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Arkea Ultim Challenge - Brest: Charles Caudrelier and Maxi Edmond de Rothschild back on racetrack

by Gitana Team 24 Feb 07:08 PST 24 February 2024
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at Arkea Ultim Challenge © M.Le Roux / polaRYSE / GITANA S.A

After a three-day wait in Horta, in the main marina of the island of Faial, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild headed back out to sea this Saturday 24 February at 10:45 UTC, which equates to a stopover of around seventy-eight hours.

Charles Caudrelier originally sought refuge in the Azores at daybreak on Wednesday 21 February to let some very bad weather roll through in the North Atlantic on the approach to Brest. Though conditions are forecast to be lively for the 1,200-mile passage, which the leader of the Arkea Ultim Challenge still has to cover to reach the finish, they are now deemed acceptable in the eyes of the skipper of Gitana Team and his routing cell to cast off and head back out to the open ocean. It is set to be a prudent passage in the stormy tail of a depression with a new ETA for the finish in Brest reckoned to be between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.

Watch the video of the departure from Horta this Saturday morning:

Patience is a virtue

To be in race mode whilst being on land is a much tougher exercise than it might seem, especially just 1,200 miles from the finish in a circumnavigation of the globe. Lasting a few days, this break imposed by the weather forecast after 44 days at sea, having covered more than 27,000 miles, is rather special but not unprecedented. Sailors everywhere, and Charles Caudrelier first and foremost, know that at this time of year, the Bay of Biscay often refuses to play ball.

Since the middle of the week, accompanied by the members of his shore team who have provided crucial support by bringing the 32-metre giant dockside along the legendary quay in Horta, Charles Caudrelier has had to adapt his gameplan and be patient. Indeed, it was important to let the few days of very bad weather synonymous with Storm Louis pass over the top of him on its way to lash the French coast. This was especially true given that behind this vast depression a sequence of other boisterous systems are laying in ambush.

The wind conditions and the sea state in particular to the north of the Azores and further into the Bay of Biscay are taking a lot of work to decipher as the team tries to find a decent trajectory with acceptable sailing conditions for the sailor and his 32-metre giant, as Erwan Israël explains: "We have had to let a very extensive low-pressure system roll through by the name of Louis, but which the routing cell here refer to as L1. However, what concerns us more directly today is another depression (L2, editor's note). It's a much less vast system than the previous one, but it's still a very vigorous one with 50 knots measured to the west of it offshore of Brittany on Sunday. In reality, L2 is an old tropical depression, created in the Gulf of Mexico several days ago, which rumbled along the US coast and then climbed to the south of Newfoundland. It hitched a ride on the train of depressions in the North Atlantic to the south of Greenland and is now heading for Europe. The aim over the coming days is to make headway between the high pressure of the Azores High, which is settling into position once again, and this depression, which will be ahead of us. It will require Charles to sail fairly conservatively and slowly, because by sailing in the tail end of the system we should be able to keep far enough away from it to avoid falling into overly boisterous conditions again."

1,500 miles ahead of the 2nd boat after the stopover

During this three-day halt, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has naturally lost a great deal of her lead over her rivals. On Wednesday morning, on her arrival in the Azores, the leader of the round the world race had a 2,137-mile lead over Sodebo Ultim 3 and 3,130 miles ahead of the Maxi Banque Populaire XI. This Saturday lunchtime, Charles Caudrelier is leaving Horta with nearly 1,500 miles in credit in relation to his closest rival, Thomas Coville and over 2,000 miles ahead of Armel Le Cléac'h, who completes this provisional podium. It is a comfortable lead given the distance left to go.

Ranking on Saturday 24 February, at 14:00 UTC

1) Maxi Edmond de Rothschild - Charles Caudrelier
2) Sodebo Ultim 3 - Thomas Coville - at 1,463 miles from the leader
3) Maxi Banque Populaire XI - Armel Le Cléac'h - at 2,064.2 miles from the leader
4) Actual Ultim 3 - Anthony Marchand - at 4,348.1 miles from the leader
5) Ultim Adagio - Eric Peron - at 4,836.5 miles from the leader
SVR Lazartigue - Tom Laperche

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