Thomas Coville : "the boat will become lighter"
Jules Verne Trophy, Rum, Atlantic and round the word record
vendredi 15 janvier 2010 –
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You have to finish what you set out to do so 2010 will begin with another stand-by for Groupama 3, the trimaran skippered by Franck Cammas. On board Thomas will take up the role of helmsman once again, for a fresh attempt at the crewed round the world record (Jules Verne Trophy). Whilst awaiting the boat’s return to Brest and a favourable weather window, Thomas has been able to make the most of his time by immersing himself in the refit of the Maxi Trimaran Sodeb’O.
“In fact we’ve been able to make the most of a fairly tame 2009 in sporting terms to look in depth at how the boat is evolving, with particular emphasis on installing foils, which is something that has been titillating me since her launch in June 2007. To put it ‘simply’, by adding foils, this has repercussions throughout the rest of the boat as it greatly affects how the boat handles and how she’s balanced. This ultimately means that I’ll have to modify the way I sail her. As such we have to anticipate how the automatic pilots react and rethink the sail plan”.
So why the foils you may ask ? The appeal and the gains must be substantial to undergo seven months of study and a large technical refit ? “With the foils” Thomas explains, “the boat will become lighter, more airborne and faster. Today, when the boat goes fast, it buries in the water. With the foils you reduce the wetted surface area”.
Completely revamped, the skipper and his team have launched into this vast structural development because they know all to well that the competition on the water will be fierce in 2010. This includes those participating in the Route du Rhum 2010, which is now open to what is called the G Class. This class of giants who are benefiting from the new Open rule to get the very best from the latest technical innovations are reminiscent of what a certain Eric Tabarly was able to do in the seventies with the design of a foiling trimaran (Pen Duick VII rechristened Paul Ricard).
“With John Levell, Martin Fischer and Benoît Cabaret, Sodeb’O’s architects, we studied all the different foil shapes ; flat ones, short ones, S-shaped ones, as well as the structure itself. It took more time than I’d envisaged but it was important as it’s the biggest development in the trimaran since her launch” continues Thomas Coville.
To test this major development before the Route du Rhum, Thomas Coville has opted to make a fresh attempt at the Discovery Route course between Cadiz (Spain) and San Salvador (Bahamas) from 3rd May. In so doing he’ll naturally try to snatch back the record set last year by Francis Joyon. “The reason I’ve opted for this course is that it’s a full scale test run, along a route which is very reminiscent of the course in the Route du Rhum that I’ll be tackling a few months later. However, the return trip will be with a crewed configuration so as to test the automatic pilots”.
To sum up the programme for 2010, Thomas is on stand-by with the crew of Groupama 3 for another attempt at the crewed round the world record. This attempt will be followed by two transatlantics with the Maxi Trimaran Sodeb’O, one of which will be sailed single-handed along the Discovery Route course. After that there will be the much awaited Route du Rhum, the start of which will take place on 31st October in Saint Malo. The year won’t end there though because on returning the boat to Brest in crewed configuration, Thomas is keen to try and set a new time sailing solo around the world on a trimaran with foils. “We did have to think twice about whether or not to head off with exactly the same boat. It’s a completely different story with the foils : more stress maybe but with a greater speed which, according to the routing we’ve run, should enable us to brush aside the meteorological vagaries”.
“Passion is what drives businesses and man. It’s passion which is the driving force behind the enterprise and makes it win through” affirm the three co-presidents of Sodeb’O in a single voice as partner to Thomas Coville for what has been over 10 years. “Sponsorship is a long term commitment where passion creates enjoyment and fire in your belly. The results, both on land and at sea, come with the accumulation of experiences and with maturity. In sponsorship, as is the case in business, you have to accept this in order to gain the notion of risk” conclude the three women who are spurred on by the certainty that “beyond ideas and concepts, passion is the driving force behind all projects.”
Info presse www.sodebo-voile.com
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