Photo: Alexis Courcoux

Sodebo suffers a collision

Disaster for Thomas Coville's new maxi-tri in the Route du Rhum

Monday November 3rd 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

At 23:30 French time the French rescue services informed the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe race management that a collision had occurred between the maxi-trimaran Sodebo Ultim and a cargo ship. Skipper Thomas Coville was unharmed.

Lying in second place in the Ultime class, Sodebo Ultim was sailing under three reefs and ORC (storm jib) at the time, making 15-18 knots in winds gusting up to 30 knots from the southwest.

In the collision, the trimaran has lost the front of its starboard float back to the cross beam. The middle hull has also been damaged at the bow.

Sodebo Ultim is now heading towards Roscoff at less than 10 knots under reduced sail, with her still intact port float to leeward.

By approaching the Brittany coast, the wind is expected to ease and the sea to settle down.

The Sodebo shore crew, on standby in Brest, is now travelling to Roscoff where the trimaran is due to dock in the morning.

Arriving in Roscoff Covillle said: "Today I feel like I have been a victim in a car accident. I feel like a truck collided with me, a motorcycle at night. It really basically is that. I was coming away from TSS, the area we avoid because of the maritime traffic, and I was going really fast. That evening I had had a small problem on the bow, so I decided to basically speed up and try and catch up with Loick but was sailing along quite comfortably. An engine alarm went off, a battery charge reminder, so I went back inside because I was surprised that after eight hours I would need to be recharging. There was nothing wrong so I went back and there I saw on it on my screen ... You can imagine that on our boats we do not have a lot of visibility, that it is dark, there were squalls and lots of rain and that basically we sail like aeroplane pilots or like traffic controllers, using the radar.

I could see that there were two cargo ships close to me. I was sailing in wind mode, which basically means you sail taking into account the variable winds and waves. If I am sailing at 25 knots and the container is at 18 knots, we had a closing speed of 40 knots. Basically the two miles was covered in one minute and thirty seconds. I get out on deck having started the engine and manage to get the right gear and it is just when I look up and see this big black wall cross in front of me and I hit it 1.5 metres or maybe 3 metres from the back. We just did not quite pass behind and but for three metres we would have passed OK.”

Latest Comments

  • David Bains 03/11/2014 - 12:58

    Poor Thomas, he's fated never to beat Joyon!! But Joyon is trailing the newer boats. As is Spindrift. Maybe 130ft really is too much for one person. I'd like to see Lemonchois/Prince de Bretagne do well. 80ft plus twin foils on each float could be the right solution. But Peyron is going so well, he's a success whatever boat he's on!

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