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Fast solo sail shatters speed record

In the blinding speed of five days, 19 hours, 29 minutes and 20 seconds, French sailor Thomas Coville snatched the North Atlantic multihull speed record from fellow countryman Francis Joyon, according to a recent press release.

On Tuesday, Coville’s 104-foot maxi trimaran Sodeb ‘O crossed the finish line in dense fog at 9:17 a.m. at Lizard Point on the southwest coast of England. Coville’s team left the starting line July 10 at Ambrose Light in New York City’s BrooklynHarbor. Joyon’s previous record was six days, four hours, one minute and 37 seconds, according to the report.

Joyon was very supportive of Coville’s success, according to a report on Coville’s Web site. He describes in his native language how, when he set the record in 2005, the journey required much patience and hard work, and how Coville deserves credit for his accomplishment.

Coville had to maintain an average speed of more than 19.75 knots for the 2,980-mile journey. In order to make Sodeb ‘O lighter, the diesel tank was emptied and the engine’s propeller shaft was dismantled. Coville took two days of fresh food on board and subsisted on freeze-dried meals, cereal bars and energy drinks for the rest of the journey, according to the report. Coville also holds the title for the 24-hour speed record, sailing 619 miles in the course of a day. For information, visit

— Elizabeth Ellis