Saturday, July 12, 2008

THE FINAL 1,000 - Sodeb'O Racing

After a little over three days of racing against the clock and the finish is already shaping up for this coming Tuesday, Thomas admits that tackling the single-handed North Atlantic record is exhausting and a lot more tiring than it appeared from land.
I ndeed this record is like no other: it is an extended sprint over such a short space of time that any mistakes are out of the question. "The one that wins is the one who doesn't sleep" recalled the skipper of Sodeb'O prior to setting out from New York. Since rounding Ambrose Light, on Tuesday at 1147 UT, the solo sailor has been pushing his trimaran along at an average of 23.3 knots. He has only had a few chunks of sleep involving 20 minute siestas, and no more than four of these in three days.
Hoisting the large gennaker (350 m2), lowering it again, unfurling the solent, furling it in again to hoist the gennaker, taking a reef, each manœuvre is demanding. "When you play with the sail areas, explains Thomas, your timing has to be spot on so as not to put yourself in danger." At the start of this afternoon, Sodeb'O hit a top speed of 28 knots a few times in choppy seas. He was sailing under mainsail and 1 reef and large gennaker in a freshening breeze in excess of twenty knots (at the top end of force 5). Read more...