never experienced this before, only these boats allow it, in particular conditions: there, It is in front of a depression, which it allows us to have strong wind and flat sea, it is quite exceptional. ”
Under these conditions, the automatic pilot was used: “At these speeds and when reaching a crosswind, the pilot governs better than the man; especially that at times, he could not see at 50 meters, continues the 38-year-old helmsman / adjuster. We take care of the set-up to get the most out of the boat: we give ourselves an ideal angle of heel and try to adhere to it with the sheet and the mainsail car. If the wind dies down, we can also adjust the jib settings. ”
At these speeds, life on board is quite sporty: “It moves a lot, it makes a lot of noise, the boat’s movements are quite violent, it is difficult to move, you have to behave all the time. This afternoon I prepared a small pasta dish for the community, it was a little adventure, I managed not to burn myself! Despite this, the eight sailors managed to fall asleep: “As we are very tired, we managed to fall asleep and sleep well, we have good mattresses and good sleeping bags”, confirms Thomas Rouxel.
Who has some well-watered memories of the Great South: “The main ones are the big storms, like the one we had in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race on the Cape Horn stage (aboard Dongfeng Team Race). We had 35 knots of medium wind and a swell of 10 meters, which gave some impressive images, especially since in the Volvo 65, you are all the time out of direction and adjusting, you are under the waves. “That is less the case of Sodebo Ultim 3:” We look for flat seas and winds of 20 knots; According to today’s forecast, these are conditions that should hold almost to Cape Leeuwin. ”
And Thomas Rouxel concluded: “Going around the world in an Ultim trimaran is the dream of every sailor; It goes relatively fast, 40 days at sea, with very good “comfort” compared to a Volvo 65, where you are under water all the time, or even an Imoca which is a very tough boat. It’s the best, I’m happy to go back to these places in Sodebo Ultim 3, even if it’s still the South: we will be cold, we will be wet all the time because the humidity is 100%, there will constantly be condensation in the containers, it is still relative comfort . “