Ultims – Le Cléac’h is back on track

After a little more than 48 hours of technical stopover in Rio de Janeiro, ARKÉA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest skipper Armel Le Cléac’h and his ULTIM Maxi Banque Populaire XI have returned to the race track. He docked out from Rio at a little after 1630hrs UTC and resumed racing in third place at 1738hrs UTC.

Thanks to great cooperation from the authorities in France and Brazil the Banque Populaire XI technical team were able to replace the two rudders damaged in the South Atlantic. On leaving the dock Le Cléac’h said his only ambition is to get to the finish line of the race.

“It has been an incredible logistical feat,” explained Le Cléac’h, “An important chain of solidarity was put in place and allowed us to leave as quickly as possible.”

Le Cléac’h’s technical stopover lasted a little more than two days since it began on Friday, in the bay of Rio de Janeiro at 1417hrs on Friday. On site they had five members of the technical team who were already waiting for Armel Le Cléac’h.

“The team first carried out a technical assessment to evaluate all the damage,” explained the skipper. They had to make good two damages, one which occurred last Tuesday following a collision with the port float rudder, the second hit was on Thursday on the central rudder. “

The two replacement rudders were transported from France and were received on site at 3 a.m today (local time, 7 a.m. in France)

“We were fortunate to be helped by many people, at the French embassy in Brazil, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and even Brazilian customs. All of them allowed us to have the rudders available so quickly,” explains Le Cléac’h. “ I would like to share my warmest appreciation for those who helped us over the last two days.”
The assembly of the rudders therefore was completed this morning, Sunday.
“The team remained 100% focused on optimizing the repair as much as possible and allowing me to return to sea.”

Although he helped where he could with the repairs, Armel also took the opportunity to rest. “It’s been more than 40 days since I’ve been able to sleep a full night or take a shower. I was able to rest well.” However, there is no question for Armel of any relief from the pressure. “I didn’t have time to really take time off, I stayed on the boat a lot and I didn’t switch off from race mode at all.”

Having lost second place to Coville again last night Le Cléac’h  said today, “I don’t want to look ahead ahead but we absolutely know that everything is still possible in this round the world race. All the boats are tired, the sailors are tired and this race is extraordinary, destiny can change in a fraction of seconds. All I want to do is get to the finish line, I want to go to the end to be able to finish this extraordinary adventure”.

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