Gambling in the Brest Atlantiques

Published on November 26th, 2019

(November 26, 2019; Day 22) – After three weeks racing on the 14,000nm Brest Atlantiques, the two leading Ultim 32/23 Class trimarans, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and Actual Leader, are now following a similar route and heading towards the equator at a moderate pace. Meanwhile MACIF, who two days ago split on a westerly route, is preparing to build up speed and no doubt regain some ground. The question, however, is how much.

Following a turbulent crossing from Rio to Cape Town, and an ascent up the Namibian coast, a certain monotony has now set in on the race. In particular for the two leading trimarans, who, due to light winds averaging 8-10 knots, are now sailing at unusually slow speeds.

“We’re currently bypassing the St Helena High from the north; it’s pretty laborious,” noted Actual Leader’s media man, Ronan Gladu. “Despite low winds of 2-3 knots, the waves are unpredictable. We still have at least another 48 hours in these conditions.”

Franck Cammas concurs from Maxi Edmond de Rothschild: “It’s pretty monotonous but sometimes it’s nice to have days like this without having to make maneuvers, where you can check over the boat and go at a steady pace before attacking the Northern Hemisphere. We’ve still got a way to go before we reach the equator, but at the same time, we have already made great progress.”

That said, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild gybed this morning in order to best position herself in relation to the south-easterly trade wind, and finally complete her ascent towards the equator. Unless there’s a sudden turn of events, they should cross in front of MACIF, who should be heading northwards in the coming hours.

François Gabart and Gwénolé Gahinet hope this will mean their MACIF can gain some ground on Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, or at least Actual Leader. “When you look at Actual’s progress, you can see that they’re moving a little slower than we had thought, which is a good thing for us,” said Gwénolé.

DNF: Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias retired on November 22 while in Cape Town when it was determined that the damages to Sodebo Ultim 3 were too serious to carry on safely. Details.

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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
• MACIF: François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet
• Sodebo Ultim 3: Thomas Coville/Jean-Luc Nélias


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