Tom Laperche leads on southbound express, Le Cléac’h plans Recife pitstop

Racing 250 nautical miles ENE of Salvador de Bahia Brazil this evening Tom Laperche leads the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest race by 54 miles from Charles Caudrelier. SVR Lazartigue was the first to cross the Equator into the Southern Hemisphere Saturday 13th evening, at 18:43:43hrs UTC. His elapsed time since last Sunday’s start line is 6d 6h 13m and since the WSSRC record line at Ushant is 6d 5h 35m 56s.

Second to cross last night at 20:11:54hrs – so, 1h 28m 21s later – was Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild). Caudrelier’s elapsed times are 6d 7h 41m since the start line and 6d 7h 2m 54s since the WSSRC line.

On his 2017 record breaking circumnavigation Francois Gabart’s passage time to the Equator was 5d 20h 45m, the fastest solo time remains Thomas Coville’s 5d 17h 11m and the best ever is that of Spindrift 2 at 4d 20h 07m

NEWSFLASH – Recife stopover planned for the Maxi Banque Populaire XI

Armel Le Cléac’h  and the Maxi Banque Populaire XI are heading to the Brazilian port of Recife to the repair the pulpit on the main hull and to replace the tack line fitting for the gennaker after damage incurred during a problem with the J0 sail which the French skipper spoke of during a ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest live broadcast yesterday. The pulpit maintains the safety of the skipper when he is working at the front of the boat.

With Le Cléac’h due in the Southern Ocean in a few days time his team say it it is imperative that this part of the boat is functional for the rest of the race. And, during the pit-stop, members of Team Banque Populaire report they will take the opportunity to also resolve a problem discovered on the hydraulics of the foil system. The boat is expected to arrive in Recife between tonight and tomorrow morning (French time) and it will be met with members of the technical team. It will stop for at least 24 hours as required by the rules of the race governing a stopover.

Ronan Lucas, Director of the Banque Populaire Team said:
“With Armel we made the decision to stop, following the incident that occurred after the storm which deprived us of a large gennaker and, what’s more, tore the pulpit off the boat. It is unthinkable to go into the Southern Ocean without this important safety feature for when the skipper is maneuvering at the front of the boat. And while he is heading towards Recife, Armel reported a problem with the foil up/down system which prevents him from using it and which reinforces the decision to make a stopover even with incurring a 24-hour penalty. We are all a little disappointed by this incident even though we did not experience a single incident during the Transat Jacques Vabre. This course is long and the whole team will do its utmost to get Armel and the Maxi Banque Populaire XI back into the race as quickly as possible.”

Racing since Sunday January 7 at 1:30 p.m. on this first edition of the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest, Armel Le Cléac’h held fourth place before making the decision to make a stopover. The skipper of the Maxi Banque Populaire XI crossed the equator this Sunday morning and is currently heading towards the Brazilian coast. He is the first sailor on this race to choose to make a stopover.

THE SUNDAY QUESTION. What do the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest skippers prefer to eat?

It’s food as fuel or is there more to it?  Well, according to Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s Charles Caudrelier, “To survive in the long term it is no secret that you really have to eat well and sleep well.” And so, just like everything else for the solo skippers on the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest, when it comes to food and nutrition, nothing is left to chance.  All six skippers took around took around 150 kg of food on board their ULTIM multihulls.

The sailors eat as often as possible, sometimes four meals a day, particularly in the Southern Ocean. And while the food packs in all the required calorie and nutrient requirements, the simple pleasures derived from food which really tastes good are very important.

Charles Caudrelier, eating better
The French skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild admits “I have always had problems eating well”.  He harbours unpleasant memories of school canteens and nasty freeze-dried meals on the Volvo Ocean Race. “I felt like they all tasted the same.” Since then Caudrelier has eaten better on board and enjoys the food choices so much more. “I’ve made progress,” he smiles.” It’s so important to have quality food that you enjoy.”

And so for the last two years his food supplies have been shared between dishes by Lise di Giulo (Nomad’s Kitchen) and the starred chef Éric Guerin (La Mare aux oiseaux). He likes these especially as they really help build his appetite. “One of my favorite dishes is ham pasta with a little truffle.” And then there is “the famous monkfish with Kari Gosse (an Indian-inspired spice mixture). “Armel ate it and he loved it too!” Caudrelier smiles….

Tom Laperche, likes to experiment
“At SVR-Lazartigue, we work with a nutritionist and we rely on several years experience of  races with François Gabart. And it is good that Tom and François also share the same tastes, they like the same things,” confides Isabelle Magois, logistics manager.

