Rich getting richer in Brest Atlantiques
Published on November 10th, 2019
(November 10, 2019; Day 6) – After the Ultim 32/23 class trimarans have been racing for over five days on the 2019 Brest Atlantiques 14,000nm course, the Doldrums delivered a favorable verdict for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the team was hardly slowed down compared to its rivals.
Just after crossing the equator today at 13.45 GMT, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier had a 163 mile lead over their immediate competitor, trimaran MACIF. However, the two co-skippers will have to make a technical stopover in Salvador de Bahia for repairs to the daggerboard.
The saying often used in offshore racing that the rich are getting richer was reflected in the first of the two crossings of the Doldrums on the Brest Atlantiques. Yesterday morning, when analyzing the positioning of this inter-tropical zone, where the trade winds from the northern and southern hemispheres converge, causing hot air to rise and large cloud masses to generate either violent squalls or periods of calm, Franck Cammas believed that the first to arrive would have the best chance of getting out quickest.
The skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was right: the Guillaume Verdier designed trimaran, which entered the Doldrums on yesterday afternoon, will only have spent around fifteen hours there, without having completely stopped, except on Sunday morning just as they seemed to be out of the woods. “We thought we’d get out earlier, but the bad weather caught us before we left and we took a few hours off! Now that seems comical,” said Franck Cammas in the morning.
Behind them, their competitors will have been slowed down further, as in turn, the trimaran MACIF (François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet), hampered since Saturday due by damage to the central hull rudder, Sodebo Ultim 3 (Thomas Coville/Jean-Luc Nélias) and Actual Leader (Yves Le Blevec/Alex Pella) have had their successive stops, difficult for sailors who specialize in high speed racing.
In a video sent by Martin Keruzoré, media man aboard Sodebo Ultim 3, which perfectly sums up the conditions in the Doldrums being something between brutal accelerations in the squalls and flapping sails in the “calm”, Thomas Coville explained this morning: “We didn’t leave at all, the Doldrums reformed ahead of us. It didn’t take much for us to experience the same thing as those in front. It’s a lot of effort for a lot of frustration.”
As a result of this increase in speed, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, who crossed the equator today at 13.45 GMT after 5 days 3 hours and 45 minutes at sea, at 4pm had a 163 mile lead over the trimaran MACIF (compared to 44 miles, 24 hours earlier), 221 miles ahead of Sodebo Ultim 3 (compared to 164 miles) and 376 miles ahead of Actual Leader (compared to 371 miles).
The leaderboard will undoubtedly change in the coming days, with the two leading boats planning a pit stop for repairs. While MACIF have yet to announce an update on the location of the stopover to repair the central rudder, Gitana Team announced this Sunday afternoon that they would make a pit-stop in Salvador de Bahia for repairs to the trimaran’s daggerboad.
“We’re going to have to stop in Bahia for a few hours,” Franck Cammas confirmed in a statement sent by his team. “We had a problem with our daggerboard before passing the Cape Verde Islands and there are things to fix. We don’t know exactly what happened, a collision probably, but visually, the bottom of the daggerboard is damaged, so the boat is not in optimal sailing mode.
With Cyril Dardashti, the team and our navigator Marcel Van Triest, we weighed up the pros and cons: the cost to us in terms of miles, the distance still to cover as we have only completed a quarter of the course, the weather to come and of course safety. After looking at all this, we think that the best compromise is to stop and to then continue racing with the boat at its full potential.”
With the help of the Transat Jacques Vabre organization and those in charge of the Salvador de Bahia Marina, a decision was reached for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild to dock for a few hours in the Bay of All Saints in order to repair its daggerboard.
The race sends these doublehanded speedsters on a course from Brest that will turn at Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Cape Town (South Africa) before returning to Brest. The Ultim Class is for trimarans with a maximum length of 32 meters and a maximum width of 23 meters.
The turning marks will see the boats leave to port the chain of Cagarras Islands, in front of the famous Ipanema beach in the Bay of Rio and Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.
It is an unprecedented course, lined with several weather traps, especially along The Cape, a route almost never taken in offshore racing.
Each entry will be skippered by four fantastic pairs and accompanied by a media man who is not allowed to take an active role in the performance of the boat. The teams are:
• Actual leader: Yves Le Blévec/Alex Pella
• Maxi Edmond de Rothschild: Franck Cammas/Charles Caudrelier
• Trimaran Macif: François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet
• Sodebo Ultim 3: Thomas Coville/Jean-Luc Nélias
Source: BREST ULTIM SAILING