Ultims – Anthony Marchand – “It’s not been easy!”

Fourth placed ARKÉA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest skipper Anthony Marchand has really been feeling the fatigue recently. His last few days have been especially trying. In light airs for a week he has constantly been on the alert working what little breezes he has had, and all the time fighting against any comeback of Éric Péron. The heat has been truly oppressive but he has stuck to task and is still enjoying the challenges of his first ever solo round the world race. And his hard work has delivered a small dividend. His is now over 500 miles ahead of Péron’s ULTIM ADAGIO and his ETA on the finish line is early next week.

Antho’ it hasn’t been easy these last few days, you had to work hard through the doldrums but you got through them well in the end. How do you sum up these last few days?
There were so many transitions to deal with. Sometimes along the coast, I wanted to fall asleep, I had the impression that I was on the verge of just blacking out, that I was going to run aground. We had to do a lot of manoeuvres, sail changes, J2, J1. It wasn’t easy. But in the end, it paid off being close to the coast. It was a hard but rewarding time.

It seems like for all of the skippers on this ARKEA ULTM CHALLENGE-Brest, the climb up the South Atlantic was complex…
I haven’t really watched the others too much but it’s clear that it hasn’t been easy for anyone. I had the feeling that the weather was never in my favour. Even looking ahead for me right now for the future, it doesn’t look fun!

What exactly do the next few days look like?
Initially it will be quite simple with a passage due north up to the Azores anticyclone. Then, there will be two options: either a route south of the anticyclone, more reaching, or around the anticyclone to find a more downwind route. The low pressure systems are rather active, there will be a lot of sea afterwards… We are still thinking about the best option to take.

The first three finishes did not make you envious?
There was no jealousy on my part. I still have a way to go and I want to finish this adventure properly. It’s not just a story of positions, of ranking, it’s really just a big adventure. I have one week left to take advantage of it and finish in a good way.

You sail on a foiling ULTIM which has not had a working foil since the Indian… How do you manage to adapt to that?
Well you just have to deal with it, that’s how it is! It’s been so long that I’m not going to complain every day. I try to do the best with what I have. It’s not pleasant when it slams but now it has no impact on my morale. I will have done three quarters of the race without a foil, that’s not nothing!

What were your last moments of real pleasure on board?
The most pleasant moments are sunsets and sunrises. Now there aren’t too many moons anymore. I’ve had beautiful starry nights but now it’s dark!

Did you know that the Brest football team continues in its winning ways?
I didn’t follow this weekend… Did they win? Ah, it’s really great for the people of Brest, for Brest… I’m happy for them, happy that a Breton club is at the highest level. It’s nice!

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Jeanneau JY55
NAV at Home
Jeanneau JY55
NAV at Home