Thomas Coville takes third place in the ninth edition of the race, finishing 23hrs 58min 24secs behind winner Franck Cammas

Drained, disappointed, visibly hurting but far from broken Thomas Coville secured third place in the ninth edition of the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale finishing 23hrs 58min 24secs behind Franck Cammas (Groupama 3).

More than the two first skippers, the last few days of the race were cruel to Coville, losing out second to Joyon only yesterday morning, suffering from his northerly approach and some long spells in light winds over the previous 36 hours. He finally broke the line off Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe at 16:15:11 CET Wednesday, 10 November 2010.

Arrival of Thomas Coville (french):

After crossing the line Coville said that he had spent some hours during the final few days of this race, once he realised victory was out of his reach, replaying and re-running his choices and options through the race.

But the Sodebo solo skipper was clear that his northerly routing, the opposite to that of Cammas and Joyon, was the more aggressive option which would either pay out for him or lose by a bigger margin. He admitted that two days ago when he and his routing team, with a 200 miles deficit on Cammas, saw an outside chance to attack again but the stake on the table was the second position. It did not pay.

Certainly he said it is a result which it will take him some time to feel good about. “I was always looking to win.” he said.

But his choice of the northern routing rather than fighting head to head down the southerly routing against Cammas – who he sailed with as part of the ten man crew on Groupama 3’s Jules Verne round the world record triumph – was directly influenced by the need to do something different, knowing the strengths of Cammas and his tri, the most powerful in the race.

The Facts:
The elapsed time for Sodebo is 10 days 3hrs 13mins 11secs.
His average speed is 17.58 kts for the distance he sailed of 4275 miles.
Over the theoretical course distance of 3539 miles Thomas Coville’s average speed is 14.55kts.

Thomas Coville commented:
“When we made a choice a few days ago when we were 200 miles behind Franck and there was shift which offered us chance to get inside of him. But we knew that if it did not work we could lose second place. But I prefer to attack all the time, right to the end. It is an attitude I hold to the end. That is the attitude we had with Sodebo with this Route du Rhum, I am a real fan of the philosophy of Malinovsky. The hardest thing of all is to see that you can not win.

“Actually I was never looking for second or third, I was always looking at ways to get first. A few days ago we had only one tiny chance to cut the corner and go inside the circle, to attack Franck again and we realised that there was no win there and we lost a lot. For sure trying to win cost me second, for sure. I don’t care whether it is second or third. I was only interested in first.

Close to the Azores the mainsail halyard broke. The mainsail literally felt on the deck. On an Ultime with a 35 meters mast, that usually means an abandon.

The first time I went up the mast I could not go further than 30 meters but that was fine to go on sailing with one reef in the weather conditions I had at that time.

I tried two other times but every time I was going further up than the top of the mainsail I was flying everywhere. I lost the headlight in a shock. I was in the dark – no moon – with no light, I could not see anything and ended up wondering how I would manage to go down. I would not wish to my worst enemy to be in that situation.

I was really happy Franck decided to be on the start line. He’s a beautifull winner, and has a very good team. All my congratulations.”

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