Cammas and Caudrelier in control of Brest Atlantiques

Published on November 18th, 2019

(November 18, 2019; Day 14) – Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas/Charles Caudrelier) continues to lead the three other maxi trimarans in the 14,000nm Brest Atlantiques race, passing Gough Island at 12.45 am and is now progressing toward the next mark near Cape Town with a series of gybes between the high pressure system and the Ice Exclusion Zone.

MACIF (François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet) is just behind the leader and continues to chase while Sodebo Ultim 3 (Thomas Coville/Jean-Luc Nélias) in third is slowed due to the breakage of her starboard rudder, giving Actual Leader (Yves Le Blévec/Alex Pella) a chance to make up ground.

Despite leading since the race reshuffle in Rio, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, who clocked up some high speeds between yesterday and this morning, has been slowed down as it races in the lower latitudes of the forties. This is due to a high that is positioned quite far south and giving fairly light wind (10-15 knots) from the west.

Whilst the leaders would like to head further south to get the stronger winds, there is an ice exclusion zone they must avoid limiting the room for manoeuvre and options.

This allows MACIF, who passed the longitude of Gough Island today at 0730am, a chance to make up a few miles in the coming hours, but François Gabart and Gwénolé Gahinet should also be slowed down by this area of high pressure.

Behind, Sodebo Ultim 3 has been compromised following a collision at 11:30 pm last night with an unidentified floating object, which caused the starboard rudder to break. While Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias are logically losing ground compared to their competitors, they are still able to maintain speeds of 20-25 knots, proving that the sea conditions have improved considerably since last night, allowing the boat, despite being weakened, to remain quite manoeuvrable.

Sodebo Ultim 3 is expected to reach the longitude of Gough Island around 6-7pm, closely followed by Actual Leader (Yves Le Blevec/Alex Pella). The two boats were just 30 miles apart on the 3pm report and should both then benefit as the high weather system gradually moves north giving them a more direct route in stronger wind to Cape Town.

Cape Town will be the second and last point of passage as a mark on the course with Maxi Edmond de Rothschild expected to pass in two days.

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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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