The maxi-trimaran Sodeb'O has a deficit of two days and 18 hours to make up

At midnight on Saturday (13 December) Thomas Coville’s Sodeb’O crossed the longitude of Cape Leeuwin after 25 days and 9 hours at sea, but with a deficit of 2 days 18 hours in relation to Francis Joyon’s record time.

“There’s been an icy rain for hours and neither my shouts nor my tears change a thing,” explained Thomas. All of a sudden it stops. The boat stalls. The speedos, which have been in the red start spinning as the Southerly wind kicks in. That’s what we were waiting for!”

“This wind is coming straight off the ice floe and it nips at my wet fingers. I run forward and switch the immense sail to the right side of the stays and then go back to the man?uvres and sheet her in like my life depended on it. All of a sudden the boat kicks into life again. You feel her sit up and get going again. You recognise this behaviour and the apparent wind created by the speed whistles past your cheek. We’re off! You have to believe in it again.”

Thomas Coville hasn’t disguised his desire to escape the Indian Ocean, and still a few miles from Tasmania tonight he won’t have any regrets about leaving it behind him.

He has lost time. It is not drastic but it is annoying, especially as the skipper has worked hard to make up part of his deficit midway through the week. Even though he knows he’s quick – very quick – he knows he is powerless against time: “I feel a competitve rage once again, mixed with the vanity of knowing that time is trickling.”