Ultims – Éric Péron (ULTIM ADAGIO) – “I’m proud to be among those who dared”

A round the world race is a concentrated package of everything – doubts, moments of great joy, damage and small victories. After days on end in light airs, Éric Péron, 5th in the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest, is back in testing conditions in the trade winds. With 2800 miles to go to the finish, the skipper of the ULTIM ADAGIO is pushing hard to attempt to finish next week. He looks back at his race, his contest with Anthony Marchand and his pride at taking part in this maiden edition of a race that he now wants to finish quickly.

You were not spared over the past few days in very light winds, before you got going again yesterday… How did you deal with that transition?
It’s clear that along with Anthony, we weren’t spared in the South Atlantic. We had almost 2000 miles sailing upwind in light airs. There was a ridge of high pressure in the South and then the Doldrums… I wasn’t lucky with days of sailing just fifty miles. It was very tiring and stressful. I had to keep at it and unlike what you might think, it puts a lot of strain on the equipment. It was tough.
Can you sum up for us what lies ahead?
I now have three days of reaching with the trade winds. It’s a bit punishing with some strong winds, 20-25 knots and boat-breaking seas. It’s going to be a bit tough until Saturday morning and then I should pick up a warm front to get to the finish.
For a while, you narrowed the gap to Anthony Marchand (4th) before he extended his lead again… Was this match within the match interesting?
Yes I got closer to him, but when there’s no wind, you cannot expect miracles. I needed to do another 180 miles to catch him, but he got out of the Doldrums before me and his lead quickly extended. The match is over. He has enough of a lead to manage that to the finish. Unless there is some sort of problem, it’s not likely to change.

How did you feel about the first three boats finishing?
It was a bit strange to experience these finishes, particularly as I could follow them on Internet from the boat. I looked at the interviews, reactions and protocol a bit… It was interesting, emotional. I am proud to be one of those sailors who dared. I can’t wait for my turn to come.
You have been at sea now for sixty days. How do you feel?
I want to finish the race cleanly. I’m going to have to put up with some rough conditions until Saturday morning. The current conditions are a bit nasty. We had ten days of light conditions and now we have the trade winds on the beam, which is something we always fear on a multihull. But we are gradually getting there.
Are you in a hurry to finish now?
Yes, of course, I can’t wait to experience the finish. I enjoy being aboard my boat, as it feels we are at one together. It’s bound to be a bit of a downer at the finish, because the adventure will be ending there, but I want to go all the way.

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