THE JULES VERNE TROPHY

 

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Around the World in Eighty Days (French: Le tour du monde en quatre-vingt jours) is a classic adventure novel by Jules Verne, first published in 1872. In the story, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French butler Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the late Victorian world in 80 days on a 20,000 wager set by his friends at the Reform Club. The technological innovations of the 19th century had opened the possibility of rapid circumnavigation and the prospect fascinated Verne and his readership. The book may have been inspired by the exploits of George Francis Train, who accomplished the feat in 1870.

 

 

Plot summary

 

Spoiler warning: Plot or ending details follow.

 

The story starts in London on October 2, 1872. Phileas Fogg is a wealthy, solitary, unmarried man with regular habits. The source of his wealth is not known and he lives modestly. He fires his former butler, James Forster, for bringing him his shaving water two degrees too cold. He hires as a replacement Passepartout, a Frenchman of around 30 years of age.

 

Later that day in the Reform Club, he gets involved in an argument over an article in The Daily Telegraph, stating that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days. 

 

The schedule is given as follows:

 

 

London / Suez

rail and steamer

7 days

Suez / Bombay

steamer

13 days

Bombay / Calcutta

rail

3 days

Calcutta / Hong Kong

steamer

13 days

Hong Kong / Yokohama

steamer

6 days

Yokohama / San Francisco

steamer

22 days

San Francisco / New York

rail

7 days

New York / London

steamer

9 days

 

total

80 days

 

 

Fogg accepts a wager for 20,000 pounds from his fellow club members, which he will receive if he makes it around the world in 80 days. He sets off immediately, taking his puzzled new butler with him. He leaves London by train at 8.45 p.m. on October 2, and thus is due back at the Reform Club at the same time 80 days later, on December 21.

 

Fogg and Passepartout reach Suez in time. While disembarking in Egypt, he is watched by a Scotland Yard detective named Fix, who has been despatched from London in search of a bank robber. Because Fogg matches the description of the bank robber, Fix mistakes Fogg to be the criminal. Since he cannot secure a warrant in time, Fix goes on board of the steamer conveying the travelers to Bombay. During the voyage, Fix gets acquainted with Passepartout, without revealing his purpose.

 

Still in time, Fogg and Passepartout switch to the railway in Bombay, setting off for Calcutta, Fix now following them undercover. As it turns out, the construction of the railway is not totally finished, so they are forced to get over the remaining gap between two stations by riding an elephant, which Phileas Fogg purchases at the prodigious price of 2,000 pounds.

 

During the ride, they come across a suttee procession, in which a young Indian woman, Aouda, is led to a sanctuary to be sacrificed the next day. Since the young woman is obviously drugged and not going voluntarily, the travelers decide to rescue her. They follow the procession to the site, where Passepartout secretly takes the place of the girl's deceased husband on the funeral pyre, on which the woman is going to be burned the next morning. During the ceremony, he then rises from the pyre, scaring off the priests, and carries the young woman away.

 

The travelers then hasten on to catch the train at the next railway station, taking the girl, Aouda, with them. At Calcutta, they finally board a steamer going to Hong Kong. Fix, who had secretly been following them, again failed to obtain a warrant against Fogg in Calcutta and is forced to follow them along to Hong Kong. On board, he shows himself to Passepartout, who is delighted to meet again his traveling companion from the earlier voyage.

 

In Hong Kong, it turns out that Aouda's distant relative in whose care they had been planning to leave her there, has moved away, so they decide to take her with them to Europe. Meanwhile, still without a warrant, Fix sees Hong Kong as his last chance to arrest Fogg on British soil. He therefore confides in Passepartout, who does not believe a word and remains convinced that his master is not a bank robber. To prevent Passepartout from informing his master about the premature departure of their next vessel, Fix makes Passepartout drunk and drugs him in an opium den. In his dizziness, Passepartout yet manages to catch the steamer to Yokohama, but neglects to inform Fogg.

 

Fogg, on the next day, discovers that he has missed his connection. He goes on search for a vessel which will take him to Yokohama. He finds a pilot boat which takes him and his companions (Aouda and Fix) to Shanghai, were they catch a steamer to Yokohama. In Yokohama, they go on a search for Passepartout, believing that he may have arrived there with the original connection. They find him in a circus, trying to earn his homeward journey.

