At the head of the fleet in the Brest Atlantiques since Thursday morning, the duo on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has masterfully negotiated the passage through the famous Doldrums – always a rather perilous exercise when you’re leading the way – and has made it out the other side with a lead of over 130 miles in relation to the men on Macif, still second.
Powered up again now making more familiar speeds after 20 hours of irregular progress, the 32-metre giant fitted out by Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild crossed the equator this Sunday 10 November shortly before 14:00 UTC, which equates to 5 days and 4 hours of racing since the start; a remarkable passage time, especially so in double-handed configuration.
It has to be said that Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are keen to steal a march over their pursuers since Gitana 17’s daggerboard collided with something offshore of Cape Verde and the two sailors and their media man will have to quickly go into the pits over the coming days as a result. Some members of Gitana Team are already en route for Salvador de Bahia where they’ll inspect the appendage and carry out the necessary repairs to enable her to head back out onto the racetrack as quickly as possible.
A duo into the swing of things
Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have been leading the way for the past four days in the Brest Atlantiques. After a conservative start to the race to preserve their steed in the boat-breaking conditions that coloured the first few hours of the passage across the Bay of Biscay, they were the first to put in a gybe southwards as they were sailing to the North-West of Madeira along the southern edge of the Azores High. In so doing, the duo proved how determined they were and moved up to the front of the fleet.
Last night, with the magnificent support of their router Marcel Van Triest, the two sailors made the most of the passage through the famous Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone to pull away from Macif and Sodebo Ultim, respectively 2nd some 163.1 miles behind and 3rd some 221 miles* astern of them, further consolidating their lead.
“The good news today is that we’re done with the Doldrums. I found it quite long and tiring, but we haven’t done too badly and we’re ahead of our playmates… so all’s well! We thought we’d be out sooner, but a cloud hung onto us just before our exit and held us in its clutches for a few more hours! Right now we seem to have a favourable gust,” admitted Franck Cammas early this morning.
Technical pit stop in the Bay of All Saints
“The bad news is that we’re going to have to make a stop for a few hours in Bahia. We’ve had a problem with our daggerboard since before the Cape Verde passage and there are some things that need repairing. Part of the team is joining us there and we’ll be able to do a bit of lamination before we get going again.
“We don’t know exactly what happened, seemingly a collision with something, but visibly the bottom of the daggerboard is damaged so the boat isn’t in her optimal sailing condition. We’ve decided it would be better to check all that before we head down into the latitudes further South.
“We weighed up the pros and cons of this option with Cyril Dardashti, the team and our router Marcel Van Triest, namely studying what some time-out will cost us in terms of miles, the length of the course still to cover as we’ve only done a quarter of the passage so far, the upcoming weather and of course safety. Having looked at all that, we believe that the best possible compromise is this pit stop so we can get back out on the racetrack with a boat racing at her full potential,” explained the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild.
Thanks to the assistance of the organisers of the Transat Jacques Vabre – Gildas Gautier, Sylvie Viant and Francis le Goff – as well as Dominique, manager of the Marina de Salvador de Bahia, a solution has been found to enable the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild to moor for a few hours at the foot of Pelourinho so as to have her damaged daggerboard repaired.
Part of the shore crew is heading for Brazil and will be ready and waiting on zone for the arrival of the latest addition to the Gitana fleet to ensure this Brazilian stopover is as short as possible.
A ‘record’ time
This Sunday, shortly before 14:00 UTC, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild crossed the equator, an imaginary line that marks the boundary between the two hemispheres. In this way, Charles Caudrelier, Franck Cammas and Yann Riou were the first competitors in the Brest Atlantiques to make their entry into the southern latitudes.
The men of Gitana Team took 5 days and a little less than 4 hours to cover the 3,000 miles between the north-west tip of Brittany and zero degrees latitude. A staggering time, particularly so in double-handed configuration, given that the reference time over the distance, approved by the WSSRC, has been held since 2019 by the 12-strong crew of Spindrift 2, in 4 days 20 hours 7 minutes and 7 seconds.
Ranking on Sunday 10 November at 15:00 UTC
MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) – distance to the goal: 10,588.90 miles – average speed over the past 30 mins: 24.4 knots
MACIF (François Gabart / Gwenolé Gahinet / Jérémie Eloi) – 163.1 miles behind the leader – average speed over the past 30 mins: 26.1 knots
SODEBO ULTIM 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nelias / Martin Keruzoré) – 221.3 miles behind the leader – average speed over the past 30 mins: 12 knots
ACTUAL LEADER (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella / Ronan Gladu) – 376.4 miles behind the leader – average speed over the past 30 mins: 14.3 knots