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Going Big…..

Author – Andi Robertson

Going Big…..Transition planning and execution, as The Famous Project move up to the record breaking ULTIM, and contemplate 40 days 23 hours.

With some 18 days until the date The Famous Project plan to launch their giant ULTIM IDEC Sport, the craft on which they plan to challenge the Jules Verne Trophy record of 40 days 23 hours in winter 2025, the technical team are working flat out to achieve the deadline to have the boat in the water. After launching there will a period of commissioning and testing from the team’s base in La Trinité sur Mer, before a summer of training which will culminate in a series of record challenges.

The current Jules Verne Trophy record, the fastest ever sailing passage round the world, was set January 26th 2017 at 40 days 23 hours 30 minutes 30 seconds, achieved by Francis Joyon and a crew of six on IDEC Sport. Despite numerous attempts over the years, the record still stands. And, indeed, most of the bigger ULTIM teams which have just completed the ULTIM solo race round the world plan their own record assaults this winter.

The vision…..

So, in this context what are the realistic objectives of The Famous Project?

Project manager Jonny Malbon asserts, “The reality is that it is going to be very difficult for us to beat the record……not impossible, but very difficult!!!  That’s evident as the record has stood since 2017. It has eluded teams with bigger budgets, bigger teams, more experienced sailors and faster boats. There would need to be so many different things line up for us to beat what is an incredibly fast time. And, yes, it might get lowered again this winter. But, like we say, it has stood since 2017. Our main goal is to get the boat round, to participate in the Jules Verne Trophy, all the time giving everything we can, with the intention to try to break that time. But the reality is the main objective is to get the boat around in one piece, to set a benchmark time and a world first. But the main thing is to give the programme scope to build and to grow. That is the vision.”

Next steps…..

Getting aboard the record holding ULTIM, going sailing and learning quickly and efficiently whilst initially trialling more girls are the next steps in the process. The learning and training process will be very similar to what has worked so well on the MOD70 Limosa. As Malbon and founder-co-skipper Alexia Barrier pointed out recently the ULTIM is bigger, faster, heavier than the MOD70 but it is simpler. The systems are simpler and it is less ‘tippy’ but it will require excellent teamwork to sail efficiently.

@the_famousproject @georgiaphoto
@the_famousproject @georgiaphoto

Step 1….

Malbon explains: “We will do a week of initial commissioning sails, going out and working through the reefs, the different headsail configurations, the systems. The boat is ‘theoretically’ more simple than the MOD70, and we just want to validate everything, see the comms are working properly. That will be a week’s worth of day sailing. I think we are looking at a week-on-week off program, getting different people out there. The boat eats miles and so in a five day training session we can certainly put miles on the boat and miles with the team.”

Expert mentors, just like the MOD70 will optimise the learning

There is a large pool of experienced ULTIM talent, including many who have sailed on the boat as IDEC Sport and previously as Groupama, and Banque PopVII. And many sailors have already offered their time to help the training process.

Malbon highlights: “Training will be very similar, we will draw on a group of experts, some of whom have already have sailed on the boat. But we already have a good pool of experts who are keen to help, Brian Thompson, Loick Peyron, and hopefully Franck Cammas, have expressed their interests in helping, and have the kind of expertise we are looking for, to ease the girls into the learning. Nothing is signed up as yet but that is the plan. We will work with girls in smaller groups through some fairly intensive weeks of training, exactly like we did with the MOD70. We are still trying new people. We have a good grasp of exactly the type of people that we need. We will keep the training programmes going and get three or four training sessions done, get the girls sailing together and then try for some records in September before we head to the Med where the boat will be based.”

But first….get on the water…

@the_famousproject @georgiaphoto
@the_famousproject @georgiaphoto

Malbon affirms: “The initial challenge is managing time and getting things done in a cost effective way, as we are still looking for funding. We need to get out on the boat, not just for the experience and training of the girls but because we need to learn what we need to do to the boat before the Jules Verne second refit. The main challenge is to get on the water and get sailing as soon as possible in safety.”

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