Leaders damaged in Brest Atlantiques

Published on November 11th, 2019

(November 11, 2019; Day 7) – A quarter of the total distance of 14,000nm Brest Atlantiques has now been covered by the four maxi trimarans of the Ultim Class 32/23, with the second week of the race promising to be a busy one as repair stops are needed for half the fleet.

With the four trimarans now on a long beam reach down the coast of Brazil, they are approaching the first of two marks, needing to take to port the chain of Cagarras Islands, in front of the famous Ipanema beach off of Rio de Janeiro.

A south-easterly wind of around 10-15 knots in the morning was set to ease as trade winds weakened in the afternoon, slowing the leading trimarans, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and MACIF, which both have damage requiring pitstops in Salvador de Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, respectively, allowing Sodebo Ultim 3 and Actual Leader to get back in the race.

The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild needs repairs to its daggerboard, which got damaged after colliding with an unidentified floating object, and are expected to arrive early tomorrow morning. The pitstop for MACIF is to repair their central hull rudder which was damaged off Cape Verde, also a result of hitting an unidentified floating object.

While the MACIF also has two float rudders as backups, there remains moments when the boat becomes difficult to control, leading to their repair stop in Rio in two days. “Given the good progress we’ve made and the logistics around this repair, the port at Rio seemed to us the best compromise,” the MACIF team announced early this afternoon.

Sodebo Ultim 3 and Actual Leader are likely to pass Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and MACIF, despite the weather conditions looking unfavorable for going at high speeds.

“We can already see that the trade winds are looking shifty, and will continue to be fairly weak and erratic as far as Rio,” reports Christian Dumard, weather consultant for Brest Atlantiques. “But when MACIF arrives in Rio there will be a strong easterly wind, so once they’ve sailed round the Cagarras Islands, they will then face strong winds going upwind. The conditions will not be easy, everyone must start thinking about their strategy and how to manoeuvre their boats.”

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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


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