Bigger faster new boat for global solo record setter Thomas Coville
When, last December, French skipper Thomas Coville finally fulfilled his 12-year quest to become the outright fastest solo round the world sailor we could all have forgiven him for hanging up his sea-boots and heading out on the lecture circuit.
However, any thoughts of retirement appear to be far from the 48-year old's mind. Instead, he is formulating a plan to build a bigger and even faster boat to be launched in 2018.
Coville completed his record-setting lap of the planet in under 50 days - 49 days three hours seven minutes and 38 seconds, to be precise – over eight days quicker than the previous record time.
When he crossed the finish line off the French island of Ushant on Christmas Day he was exhausted and near-delirious from sleep deprivation after seven weeks living in the exposed cockpit of his gigantic trimaran for fear of the boat suddenly racing out of control without him on deck.
Now seemingly fully recovered, Coville is clearly far from ready to turn his back-on-round the world record-setting and recently announced he and his long-term sponsor, Sodebo, will be building a brand new, even faster maxi-trimaran.
The new boat will be 32 metres (104-feet) and is expected to cost circa 10 million Euro (10.7 million Dollars). It is targeted for launch in 2018 with the aim of competing in a solo ‘Ultim Class’ race around the world from Brest, France in 2019.
Still very much in the planning stage no final decisions have been made on who will design or build it. Top names like Vincent Lauriot-Prévost (VPLP), Dr. Martin Fisher, (currently at Groupama Team France) and Renaud Banuls (Banuls Design) are associated with the project. Rather than committing to a single design house, Coville says he would prefer to adopt a consultative approach, incorporating input for a range of such star designers.
The new Sodebo Ultim will be partly funded by the sale of Coville’s current record setting trimaran. The existing boat is a heavily modified version of Olivier de Kersauson’s 2010 Jules Verne Trophy winning Geronimo which Coville hopes to sell for around five million Euro.
for around five million Euro.
Several of Coville’s fellow French ocean racing heroes have also joined the Ultim movement. 2012-13 Vendee Globe winner, Francois Gabart launched the 30 metre MACIF last year and both Sebastien Josse (Gitana) and reigning Vendee Globe winner, Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) have Ultims scheduled for launch this year.
For more on the Ultim Class read our previous interviews with Thomas Coville and Francois Gabart:
[Main Image: Jean-Marie Liot/DPPI/Sodebo]