Fair winds, fine seas and an average speed of 22.8kts on Coville's first day at sea

A very fine first day’s sailing for Thomas Coville who is racking up the miles with the constancy of a metronome. 24 hours after leaving New York, the skipper of Sodeb’O has covered 546 miles and has a 192 mile lead over Francis Joyon’s time in 2005.

As forecast, Thomas Coville has benefited from relatively flat seas for the first 24 hours and a very steady 20 knot SW’ly. These conditions have enabled him to sail under full mainsail and small gennaker for the majority of the time. During the night, he reduced the sail area a little and hoisted the solent due to a large amount of shipping and a heavy fog which prevented the skipper from seeing either the top of the mast or the bow of the boat.

Since he has got into deeper waters, the famous fog generated by the Nantucket banks has naturally lifted. Not only can the skipper see the horizon but he can also be seen and pinpointed, which will enable him to get a little rest. This will be very welcome as Thomas has only slept for short periods over the past 24 hours, with just two 20 minute catnaps. Over the next few hours, these stable conditions will last and the maxi trimaran may be able to round Cape Race by the end of Friday – the cape is the most E’ly point of the North American continent and the last taste of land prior to the Atlantic crossing. Once there it will be a big run across the North Atlantic.

To beat the record time achieved by Francis Joyon, Sodeb’O will have to cross Lizard Point (SW tip of England) before Tuesday 15 July, 1545 UT. It is worth noting that Francis set off relatively slowly, but by the end had a perfect ride of 6 days 4 hours, one minute and 37 seconds – crowned by a solo 24 hour record of 540 miles on the second day.

Since then, the 24 hour record has developed. It has been beaten several times, notably by Francis himself. The current record stands at 619.3 miles, which Thomas has held since January 2008.