Early Wednesday, two 100′ long foiling maxi-trimarans,SodeboandMaxi Edmond de Rothschild/Gitana 17set out to race around the globe to attempt to win theJules Verne Trophy. Sailing within hours of each other,Sodebocrossed the starting line,which lies between the Créac’h lighthouse (Ouessant) and the Lizard in south-west England, at 0255 (CET). An hour and a half later,Edmond de Rothschild, followed.
Technically, the two tris are not racing each other. Each is racing the clock. The Jules Verne Trophy is awarded to the challenger who breaks the previous Jules Verne record of the round the world voyage under sail. Thecurrent recordof 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes 30 seconds was set by Francis Joyon sailingIDEC Sportin 2017.
The winner holds the trophy until such time as his/her record has been bettered. The boats must solely be propelled by natural forces of the wind and of the crew, but the trophy is open to any type of boat with no restrictions. Crew size is not restricted either.
The circumnavigation must be completed non-stop and with no physical outside assistance, although on-shore weather routing is allowed. The challengers must respect certain safety rules.
The race was inspired by Jules Verne novelAround the World in Eighty Daysin which Phileas Fogg traverses the planet by land and sea) in 80 days. The trophy was first awarded to the first yacht which sailed around the world in less than 80 days. In 1993, Bruno Peyron sailing the catamaran Explorer won the trophy for a voyage of 79 days 6 hours 15 minutes 56 seconds.
Since then 18 crews have attempted to claim the trophy and eight have succeeded. If either of the two current racers hopes to claim the trophy, they will have to arrive back off the coast of Brest before January 5th, 2021.
Thomas Coville is the skipper of theSodebowith a total crew of eight. Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, are co-skippers of theMaxi Edmond de Rothschild/Gitana 17, with a total crew of six.