Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / Europe

Solo sailors set off from France on epic journey

By JONATHAN POWELL in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-01-09 09:28
Share - WeChat
Six trimaran yachts leave Brest, France, on Sunday as six sailors attempt to sail solo around-the-world at the helm of a multihull. LOIC VENANCE/AFP

Ocean racing history was made on Sunday, as six solo sailors embarked on the first leg of an unprecedented 40,000-kilometer around-the-world event that will see them brave treacherous seas aboard powerful-yet-delicate trimarans.

The Ultim Challenge began from the port city of Brest, in western France, with the six-strong fleet swiftly crossing the Bay of Biscay en route to Cape Finisterre, targeting an early Monday arrival.

The mission for the six adventurers is to conquer one of sports' most formidable challenges within an astonishing 50-day timeframe.

The six competing are: Charles Caudrelier, sailing on the Edmond de Rothschild, Tom Laperche, on SVR Lazartigue, Thomas Coville, on Sodebo, Armel Le Cleac'h, on Banque Populaire, Anthony Marchand, on Actual, and Eric Peron, on Adagio.

A trimaran comprises a main hull and two smaller outrigger hulls that are attached to the main body with lateral beams. Each sailor in the Ultim Challenge commands their fragile 32-meter-long craft alone.

Agence France-Presse reported that the fastest sailor in the race has the potential to complete the 21,600-nautical-mile route, which involves navigating around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, Cape Leeuwin in Australia, and Cape Horn in Chile, in 50 days.

Completing a solo around-the-world trip in a trimaran is a rare achievement, with experts highlighting that while trimarans are faster, they are also considered more fragile and riskier than monohulls.

Out of the few who have accomplished this feat, only seven sailors have succeeded, with just four of them accomplishing it non-stop. Francois Gabart holds the most recent record for the feat, setting the record in 2017, with 42 days spent at sea.

The sailors spoke to reporters about the challenge ahead, before their departure from the city port, located in the Finistere department, in the region of Brittany.

"Obviously there is emotion, but we will have to quickly switch to racing mode at the start," said Marchand. "We're going for an extraordinary race, but it will really be extraordinary when we finish it. "Le Cleac'h, setting off on his fourth around-the-world trip, but his first in a trimaran, said: "Everything comes together for a very beautiful story, I grew up here in Finistere, I learned to sail here. It makes me happy to see everyone gathered to encourage us. It's up to me to succeed in my mission from now on."

Laperche is making his first circumnavigation.

"There's impatience, stress, concentration, emotion, a little bit of everything ... I'm going to make the most of it," he said.

Caudrelier added: "The objective is to cross the finish line with a boat in good condition. It is one of the biggest challenges of all of our careers."

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349