The Trophée Jules Verne

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Wandering around the Musée de la Marine in Paris the other day, waiting to meet the head of conservation for my research project, I came across the Trophée Jules Verne, which is one that, even if you won it, you couldn’t take home – nor would you want to, given its enormous size (about 10ft.).

Designed by American artist Thomas Shannon, it is awarded for the fastest round the world time, originally to be less than 80 days as per Verne’s eponymous novel, but now nearly half that. All you have to do is start across the line between the Creac’h lighthouse on Ouessant and the Lizard lighthouse (both old acquaintances from my 'Dove' days), then leave the Capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn to port and cross the line in the other direction, without outside assistance.

The trophy was last won by Loick Peyron in Banque Populaire V in 2012, with a time of 45 days 13 h 42min 53s. Two attempts were made this year at the same time, in BPV, now called Spindrift 2, and in Idec Sport, another giant trimaran; both boats finished two days outside the record but within a few hours of each other.

Maybe the next winner will have to foil all the way, though Francis Joyon and his crew are set to make another attempt in Idec Sport next year – see

The shape of the hull of the trophy is based on curves proportional to the circumferences of the sun, earth and moon, and it hangs eerily in the air inside its case, ‘moored’ by a thin wire at the bow. Well worth a visit, as is the collection of ship models and paintings in the rest of the museum (see my other photo).

Steve Fraser

Submitted on 11th November 2016