Please select your home edition
J Composites 2022 - J45 LEADERBOARD

Game on for the Finistère Atlantique

by Gitana Team 2 Jul 10:42 PDT 1 July 2022
Game on for the Finistère Atlantique © Alexis Courcoux

This Friday 1 July, as the epic cycle tour kicks off in Denmark, the giants of the Ultim class gathered together in one of offshore racing's favourite spots, the bay of Port la Forêt, offshore of Concarneau in Brittany.

At 11:00 UTC sharp, pushed along by a timid SW'ly breeze of 6-8 knots, the 32-metre giants set a course for the Glénan archipelago before heading out into the Bay of Biscay. Though renowned for being the heaviest boat of the fleet, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild proved to be particularly agile and quick in the light airs. Indeed, Charles Caudrelier's crew got off to the best start, leading the race from the first few hours at sea.

Figaro sailors very at ease on their home waters

Posting a very fine start, nicely positioned close to the committee boat, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild quickly took control of the fleet and was first around the yellow east cardinal mark at Glenan before favouring the inside track across the bay, leaving the archipelago to port. Actual then mirrored Gitana 17's move, whilst Armel Le Cléac'h and Thomas Coville opted for a more offshore route, leaving the islands to starboard. The option taken by Charles Caudrelier's men appears to have paid off since they were leading the way at the latitude of Penmarc'h at the 15:00 UTC position report.

"The crew is one of our assets"

The Finistère Atlantique - Challenge Action Enfance makes its debut then and with it comes an unprecedented 3,163-mile course across the North Atlantic. It's a distance which compares to that which awaits Charles Caudrelier this November in the legendary Route du Rhum. However, that's where the similarities end since the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild will be racing in crewed format across the Atlantic over the coming days. The line-up comes as no surprise. Indeed, the crew comprising Charles Caudrelier, Franck Cammas, Morgan Lagravière, David Boileau, Erwan Israël and Yann Riou, has remained the same since 2019 and already boasts several feats of arms to its credit, including two victories in the Rolex Fastnet Race (2019, 2021), the Drheam Cup as well as two cracks at the Jules Verne Trophy.

"We have the luxury of being able to opt for stability and a long-term work-up with Gitana Team. This crew knows each other inside out now and works in perfect harmony. We all have extensive knowledge of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and each of us has racked up a lot of miles and experience aboard the boat. We also really enjoy sailing together, which is key to performance to my mind," admitted Charles Caudrelier. "Despite the fact that I've become the solo skipper of the Maxi this year, with the target of the Route du Rhum, Franck and I will operate in a virtually identical manner. However, I'm going to make the most of having two of my Rhum routers with me (Erwan and Franck) to devote all my time to trimming, steering and getting the boat making headway, whilst leaving them to work together on the navigation and weather aspects, which is a job that Franck and I previously shared."

Proving that these two sailors, whose complementary natures no longer need an introduction, overcame the divide of titles and roles many moons ago, it was Franck Cammas who was at the helm at the start to take the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild offshore..

A varied forecast across the course

Charles Caudrelier explained the situation yesterday after the weather briefing: "the start will be complicated because there won't be much breeze. We'll have to get off to a good start and extract ourselves nicely so that we're the first to hook onto the steadier breeze that awaits us offshore."

So, it's job done at the start for the men of Gitana Team!

The journey southwards, and the notorious Cape Finisterre, won't be possible on a direct course alas. In fact, it won't be until late in the day, or in the evening on Saturday that the front runners will have to negotiate the north-west tip of Spain. Once there, the fleet will experience a change of atmosphere with more boisterous, shifty conditions expected offshore of the Iberian peninsula due to the thermal low pressure system centred over Spain. Right now, the trade wind seems to be in position with a moderate 15-20 knots of NE'ly wind, which will propel the Finistère Atlantique Challenge Action Enfance fleet towards Madeira and then on to the Canaries. Their current ETA for this passage is set for very early next week.

