Wide binaries are tracers of the gravity field of the Galaxy, but their study requires some caution. A large list of common proper motion stars selected from the third Astronomischen Gesellschaft Katalog (AGK3) was monitored with the CORAVEL (for COrrelation RAdial VELocities) spectrovelocimeter, in order to prepare a sample of physical binaries with very wide separations. 66 stars received special attention, since their radial velocities (RV) seemed to be variable. These stars were monitored over several years in order to derive the elements of their spectroscopic orbits. In addition, 10 of them received accurate RV measurements from the SOPHIE spectrograph of the T193 telescope at the Observatory of Haute-Provence.
For deriving the orbital elements of double-lined spectroscopic binaries (SB2), a new method was applied, which assumed that the RV of blended measurements are linear combinations of the RV of the components. 13 SB2 orbits were thus calculated.
The orbital elements were eventually obtained for 52 spectroscopic binaries (SB), two of them making a triple system. 40 SB received their first orbit and the orbital elements were improved for 10 others. In addition, 11 SB were discovered with very long periods for which the orbital parameters were not found. The median period of the 40 first orbits is 1 yr, and several SB should be resolved or should receive an astrometric orbit in future, providing the masses of the components. In addition, it appeared that HD 153252 has a close companion, which is a candidate brown dwarf with a minimum mass of 50 Jupiter masses.
The final selection of wide binaries and the derivation of their statistical properties will be presented in a second paper.