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Zhik 2024 March - LEADERBOARD

Arkéa Ultim Challenge - Brest 62: Friday's routers replay. “and now, the end is near...”

by Arkea Ultim Challenge - Brest 8 Mar 09:18 PST 8 March 2024

After more than 60 days at sea, Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim 3, 4th) and Éric Péron (ULTIM ADAGIO, 5th) are getting into their last weekend on the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE - Brest.

Both are expected to finish next week back into Brest. As usual on a Friday we catch up with two members of their respective routing cells. Actual's Christian Dumard and Adagio's David Lanier look back at their week of racing and what lies between their skippers and the finish line.

Christian Dumard: "Big seas until the end."

Last week. "In recent days, 'Antho' has mainly been climbing up the North Atlantic in the trade winds, upwind and straight lining it. The passage up from Brazil was tricky with so little wind and we had to look just for the thermal breeze both day and night. Then he crossed the doldrums and was able to go straight. 'Antho' has just done a 'gull wing' to escape the anticyclone. He could have gone around it from the North then downwind but the route would have been longer hence this option of passing it by tacking into the South part while going upwind."

What's in store? "The wind will strengthen slowly, in a northwesterly flow, and should be fair as far as the Azores. Then there is abig depression off the Bay of Biscay. There is a lot of sea after the Azores with waves of 5 to 6 meters. Even if they will decrease to 3 to 4 meters, it should stay like that until Brest. It should arrive with a fairly strong northwest wind."

ANTHO'S ETA. "If he passes through this rough sea, he could go quite fast and so he could arrive at the end of the day on Monday. If this is not the case and he is forced to slow down, it will be a little more complicated and his arrival will take place the next day. When he reaches the South East of the Azores Antho' will know whether he will have to slow down or not."

David Lanier: "Eric must be on high alert."

Last week. "It has gone from several days without wind to very complicated conditions. Since Eric came out of the doldrums, he has gotten very nervous with a reaching wind. In a few hours, it increased to 20, 25 knots of trade wind. It is not really the strength of the wind that is problematic but the state of the sea which is very rough. It's complicated, hard, unpleasant, it slams... It's in these conditions that Armel Le Cléac'h developed his leak. The repeated slams and shocks ends up damaging the boat. Eric is exhausted and lacking sleep but he must be on maximum alert."

What's in store? "It should get better in the next 24 hours, the wind should ease a little. He will pass the Azores anticyclone and if all goes well, Eric will be able to get into the warm front of a depression which should take him as far as Brest."

ETA. "If we keep the timing right, Eric could arrive on Wednesday the 13th or Thursday the 14th if the conditions are a little less favorable. But he knows it feels like the end. The objective is to recover this warm front and if not, he will adapt as he always has. Éric wants to end this exceptional adventure in a beautiful way."

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