 

Reunited, the four board on a steamer taking them across the Pacific to San Francisco. Fix promises Passepartout that now, having left British soil, he will no longer try to delay Fogg's journey, but rather support him in getting back to Britain as fast as possible (to have him arrested there).

 

In San Francisco, they get on the train to New York. During that trip, the train is attacked by Indians, who take Passepartout and two other passengers hostage. Fogg is now faced with the dilemma of continuing his tour, or going to rescue Passepartout. He chooses the latter, starting on a rescue mission with some soldiers of a nearby fort, who succeed in freeing the hostages.

 

To make up for the lost time, Fogg and his companions hire a sledge, which brings them to Omaha, where they arrive just in time to get on a train to Chicago, and then another to New York. However, reaching New York, they learn that the steamer they had been trying to catch has left a short time before.

 

On the next day, Fogg starts looking for an alternative for the crossing of the Atlantic. He finds a small steam boat, destined for Bordeaux. However, the captain of the boat refuses to take the company to Liverpool, wherupon Fogg accepts to be brought to Bordeaux. On the voyage, he bribes the crew to mutiny and take course for Liverpool. Going on full steam all the time, the boat runs out of fuel after a few days. Fogg buys the boat at a very high price from the captain, soothing him thereby, and has the crew burn all the wooden parts to keep up the steam.

 

The companions arrive at Liverpool several hours before the deadline, which would easily suffice to get to London by train. However, once on British soil again, Fix produces a warrant and arrests Fogg. A short time later, the misunderstanding is cleared up - the actual bank robber had been caught several days ago. However, Fogg has missed the train and returns to London 5 minutes late, assured that he has lost the wager.

 

In his London house the next day, he apologizes to Aouda for bringing her with him, since he now has to live in poverty and cannot financially support her. Aouda suddenly confesses that she loves him and asks him to marry her, which he gladly accepts. He calls for Passepartout to notify the reverend. At the reverend's, Passepartout learns that he is mistaken in the date, which he takes to be Sunday but which actually is Saturday due to the fact that the party traveled in Eastern direction, thereby gaining a full day on a journey around the globe, by crossing the International Date Line.

 

Passepartout hurries back to Fogg, who immediately sets off for the Reform Club, where he arrives just in time to claim the wager won. Thus ends the journey around the world, which made Phileas Fogg not only a little richer but also the happiest man.

 

Imitators

 

 

Verne's articulation of the challenge proved seminal. There have since been sundry expeditions that emulate Fogg's, fictional, circumnavigation, often within self-imposed constraints.

  • 1889 - Nellie Bly undertook to travel around the world in 80 days for her newspaper, the New York World. She managed to do the journey within 72 days.

  • 1908 - Harry Bensley, on a wager, set out to circumnavigate the world on foot wearing an iron mask.

  • 1988 - Monty Python alumnus Michael Palin took a similar challenge without using aircraft as a part of a television travelogue, also called Around the World in Eighty Days.

  • 1993 - Present - The Jules Verne Trophy is held by the boat that sails around the world without stopping, and with no outside assistance in the shortest time. However, to officially hold the trophy, you must pay a membership fee to the Jules Verne Association. 

     

    The record holders so far have been:

     

    • 2002: Orange, 64 days

    • 1998: Cable & Wireless Adventurer

    • 1997: Sport Elec, 71 days

    • 1994: ENZA, 74 days

    • 1993: Commodore Explorer, 79 days

    •  


Film adaptations

 

 

The book has been adapted many times for feature films and television.

  • An entertaining 1919 silent black and white parody by director Richard Oswald didn't disguise its use of locations in Germany as placeholders for the international voyage, part of the movie's joke is that Fogg's trip is obviously going to places in and around Berlin. There is no remaining copy of this film available today.

  • The best known version was released in 1956, with David Niven and Cantinflas heading a huge cast. Many famous performers play bit parts, and part of the pleasure in this movie is playing "spot the star". The movie earned five Oscars, out of eight nominations. See Around the World in Eighty Days (1956 movie) for details.

  • A 1989 two-part TV mini-series starred Pierce Brosnan as Fogg, Eric Idle as Passeapartout, Peter Ustinov as Fix and several TV stars in cameo roles, e.g. Patrick Macnee and Christopher Lee as members of the Reform Club. The heroes travel a slightly different route than in the book and the script make several contemporary celebrities part of the story who were not mentioned in the book, such as Sarah Bernhard, Louis Pasteur, Jesse James and Queen Victoria.

