Please select your home edition
Hyde Sails 2022 One Design SALE LEADERBOARD

Finistère Atlantique: A suspenseful conclusion to the race

by Gitana Team 6 Jul 09:43 PDT
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild © Yann Riou / polaRYSE / GITANA SA

The top duo in the Finistère Atlantique - Challenge Action Enfance are treating us to a thrilling conclusion to the race.

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.

Despite radically different options yesterday after the Azores passage, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild opting for a N'ly option whilst Banque Populaire XI favoured the east, the two giants are now side by side again for less than 600 miles from the finish. At the 17:00 UTC position report, Charles Caudrelier's men had snatched back control of the fleet, just 5.5 miles ahead of their closest rival.

Oceanic match racing

Charles Caudrelier was in no doubt during his video conference: "You must be relishing the match back on land!" Indeed, it's fair to say that the mano a mano offered up by the crews on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and Banque Populaire is proving to be extremely entertaining, given how uncertain the outcome is and how thrilling a race it is to follow. Each of them is clearly intent on crossing the finish line with no regrets and the sailors are giving their absolute all in the tacking frenzy that is punctuating the last few miles to the finish line.

"We chose a N'ly option yesterday, as the route along the length of Portugal seemed too boisterous and unrealistic, whilst Banque Populaire went for an E'ly option. That took us away from the direct route, but that's the option we wanted to take and we stuck to our guns. They clearly had other ideas. They're in the process of coming up to the north again now and we may reconverge over the course of today."

Franck Cammas was right! Late yesterday, after more than 48 very intense hours sailing within sight of one another, the two giants split apart. However, this separation was short-lived.

"In some ways, they're our worst enemy right now, even though we have lots of friends aboard Banque Populaire," mused Charles Caudrelier. "Our option to the north wasn't as fruitful as expected, but we're very close again now and it's game on once more! They're sailing very well and forcing us to bring our A game. We're delighted at how much we're learning in this race."

Intensity and fatigue

After five days of intense racing, the fatigue is beginning to set in among the sailors given how demanding conditions are in this race climax.

Questioned by Yann Riou in the early hours, Franck Cammas provided some insight into the night watch that had just come to an end: "There's quite a lot of clouds and instability in the air so it's hard to trim the boat and it's also difficult to go as fast as the routing is predicting. You really have to be on top of things, though it's easier to handle that in crewed format rather than single or double-handed. We can't see a lot right now. There's no moon at the moment and you can't see a lot at night, so sometimes it's better to sail the boat under autopilot, which doesn't need vision as it relies on its sensors, so that works better."

A few hours afterwards, around late morning, Charles Caudrelier echoed this sentiment: "We spent the night tacking in 18-20 knots of breeze and heavy seas. Conditions are very variable, it's lively and the watches require a great deal of concentration."

Arrival in Concarneau tomorrow evening, Thursday

Over the next 24hrs we'll continue on a beat with an average breeze of around 18 knots. We'll attempt to get around and close on the zone of high pressure to our left and our north before linking onto a straight tack towards Brittany in the hope that the wind will shift round to the north as planned. It's set to be a close run match all the way to the wire!" explained Franck Cammas. We've got the picture. With less than 600 miles to go, it's still anyone's game. However, there is one thing which everyone seems to agree on: the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and Banque Populaire XI will be back in the bay of Port la Forêt, where the outcome of the first edition of the Finistère Atlantique - Challenge Action Enfance will be decided, by tomorrow evening, Thursday 7 July. For greater precision about the time, we must wait a little longer yet...

Positions at the ranking of 17:00 UTC:

    1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at 584,5 nm of the finish
    2. Banque Populaire XI at 5.5 nm of the leader
    3. Sodebo Ultim 3 at 170 nm of the leader
    4. Actual Leader at 259,6 nm of the leader

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

Related Articles

The Rhum is an immense pleasure for sharing!
Charles Caudrelier realised a childhood dream by securing victory in the 12th Route du Rhum One week ago to the day, in the pitch black of a night in Guadeloupe after 6 days 19 hours 47 minutes and 25 seconds of intense effort, Charles Caudrelier realised a childhood dream by securing victory in the 12th Route du Rhum- Destination Guadeloupe. Posted on 23 Nov
The Ultims at the gateway to the trades
In the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe Setting sail from Saint Malo on Wednesday, this is the fourth day at sea for the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe. Posted on 13 Nov
Redress granted to Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
The decision has been passed on to the boat by Race Management Since Wednesday at 14:15 hrs, Charles Caudrelier, deemed to have crossed the start line of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe too early, was the subject of a procedure. Posted on 11 Nov
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild set for Route du Rhum
138 contenders will finally be able to bid farewell to France The three-day delay announced by Race Management last Saturday, due to poor weather conditions at the start of the course, was undoubtedly a very good and wise decision. Posted on 8 Nov
Route du Rhum: The countdown is on in Saint Malo
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild preparing for a lively start Now just four days away from the start of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, the safety briefing, which gathered together the one-hundred and thirty-eight sailors competing in the 2022 edition, set the tone. Posted on 3 Nov
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild docks into Saint Malo
Ahead of the La Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe At sunset yesterday, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and her skipper Charles Caudrelier made their grand entrance into the Bassin Vauban. Posted on 27 Oct
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
Game on for the Finistère Atlantique
The 32-metre giants set a course for the Glénan archipelago 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. Posted on 2 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
Upffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTERLloyd Stevenson - Artnautica60 728x90px BOTTOMMarine Resources 2022 Salary Survey FOOTER