Thomas Coville is about to finish his circumnavigation, but without the record

French sailor Thomas Coville, who set off from Ushant, France, on Saturday 29 January to try and beat the record of countryman Francis Joyon for a solo round-the-world voyage, has sadly failed. Read previous story here.

Joyon’s record still stands at 57 days, 13 hours and 34 minutes, which he set in 2005. In 2008, Coville missed it by two days. Since then he has worked on his boat Sodeb’O, making her faster and stronger. Finally in January this year, he thought he had a chance.

However, the weather had other ideas. It was against him in the Pacific, but by the time he rounded Cape Horn he had caught up much lost time and the record was within his grasp. However, once again luck – or rather bad luck – played its part and the weather was not on his side.

The following statement from Coville’s blog records his finish as he conceded defeat:

“For the last section of the course, time turns against the record hunter. The desired nudge in the right direction from a not very conciliatory weather doesn’t happen. The anticyclone is entirely barring the way towards Europe, sprawled from one side of the Atlantic Ocean to the other, forcing Thomas to further extend his course and causing him to carve out a path to the NW whilst Francis was able to head directly towards the Azores. The lows are rolling across very far – too far – to the North and the die is cast. There won’t be a miracle. For his third attempt and his second complete solo circumnavigation aboard Sodebo, Thomas no longer has a chance of making it back to Ushant in time. For over 50 days, the sailor has put up a creditable performance; he has never given up or shied away from any kind of difficulty. Like all athletes, he has overcome the hurdles one by one. Along with his routers, he has carved out a fabulous route on the world map.”

Thomas Coville is due to arrive off Ushant sometime tomorrow – Thursday 31 March.