Thomas COVILLE was forced to abandoned his attempt on the solo round the world record attempt after discovering serious damage to one his crash boxes, moments after bettering the solo 24-hour distance record.
Exactly 5 minutes after Sodeb'O bettered the solo 24-hour distance record, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC), whilst crossing the Kerguelen Islands, Thomas COVILLE (FRA) climbed on deck to discover he had lost the crash box on the starboard side of his giant trimaran. While it is too early to say whether this is due to an impact or not, COVILLE, who yesterday saw two icebergs several hundred meters long, found that there were growlers - chunks of ice floating between water - around the boat. A sort of bumper, the crash box is there to avoid breaking the vessel upon impact. A similar problem occurred on Orange II during its first attempt at the outright round the world record in 2004.
The trimaran is currently diverted to Cape Town, South Africa, 1,300 miles away.
COVILLE must be especially devastated as he had just demonstrated the potential of Sodeb'O at 0:45 UTC, by bettering the solo 24 hour distance record. Francis JOYON (FRA) had recently set a new mark (the record stood at 610.45 nm) during his 19th day at sea on his own solo round the world record attempt, covering 616.07nm between 15:00 UTC on 10-11 December (subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council WSSRC). COVILLE bettered this by over 3 miles, covering 619.3nm at an average speed of 25.8 knots. COVILLE recorded his time a new record during his 20th day at sea, in the same area of the Indian Ocean as when JOYON posted his time, also with a similiar weather pattern, with Sodeb'O riding in front of a depression.
The Record To Beat
Record: Longest Distance Run in 24 Hours, Singlehanded
Skipper: Yvan BOURGNON (FRA)
Dates: 6-7 August 2006
Distance: 610.45 nm
Average Speed: 25.76 knots
The Record To Beat
Record: Round the World, non-stop, singlehanded
Skipper: Ellen MACATHUR (GBR)
Dates: 28 November 2004-7 February 2005
Elapsed time: 71 days, 14 hours, 18 minutes and 33 seconds
Distance: 21,760 nm
Average Speed: 12.66 knots
Trimaran Sodeb'O - www.sodebo-voile.com
World Sailing Speed Record Council - www.sailspeedrecords.com