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Arkea Ultim Challenge - Brest - Historic Cape Horn for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild

by Gitana Team 6 Feb 12:16 PST 6 February 2024
Arkea Ultim Challenge - Brest © Yann Riou / polaRYSE / Gitana S.A.

Back in the Atlantic after more than eighteen days in the Southern Ocean! The Arkea Ultim Challenge - Brest finish is still a long way off for its leader - more than 7,000 theoretical miles left to cover - but this Tuesday 6 February will remain a key date in Charles Caudrelier's round the world race.

The skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild crossed the longitude of Cape Horn, at the southern tip of Latin America, at 17:08'40'' UTC, after 30 days 4 hours 38 minutes and 40 seconds of racing. The fourth Horn in his career, it is his first in solo format. It is also the first time in history that a flying maxi-trimaran has made this legendary passage. Excited and happy to have done with the Southern Ocean, one of the Horn's deserved nicknames is the Tough Cape or the Cape of deliverance, the sailor of Gitana Team dedicated this third and final cape to his operators and his team.

Three out of three

Leader of the Arkea Ultim Challenge since 17 January, Charles Caudrelier put up a faultless performance today. After Good Hope and Leeuwin, the Horn is now astern of the Gitana Team. This Tuesday 6 February, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild crossed the longitude of Cape Horn, located at the southernmost tip of Hornos Island in the Chilean section of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, at 17 hours 8 minutes and 40 seconds (UTC) after 30 days 4 hours 38 minutes and 40 seconds of racing. It equates to the 4th fastest time in the history of round the worlds and the 2nd fastest in solo format. Indeed, whilst Gitana 17 managed to secure the Indian Ocean record on 28 January with a new time of 8 days 8 hours 20 minutes and 36 seconds, that of the Pacific escaped him. François Gabart took 29 days 03 hours and 15 minutes between Ushant and Cape Horn during his victorious Saint-Exupéry Trophy in 2017.

The skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is back in the Atlantic after more than 18 days navigating the austral seas. From Cape Agulhas, the reference passage point in South Africa, which marks the entry into the Indian and the Southern Ocean, to the mythical and legendary Cape Horn this Tuesday, the five-arrow giant covered over 11,900 miles, at an average speed of 28 knots. This figure is all the more significant given that the passage across the Pacific was punctuated by a 48-hour 'break', between Thursday 1 and Saturday 3 February, as the skipper intentionally slowed down the pace to allow a vast low-pressure system to roll through, which was blocking the exit around the Horn.

Charles Caudrelier on rounding Cape Horn

"To my mind, this cape represents so many things. It's my fourth, but this one is historic! It's historic for me; my first single-handed passage. It's historic for the boat, for Gitana Team as well as for sailing, as she's the first flying maxi-trimaran to round Cape Horn. We pulled it off! In 2017, the Gitana Team launched this revolutionary boat, which was created three years earlier with Guillaume Verdier's teams. Seven years on, the vision of this team, of its operators - Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild - has resulted in us deservedly leading the fleet around Cape Horn. It will go down in history; it's magical. Inevitably it's magical for me too. What an emotional moment to round Cape Horn single-handed. I've dreamed of it since I was a kid yet I'd never done it. I was given the opportunity to do so and I ran with it. I'm proud of myself and of all the team. It's a passage point. There's still a long way to go, but even if I don't win the race, I'll have led around Cape Horn and that's important. It is etched on my memory. It's an important stage, but we've still got some work ahead of us. My boat is in good condition. She's not perfect, but I have a boat which can just about sail at her full potential. My aim now is to control the lead we have and to complete the course. I can win this race. I know I can and the others know it too."

The first days climbing back up the Atlantic

"The next stage is not easy. I still have 4-5 slightly complicated days ahead of me, but once I've hooked onto the trade wind offshore of Rio, from that moment on we know the way, with a straight-line course at least as far as the Azores. After that, I don't know what the end of the course has in store for us. The aim is to get the boat powering along as fast as possible in the trade wind, as there is still some strong breeze and some transitions. However, we have a massive lead and I'm going to try to manage it."

Ranking on Tuesday 6 February at the 19:00 UTC position report

1/ Maxi Edmond de Rothschild - Charles Caudrelier
2/ Maxi Banque Populaire XI - Armel Le Cleac'h - 2,756.4 miles behind the leader
3/ Sodebo Ultim 3 - Thomas Coville - 3,055,1 miles behind the leader (on a pit stop in Hobart)
4/ Actual Ultim 3 - Anthony Marchand - 5,979,5 miles behind the leader
5/ Ultim Adagio - Eric Peron 7,514,2 miles behind the leader


SVR Lazartigue - Tom Laperche

Find the tracker here.

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