At 16h 57mn 30s GMT this 25 December 2016, Thomas Coville crossed the finish line situated some six miles offshore of Le Créac’h lighthouse on the island of Ushant (Finistère), to complete the singlehanded round the world race against the clock under sail aboard a multihull, the large trimaran Sodebo Ultim’.
In so doing, he set a new singlehanded record in a time of 49 days 3 hours 7 minutes and 38 seconds (subject to approval by the WSSRC), improving on the previous record set by Francis Joyon by 8 days 10h 26 mn and 28s. Thomas covered 28,400 miles at a remarkable average speed of 24.10 knots (52,596 kilometres at 44km/h).
In the half-light of the remains of a day obscured by a mist that totally enveloped the cliffs of the Breton island of Ushant, the 48-year old skipper put in two last gybes (change of tack with the wind on the stern, which is a manoeuvre as technical as it is physical) before finally enjoying deliverance. Right till the last, he drove his 31-metre long, 21-metre wide trimaran at an infernal pace, sparing no effort in manoeuvring his massive boat as if he was sailing fully crewed. Along the way, the solo sailor secured the third best time around the world, whether it be contested in singlehanded or crewed configuration (1).
On 6 November 2016 at 13:49 GMT, Thomas set sail on his fifth attempt at breaking the record set by Francis Joyon in January 2008 of 57 days and 13 hours. This performance was quite simply exceptional at the time. The skipper of the trimaran Idec greatly improved on the record held up to that point by Briton, Ellen MacArthur. In fact, it’s worth noting that there are only three people in the world to have dared to attack the singlehanded, non-stop, unassisted round the world record aboard a multihull: Francis Joyon, Ellen MacArthur and Thomas Coville.
After seven weeks at a furious pace, Thomas Coville has pulled off a crazy gamble: singlehandedly driving his 31-metre long and 21-metre wide trimaran equipped with a 35-metre high mast carrying up to 680 square metres of sail area, to become the fastest man around the world in solo configuration.