Ultims – Thoughts shared…

Three different ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest skippers spoke of their differing fortunes this evening. Thomas Coville, Anthony Marchand and Charles Caudrelier.

Thomas Coville was arriving into Hobart, Tasmania for his technical stopover. As he stops Armel Le Cléac’h should take over second place in the next few hours, although the skipper of Banque Populaire XI is actually routing north of Tasmania to avoid a big storm to his south.

Coville said this evening “We are entering Hobart Bay, I am rounding a point at the extreme south of Tasmania still in 30 knots of wind with a swell of five to six meters. I am out of the cockpit and I saw my first lighthouse for three weeks. The moon is very high in the clouds which lights up the scene like shadows from a Chinese lantern. The enormous cliff here is called Mount Midway, the island on my port side is Tasmania. The wind is channeled by the cliff wall, but the swell stops at the point and that feels good. I am extremely frustrated with this stopover, it is a disaster from a result point of view, but from a safety point of view, it is the right decision, a requirement in the sense of marine safety. And so here I am Adventure Bay, just before Hobart Bay.”

Anthony Marchand left Cape Town three days ago. He is sailing due south, at the edge of the ice zone sometimes, with the Kerguelen Islands on his horizon – he passed around them today. Marchand, skipper of Actual was expecting a different tempo in the Indian Ocean. “I have a soft patch ahead, it it is not going as fast as I hoped, I’m never really straight east. And now a low pressure system will not give me a load of wind, before I can go downwind to Cape Leeuwin, with quite a few gybes to do. Mine are nothing like Charles’ routes… but, hey, it is what it is.”

Marchand is finding it chilly, too “The cold arrived very suddenly. It’s 5 degrees the meteo files say. You get used to everything out here: the speed, the lack of sleep, the temperature. With layers of clothing, it’s bearable. The sea is not so cold, which is not bad, especially since it is the sea that bothers us more than the wind strength. The sea is a little rough, not special, but not very big; it’s manageable and pleasant. Really, life on board remains OK.”

At half a day to Point Nemo in the depths of the Pacific, the race leader Charles Caudrelier has nothing really to complain about…“I have never been cold,” chuckles the skipper of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild during the Ultim LIVE show this evening, “I’m in base layer still I wear a hat sometimes at night. But then I’m going to have a southerly wind of 30 knots soon. So maybe I’ll change my mind! But so far I’ve only had northerly winds.”

Caudrelier fully acknowledges that he has been spoiled by the weather, and the sequence is not over:
“We are sliding along nicely the conditions are good, I’m not complaining. It is a hassle for my rivals. Of course it is a thousand different things could still happen, but if I manage to get my boat back to Brest, unless there is a big problem, I should arrive first. In the Indian and in the Atlantic, I haven’t stopped working on the boat. but for the moment, things are going well. This is a race, not a record, I must keep that in perspective.
His routings suggest Cape Horn in four to five days. And the finish? “It’s far away, I try not to think about it too much.”

Text Credits: ARKEA Ultim Challenge

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