This was the fourth fastest time for any circumnavigation on a yacht, including those with as many as ten crew.
It was a highly risky venture given the huge size of his Sodebo Ultim trimaran – a 31-metre long and 21-metre wide craft equipped with a 35-metre high mast carrying up to 680 square metres of sail area.
“Nothing else in the world resembles this exercise. It requires total focus. It’s severe and extremely violent and that’s what’s so magnificent about it,” said famed French skipper Olivier de Kersauson. “With a multi-hull, if you get it wrong, you’re dead.”
After a decade and five failed attempts, Mr Coville’s sixth almost foundered at one point when he narrowly averted a head-on collision with a whale. “We must have seen each other at the same time. I swerved, the boat veered sideways. For a moment I expected the worst. It could have ended there,” he recalled.