Ultims – Five skippers, five different challenges under scrutiny

In the space of one week, three skippers have passed Cape Horn, first, on 6th February, was Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild), second was Armel Le Cléac’h (Maxi Banque Populaire XI) on Saturday and third very early yesterday morning was Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3). They are now continuing their climb up the Atlantic, moving inexorably closer to the finish, looking forwards to being home. At the same time, Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim 3) and Éric Péron (ULTIM ADAGIO) experience mixed fortunes.

Here is an update skipper by skipper with new ETAs with the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest Race Director, Guillaume Rottee.

Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, 1st)
“This last week, Charles has undoubtedly had the most complicated phase of his round the world race. Since the Horn the climb has not been ideal in terms of speed with an anticyclone to get round then a depression which he then had to face with particularly vicious winds and cross seas. He continues to move forward reasonably while preserving his boat as much as possible. The skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is still progressing upwind in an easing wind. Normally, Charles should begin to connect with the trade winds tonight, perhaps tomorrow morning. Then he should have a good angle to  make a fairly rapid route to the Equator and then to the latitude of the Canaries.”

ETA as of today: At Equator (Saturday 17 – Sunday 18), on the finish line (Saturday 24 – Sunday 25)

Armel Le Cléac’h (Maxi Banque Populaire XI, 2nd)
“Since yesterday Armel has had to face a big depression with big seas which forced him to move closer to the coast for shelter. He is sailing behind a front getting gusts of 40 to 45 knots of wind. The wind is very unstable in strength and direction and he certainly has to deal with the passages of several squalls. The Maxi Banque Populaire XI will stay behind the front until the end day and tonight, until conditions improve. Armel should find himself in more acceptable conditions and could then follow the way Charles is going. He will connect with the trade winds and the wind will be more favorable all the way to the Azores without having to carry out a lot of maneuvers.” 

ETA as of today: Equator (Wednesday 21 – Thursday 22), on the finish line (Monday 26 – Tuesday 27)

© Armel Le Cleac'h / Maxi Banque Populaire XI
© Armel Le Cleac’h / Maxi Banque Populaire XI

Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3, 3rd)
“Thomas is sailing in conditions similar to what Armel has but a just a bit less. He has a little less wind, 20 to 25 knots since he is positioned further west of this depression. We observe that he is less comfortable on one tack which may be due to the problem he has already had or to the state of the sea. Then he will get into a fairly similar pattern to Armel. It is also possible that he will manage to get closer to Armel at the end of the week.” 

ETA as of today: Equator (Thursday 22 – Friday 23), on the finish line (Tuesday 27 – Wednesday 28)

Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim 3, 4th)
“Anthony Marchand is sailing in fairly strong southwesterly winds which should strengthen to around 30 to 35 knots with gusts of 40 to 45 knots. Actual Ultim 3 is compromised without a port foil and  his starboard foil which has been blocked in the high position. In fact his boat is now very much configured to a mode equivalent to that of the ULTIM ADAGIO, an ‘Archimedean’ boat. And ‘Antho’ has an unfavorable weather situation for reaching Cape Horn. He sails into a depression in front of him. It’s as if he saw a wave in front of him without actually being able to get forwards to surf it.”

ETA as of today: Cape Horn (Sunday 18) 

Éric Péron (ULTIM ADAGIO, 5th)
“Unlike Antho, Eric will be carried by a front for several days in the Pacific. His trend is a slight catch up with Marchand’s ULTIM ADAGIO. But the gap should widen again when crossing Cape Horn. To be continued!” 

ETA as of today: At Cape Horn (Thursday 22 – Friday 23)

© Eric Péron - ULTIM ADAGIO
© Eric Péron – ULTIM ADAGIO

To keep up to date with ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE, please visit https://www.arkeaultimchallengebrest.com follow on:


Race Yachts
West Systems
Jeanneau JY55
Selden Asymetric Rib Technology
Race Yachts
JPK 11.80 July 2024