  • The story was again adapted for the screen in 2004 by The Walt Disney Company. Disney's Around the World in 80 Days stars Jackie Chan as Passepartout and Steve Coogan as Fogg. This version is only loosely based on Jules Verne's story, it makes Passepartout the hero and the thief of the Bank's money. Fogg's character is an absent-minded crackpot inventor who bets with a rival scientist that he can travel the world with (then) modern means of transportation. In an unintended connection to the 1919 version, this film was also filmed in Berlin, but tried to hide it this time: The Gendarmenmarkt's German Cathedral was redressed as the Bank of England and several other locations in and around the city were used as historic London.

  • Several animated films and cartoon series were made based on Verne's book.

    • An Indian Fantasy Story is an unfinished French/English co-production from 1938, featuring the wager at the Reform Club and the rescue of the Indian Princess. It was never completed as a full feature film.

    •  

    • Around the World in 79 Days, a serial segment on the Hanna-Barbera show The Cattanooga Cats from 1969 to 1971.

    •  

    • Around the World in 80 days from 1972 by Canadian studio Rankin-Bass with Japanese Mushi productions as part of the Festival of Family Classics series.

    • A one-season cartoon series Around the World in 80 days from 1972 by Australian Air Programs International.

    •  

    • Around the World with Willy Fogg by Spanish studio BRB Internacional from 1981 with a second season produced in 1993. This series depicts the characters as talking animals and takes several liberties with the original story, but still remains faithful to the basic ideas. This show has gained something of a cult following in Britain and Germany.

    •  

    • Tweety's High Flying Adventure is a musical by Warner Brothers from 2000; it depicts the characters as not only talking animals, but the ones familiar from previous cartoons from the same studio. It takes a great many liberties with the original story, but the central idea is still there - indeed, one of the songs in this film is entitled Around the World in Eighty Days. This movie frequently appears on various US-based cable TV networks.

 

MODERN TECHNOLOGY RACE - JULES VERNE SOLAR CHALLENGE

 

Two European teams are now planning to try and set world navigation records in a solar powered boat.  The first team is from the United Kingdom, led by Nelson Kruschandl.  His vessel is called Solar Navigator.  The development of this project has been mostly in the backyard and on local waters.  

 

The second and latest team to decide to go for it as of March 16 2006, are PlanetSolar, a Swiss/French team is made up of 15 persons, 11 concerned with the boat and expedition directly and 4 on a sponsorship committee - as listed below.

 

THE BOATS

 

 

Solar Navigator trimaran

Solar powered trimaran concept drawing

 

Planetsolar trimaran

 

PlanetSolar - solar powered trimaran

 

 

 

Though the technology is similar, the designs use quite different approaches.  In fact the Solar Navigator started out as a SWATH design, first exhibited at Earls Court in 1995.  Since that time various wave piercing models have been developed and tested, the aim being to improve performance and reduce build costs.  Both teams estimate similar travel times.  One day it may be possible to travel around the world on solar power, in under 80 days.  Jules Verne would have loved this.

 

 

External links

 

 

 

Year

Skipper

Yacht

Nationality

Days

Hours

Minutes

Seconds

Speed Knots

Type

1993-94

Bruno Peyron

Explorer

French

79

6

15

56

11.35

Catamaran

1994-95

Robin Knox Johnston-Peter Blake

Enza

NZL/GBR

74

22

17

22

12.00

Catamaran

1997

Oilivier De Kersauson

Sport Elec

French

71

14

22

8

12.66

Trimaran

2002

Bruno Peyron

Orange

French

64

8

37

24

14.08

Catamaran

2004

Oilivier De Kersauson

Geronimo

French

63

13

59

14.1

14.1

Trimaran

2004

Steve Fossett

Cheyenne

USA

58

9

32

45

15.52

Catamaran

2005

Bruno Peyron

Orange II

France

50

16

20

4

22.2

Catamaran

 

 

 

 

GENERAL HISTORY LINKS

 

 

 

 

MARITIME HISTORY

 

 

 

 

 


 

A taste for adventure capitalists

 

 

Solar Cola - a healthier alternative

 

This website is Copyright 1999 & 2007  NJK.   The bird logo and name Solar Navigator are trademarks. 

The name '1824' is a trade mark of Solar Cola Ltd.  All rights reserved.  Max Energy Limited is an educational charity.

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