Champagne shower on the Geronimo
Yesterday afternoon, the skipper Olivier de Kersauson with his crew and 110-foot trimaran crossed the Jules Verne finish line in front of the Ile d'Ouessant after 63 days, 14 hours, 59 minutes and 46 seconds of circumnavigation. It was around 18 hours faster than the previous award holder, Bruno Peyron.
However, on closer inspection, de Kersauson's celebrated victory is a bitter defeat. After all, two weeks ago the US skipper Steve Fossett, who has since retired from sailing, set a new fantastic record for the fastest non-stop circumnavigation of the world with his 125 catamaran "Cheyenne" in 58 days and 9 hours. The American multimillionaire was refused the Jules Verne trophy because he refused to pay the Jules Verne company an entry fee of 30,000 euros before he started
The lack of recognition by the award should not have bothered Fossett, however, as the World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC) had ratified its record and thus included it in the official record lists, in which de Kersauson's time set yesterday will not appear.
The interested viewer of the scene now asks what the Jules Verne Trophy, once so coveted by all prominent offshore sailors, is still worth today if it does not buy the fastest circumnavigator in the world, but only the person who supports it financially.
In fact, their fame will fade. It's a shame about the beautiful prize donated by the French Ministry of Culture in 1993, which shows a sailboat floating freely in a magnetic field. The prestige of the Trophy can only be saved if the French founders give themselves a jolt and take a giant step towards Steve Fossett and his record - in other words, accept him. Otherwise they only have the option to undercut the American record - as quickly as possible!