After shattering the singlehanded Round the World record, Thomas Coville made a triumphant entrance into Brest Harbour this Monday morning.
Cheered by several thousand enthusiastic spectators, Thomas Coville and the Sodebo team were able to share this historic record with the crowd before responding to a Q&A session with the press. Relive the highlights of what has been a day of great human and sporting richness.
Statements from Thomas during the press conference:
“What I’d like us to retain from this record, is not necessarily the 49 days three hours, above all it’s the journey. I’ve fallen, I’ve picked myself up, I’ve dared. It’s ten years of work and a dream that has proven to be very hard to realise. But it’s a dream that I’ve experienced and that lives in me.”
‘When we bought Sodebo, the boat Géronimo was here in Brest on the Quai du Commerce and she was a wreck. And at the point where we launched into this story, converting Geronimo into the current Sodebo, I don’t think many people believed we would end up creating the machine we have managed to make today.
The last night aboard:
‘The shore crew and I came together yesterday evening after I crossed the finish line. They climbed aboard and every reaction from the team was very touching and a reflection of the spirit of this highly eclectic team. I have a very, very fine team around me, which we’ve gradually shaped with Sodebo. Today my entourage comprises people that I have chosen, whom I like very much and who are primarily very great professionals.”
‘Last night I treated myself to the luxury of four hours sleep in a row. You simply cannot imagine what that means. In this instance, you return to the sleep of children where when you get off to sleep you have nothing else in your head other than the fact that you’re going to sleep. You don’t have an adult’s concerns cast upon you. You sleep a true sleep and it’s a sleep the likes of which you haven’t had for 30 years.”
‘There was no rhythm to my sleep at all whilst I was racing. I never managed to get into any kind of routine with my sleep.”
About sailing and the notion of a record:
‘As a little boy, I was more of an observer and I was contemplative and very admiring as soon as I was in the middle of nowhere. I always needed and enjoyed being outdoors. Later the appeal was all about the exploration and pioneering aspect. And on the scale of the record, the notion of a pioneer, of doing something singular and unique for the first time, is something that has had a strong impact on my being since I was a kid.”
‘Some people value that in another form but on a personal level I’ve found that sport could express what I was. Added to that, in sailing, there’s a way of expressing yourself in crewed or singlehanded configuration, over a long period… It’s synonymous with an ability to be able to find what best corresponds with your singular expression.’
‘It’s true to say that on record attempts, the notion of competition in relation to another is lacking and it was something I wondered about. However, what’s fabulous about a record, is the aspect of setting the bar higher, as Lavillenie (French pole vaulting champion) does today. It’s this notion that fascinates me. I think that in the life of an athlete, a record is pretty rewarding.”
‘The intelligence involved in maneuvering this type of boat singlehanded is not just a question of physique, you also have to be smart. Knowing how to benefit from the swell to help tack the clew of the gennaker enables you to save time and energy. And the more experienced you are the more capable you are of doing it. In this round the word, I sailed as much as I did in crewed configuration. I don’t think I’ve made any fewer manœuvres than I would have if there’d been more of us aboard. The upshot of that is that we’re not far off what we can achieve in crewed configuration.’
by Sodebo Ultim