Coville has started his single-handed record attempt to cross the Atlantic faster than Francis Joyon

Thomas Coville crossed the official start line for the single-handed North Atlantic record attempt today, Wednesday 9th July at 07:47 local time, 11:47 UT. The 32m maxi trimaran set off in a 16 knot southwesterly air flow which is set to fill rapidly to around 20 knots. “I am really keen to set off, I’ve been waiting for this for years” Coville said yesterday.

The maxi trimaran Sodeb’O left Brooklyn Harbour on Tuesday, shortly before 1800 hours (local NY time). In order to avoid putting in some tacks, Sodeb’O remained under tow the whole night. Aboard, a crew of five people kept watch to enable Thomas to sleep and concentrate as he awaited the green light from his routers.

To beat the record set by Francis Joyon in 2005, Thomas will have to cross the Atlantic at a hellish pace of less than 6 days, 4 hours, 1 minute and 37 seconds. “Maintaining the speed of the maxi Sodeb’O at an average of over 19.75 knots for 2,980 miles for nearly 6 days remains an achievable performance” commented the skipper, who is the 24hr speed record holder aboard his maxi Sodeb’O, having covered 619.3 miles at an average of 25.8 knots.

As regards the weather forecast: “The southwesterly air flow at the start will take Thomas as far as Cape Race to the SW of Newfoundland on Friday afternoon (UT). A low front stretching over from Canada will see the wind fill in slightly after the passage of Newfoundland on Saturday night. It is with this same low that he is set to complete the course” explain Richard Silvani and Christian Dumard, routers to Sodeb’O.

As far as the ice is concerned, which is something all skippers dread, this has almost totally disappeared from the course. “Throughout the record I’m going to be like a well supported and highly guided tightrope walker. You spend your time on the tracks just as you do on a ski piste, which has already been skied and you stay on that track for as long as you can” explained Coville before the start.