Ultims – Race update
- “Charles’ race is inspiring!”

This Friday evening ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest leader Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild) has about 600 miles left to sail to the longitude of Tasmania and the entrance to the Pacific. Second placed Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3) reported that he has repaired his foil lowering mechanism and he has less than 1200 miles to go to Cape Leeuwin. In third Armel Le Cléac’h  had been catching miles on Coville and is going well just NW of the Kerguelens. Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim) has started his repairs in Cape Town where Éric Péron (ADAGIO) is now headed after rudder damage early this morning.

Charles’ race is inspiring!”

THE ROUTERS REPLAY THE WEEK, 3. Every Friday we talk to the routers. During this third week of racing, Charles Caudrelier has just entered the Pacific, Anthony Marchand and Éric Péron suffered damage while Thomas Coville and Armel Le Cléac’h progressed well in the Indian Ocean. Erwan Israel (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild), Philippe Legros (Sodebo) and Nicolas Lunven (Banque Populaire) look back on a particularly eventful week. They also talk of two crossings of the Indian Ocean that have seen completely different conditions.

The seemingly crazy charge of Charles Caudrelier. “Dream conditions”

Erwan Israel (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild):
 “ We were lucky to benefit from this depression in the South Atlantic which propelled us across the Indian Ocean with really optimal conditions. There was no seaway to speak of and a stable wind, Charles was sailing ahead of a front.  This allowed us not to have to manoeuvre, to look after the boat and the skipper: they were dream conditions! He was able to take advantage of this depression for as long as possible really until the Kerguelens. Then, Charles progressed downwind with a westerly wind. Before this southern depression that he is currently managing, he had a little less wind but he still maintained very manageable conditions. ”

Philippe Legros (Sodebo Ultim 3): “ Charles’ race is inspiring! He has probably had some minor damage but they didn’t seem to impact on him. As shown by his time spent at Cape Leeuwin, we see that he had a dream Indian Ocean with flat seas and not too strong winds. He managed to be at the front at the right time. He has had the perfect crossing! Bravo to him! We inevitably think of SVR-Lazartigue which had managed to be on the same schedule before suffering their damage. But for now, hats off to this great sailor, this great boat and this great team who are all in together. ”

Nicolas Lunven (Banque Populaire): “ This week again, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was in complete control as we have seen since the start of the race. It’s one hell of a performance! Charles held fairly high averages. He showed his stamina by stringing together all these gybes along the ZEA (Antarctic Exclusion Zone) last Wednesday. It’s not easy to maneuver aboard these boats, it required a lot of commitment on his part. “


Coville and Le Cléac’h in the Indian Ocean. “It was tough!”

Philippe Legros: “ It’s been tough! We had a complicated week. Off the coast of South Africa, we were fighting to hold on to the front. It was difficult but promising except that the foil damage made us miss the train. It reduced the boat’s capabilities and dropped it to the the back of the system and then into very complicated sequences with no easy route. Thomas has never had smooth seas, only variable and strong winds, cross seas. And in the end we decided to take a very northern route so as not to face the very harsh conditions further south and to be able to take advantage of it to repair what can be.”

Erwan Israel: “ We had idyllic conditions in the Indian and it’s been a bit the opposite for the others. Thomas Coville had to work at the back of a front that he had no chance of overtaking. He was forced to stay behind and then there was a cyclone coming down from the North and cutting off his route. This forced him to take a slower and more conservative route. For Armel Le Cléac’h also the conditions are quite tough and not really favourable.”

Nicolas Lunven: “ For Armel, the week was pretty good. He does not work in the same weather system as Charles but he gradually is getting back to that of Thomas. Armel had a difficult South Atlantic, with fairly weak winds which extended his route to the South. But the start of the Indian is a bit of a straight line towards the East, with averages around 30-35 knots. Last night, he did a little checking and fixing stuff but he has been going quick enough.”

he damages for Marchand and Péron. “It’s never deserved”

Philippe Legros: “ We obviously feel sad for them. The more that are racing the better we all are. There is always an element of luck of randomness and it is never deserved. I hope they will manage to get going. And we feel lucky, despite the difficulties that Thomas has gone through, to have had no damage yet.”

Erwan Israel: “ It’s really a shame. For the moment we have a boat at 100% of its capabilities, everyone knows that part of the success is down to luck. If we hadn’t hit anything during the Transat Jacques Vabre, we had hit a container on the front float during the return delivery. For the moment it is a fact: we do not have tools which are efficient enough to detect any objects in front of us.”

Nicolas Lunven: “ It’s always sad. These are some big disappointments that you never wish on anyone. The only thing we can hope for is that they can leave again as quickly as possible. Even if the chances of SVR-Lazartigue returning to race are slim, it would be really good for the project, for Tom, for his team. The opportunity to sail around the world is rare and it is not just a about sport. It’s also an adventure, a rare challenge that he deserves to complete, just like Anthony and all the others.”

What awaits them. “In the real Southern Ocean.”

Erwan Israel : “ For just under 24 hours, we have been managing a real southern depression which requires us to take a detour to the North. There were 30 to 35 knots of average wind last night so the idea is to sail carefully to have less sea and wind. Charles is in an unstable zone where depressions circulate a little less well, with many transition zones. After having got our of the first depression, tomorrow we will be under the influence of a ridge then again of a depression on Sunday. It’s a bit like the depression train! ”

Philippe Legros : “ The rest of the Indian is still complex for us because of the strength of the wind. We will have several more days of strong winds. We are trying to preserve the boat as much as possible, to reduce sail, to be vigilant, especially as we are going to enter this corridor bound by Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. We are truly in touch with the Southern Ocean in their violence, their savagery.”

Nicolas Lunven: “ Armel will continue to sail in interesting conditions in the days to come. It’s going well in the sense that the boat is at 100% of its potential and the skipper is motivated and ready to attack. The race is long, it is important to keep a boat at maximum capacity for as long as possible. Afterwards, we don’t really look at what others are doing, we prefer to concentrate on our race, our conditions and do everything to preserve Armel and his boat.”


The state of fatigue. “No way of reflecting the effort that is put in ”

Erwan Israel: “ On Wednesday, Charles did a series of gybes along the ice zone and he was obviously tired. Now he is on a long gybe which gives him the opportunity to rest. Mentally and physically, he is quite serene and strong. We know that he can go much further towards his limits but our goal is to preserve things. We are in management mode, we try to reduce maneuvers and sail changes. In terms of our collective state of mind, it is more of a world tour than a race such as it was the case in the days following the start.”

Philippe Legros: “ Thomas looks to himself. He has no measure of effort, he goes towards his limits and he returns, he is remarkably drive. With all his experience of these areas, of these boats, he manages to manage himself, to push himself to the limit while knowing when he needs to recover. His experience is really valuable so as not to be too in the red despite what he is going through.”

Nicolas Lunven“ Armel doesn’t seem to be too tired.  We would see that if he was sailing under-canvased, if he was reluctant to do certain maneuvers.  Even if it’s hard, we see that he is on the attack and on the lookout. This reflects good form and great motivation! ”

Ultims currently pit stopping in Cape Town:
SVR Lazartigue – Tom Laperche
Actual Ultim 3 – Anthony Marchand
Ultim Adagio – Eric Peron

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

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