Action Enfance, a partner that gets stuck in

On Thursday morning, the day before the start, the skippers competing in the Finistère Atlantique accompanied around twenty children and adolescents from the ACTION ENFANCE foundation to the Glénan archipelago, where they were able to share some quality time and relish their exchanges at the heart of what is an exceptional backdrop.

The encounter was also an opportunity for the four sailors present - Charles Caudrelier, Armel Le Cléac'h, Thomas Coville and Amélie Grassi - to provide a valuable insight into the marine universe to these children who've had a tough life and had no previous knowledge of the sea.

The morning rounded off with a tour of the four maxi-trimarans dockside in Concarneau for the children, who were impressed and curious to know what the living conditions were like aboard these giants of the seas.

The Finistère Atlantique Challenge Action Enfance

3,163-mile course across the North Atlantic
Concarneau, the Glénan archipelago, Madeira, Lanzarote (Canaries), Santa Maria (Azores), Concarneau (Brittany)

Crew on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild

  • Charles Caudrelier, skipper
  • Franck Cammas, helm, navigator
  • Morgan Lagravière, helm, trimmer
  • David Boileau, trimmer, bowman
  • Erwan Israël, helm, trimmer
  • Yann Riou, media crew, helm

The entries

  • Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
  • Banque Populaire XI
  • Sodebo Ultim 3
  • Actual Leade

Related Articles

Maxi Edmond de Rothschild win Finistère Atlantique
Outright victory in six days five hours 28 minutes and 38 seconds Six days 5 hours 28 minutes and 38 seconds later, the men aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild were first across the finish line to take outright victory. Posted on 7 Jul
Finistère Atlantique reaching its conclusion
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild opting for a N'ly option whilst Banque Populaire XI favoured the east Currently battling it out at the latitude of Cape Finisterre, both crews were brought up on a diet of one-design competitions as past Figaro sailors, which means that racing with daggers drawn is very much part of their DNA. Posted on 6 Jul
Charles Caudrelier qualifies for the Route du Rhum
Securing his entry ticket for yachting's main event of 2022 With five months to go until the start of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, Charles Caudrelier has secured his entry ticket for yachting's main event of 2022. Posted on 8 Jun
The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild relaunched
After a five-month refit ahead of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe Early yesterday morning, the large doors to the Gitana shed were opened to release the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild from her five-month refit. Posted on 11 May
FlyingOffshore - Gitana Team launches its series
The five episodes that make up the first opus are now available to watch Almost a year ago, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild had to turn back at the gateway to the Deep South, the damage to one of the 32m giant's float rudders effectively putting any Jules Verne Trophy dreams on hold. Posted on 27 Jan
The curtain falls on 2021 season for Gitana Team
No Jules Verne Trophy attempt this winter On 23 November, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier took the win in the Ultime category of the Transat Jacques Vabre with real panache, adding yet another victory to the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild's list of achievements. Posted on 8 Dec 2021
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild wins TJV
Cammas & Caudrelier cross the finish line between the Trois Ilets and Fort-de-France marina They waited for the sun to shine over Martinique before lining the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild up with Diamond Rock and taking full advantage of their crushing victory in the Transat Jacques Vabre. Posted on 23 Nov 2021
Transat Jacques Vabre - A 2nd doldrums to finish
Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are still dominating play in the Ultime category Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are still dominating play in the Ultime category, leading the fleet for the 12th consecutive day out of the fourteen that so far make up this 2021 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. Posted on 21 Nov 2021
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild on the home straight
The five-arrow giant has set a course for Martinique This Friday morning, shortly before 07:00 UTC, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier rounded the final compulsory course mark on the 7,500-mile Ultime course. Posted on 19 Nov 2021
DIY and doldrums for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
Last night was far from relaxing for the duo aboard the Ultim trimaran Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas have managed to increase their lead at the head of the race before they start tackling one of the dreaded passages in this Transat Jacques Vabre tomorrow; the doldrums! Posted on 13 Nov 2021
SOUTHERN-SPARS-OFFICIAL-SUPPLIER-52-SS728-X-90 BottomUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTERC-Tech 2021 America's Cup 728x90 BOTTOM