The two skippers have an appetite for cans of tuna, dried meat and soy milk. Above all, the two skippers enjoy “composing their own dishes”. On board, there is therefore “one third canned food, one third freeze-dried and the rest homemade”. It is not unusual for Tom to compose his own dishes, in his pressure cooker, to add sauces, tuna, parmesan.  The skipper has stocked up on cheeses and cold meats from a refuge from Les Gets in Haute-Savoie (Marie-Louise’s refuge) but also from Switzerland thanks to the Ravussin brothers who gave him some just before he set off. And one thing different on board SVR-Lazartigue is he has three boxes of six eggs on board to make omelettes. “The boxes are compartmentalized in Tupperware,” explains Isabelle Magois. “We tested this during the return delivery of the Transat Jacques Vabre and they withstood the shocks. Now we will have to wait and see to find out if this will be the case again!”

Thomas Coville looks forward to tea time
On Sodebo, on-board nutrition is a great illustration of the synergy between the team and the Sodebo food company. In fact, the brand’s research and development laboratory develops freeze-dried meals for the skipper. “We’ve been working together for over 20 years,” says Caroline Pommeret, in charge of administration and logistics for the team. These span dishes like ‘ham and purée’ to coral lentil Dahl and which we then modify to Thomas’s tastes and desires.”

The sailor who has been around the world eight times knows precisely what he needs and knows how to adapt to circumstances. On board are a number of foods which were purchased in Brest: baguettes (to be baked twice to be edible for several weeks), fruits and vegetables. As for indulgences, there are cheeses – Comté, Mimolette, Tomme de Savoie – and cold meats – Serrano ham, coppa, Grisons meat – enough to last all the way throughout the race. Thomas is also a chocolate lover: Caroline brought him an assortment from the chocolatier Becasso d’Erdeven. His ultimate pleasure on board is…..a cup of tea and a treat. The squares of chocolate can occasionally be replaced by fruit jellies that his sister gave him, an opportunity to build morale when it is needed.

Armel Le Cléac’h, it has to be good and “no concessions”
Armel Le Cléac’h’s tastes and needs have evolved over time. He has already assured his team that he “does not want to make any concessions” in terms of refueling. He does not want to limit foods by weight. And unlike a Vendée Globe IMOCA, the food does not have to be stacked which makes everyday life much easier. So Armel has learned to enjoy his food more. “He tended to take a lot of the same things,” confides Erwan Steff, logistics manager at ‘Banque Pop’. But that was before  Sébastien Josse, with whom he won the Transat Jacques Vabre, pushed him to “diversify his choices and add some elements of enjoyment and pleasure”. Banque Populaire also works with Nomad Foods. On the menu: veal blanquette, cod brandade, duck parmentier… “Armel eats a lot on board,” smiles Erwan. Among the culinary delights he took on board were Scamorza, an Italian string cheese, chickpea chips, dried meat from Spain and Yuzu sea bass rillette from the Albert Ménès delicatessen.

Anthony Marchand, a  penchant for sweets
On Actual Ultim 3 too they have experience of long races so food and nutrition management is not a problem. “We alternate between freeze-dried, canned dishes, salty and sweet snacks,” says Sandrine Bertho, administrative and logistics director.

“Above all, we work it so that energy needs are adapted to the weather sequences (temperate day, cold, hot). Antho’ is quite simple. As well as classic dishes (Actual is also supplied by Nomad’s Kitchen), on board you will find cheeses and sausages from a farm in Locoal-Mendon, Le P’tit farmer de Kervihan. And Marchand has a sweet tooth “He has plenty of Nutella and Haribo,” says Sandrine Bertho, with a smile, “It’s not super interesting in terms of nutrition but it makes him happy and that is important.”

Éric Péron, “food, my true comfort”
Like Charles Caudrelier, Éric Péron works with chef Éric Guerin for some of his dishes. Theirs is a collaboration which goes back to the last edition of the Route de Rhum, even if the skipper of ULTIM ADAGIO wanted many different choices and suppliers. For Péron it is nigh on impossible to make concessions on the food side. “We know that we are going to expend a lot of energy, that we are sometimes going to suffer physically and mentally, so for me, the real comfort is food,” he confided before leaving. He says he had fun taking foods that he likes.”
“That made me question myself by asking myself ‘but actually what do you like to eat?'” And so his food choces are a tasty mix of what he loved as a child, what he likes now  and lots of other little things”. And among the simple things he appreciates the most, “pasta with olive oil”, ideal for regaining strength before getting back to the helm.

For more information on ARKÉA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest, please click HERE.

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