Hero’s wel­come for French sailor

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

BREST, France: French­man Thomas Coville was given a hero’s wel­come on his re­turn to the French port of Brest yes­ter­day af­ter slash­ing the record for a solo non-stop cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of the world. Coville broke the record on Sun­day, com­plet­ing his jour­ney in 49 days, three hours, seven min­utes and 38 sec­onds on his tri­maran Sodebo Ul­tim. “I am very happy to have achieved this dream,” said a tear­ful Coville, who had tried and failed on four pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions to beat the round-the-world record.

The 48-year-old Bre­ton sailor reached the fin­ish line off France’s At­lantic coast at 1557 GMT on Christ­mas Day and spent a fi­nal night on his giant tri­maran “un­wind­ing”. “The big­gest dreams don’t come true at the first time of ask­ing,” he added as he was greeted by thou­sands of fans on a sunny day in the Brit­tany city. Coville, whose wife and chil­dren joined him on board for the tri­umphal re­turn to land yes­ter­day morn­ing, shaved an in­cred­i­ble eight days off the pre­vi­ous record set by Fran­cis Joyon, of 57 days and 13 hours.

“Phys­i­cally, I couldn’t go any fur­ther. Sev­eral times I was within a whisker of not do­ing it. What I’ll take from this isn’t the 49 days, it’s the jour­ney I’ve trav­elled to achieve it, to have tried, to have dared and not to have given up.

And to­day, it’s paid off.” “He’s a hero,” said De­nis Gourlan, 64, among the crowd quay­side to wel­come Coville. “It’s re­ally ex­tra­or­di­nary what he’s done,” he added.

Joyon had ini­tially set the record for the sin­gle-handed round the world ef­fort in 2004 be­fore Bri­tain’s Ellen MacArthur beat his mark the fol­low­ing year. Joyon then re­claimed the mark in 2008. Coville’s record will stand at least un­til next year when his com­pa­triot, Fran­cois Gabart, the win­ner of the 2012/2013 Vendee globe, will set out to lower his im­pres­sive record. — AFP


BREST, France: French skipper Thomas Coville holds a burn­ing flare on­board his “Sodebo Ul­tim” tri­maran as he ar­rives in this port in western France yes­ter­day af­ter beat­ing the record in solo non-stop round-the-world sail­ing.

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