Battle for second in Brest Atlantiques

Published on December 1st, 2019

(December 1, 2019; Day 27) – While Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is now on track to finish in three days, the battle for second place among the Ultim 32/23 Class trimarans in the 14,000nm Brest Atlantiques is well and truly on between MACIF and Actual Leader. With only around thirty miles separating them, it looks like it will be a close call all the way to the finish line.

In the lead since November 14, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas/Charles Caudrelier) now has just over 1500 miles to go, and look to advance behind the high that is heading north towards Europe. “They won’t encounter too much wind until the very end, where it will be at most 20-22 knots, and blowing in a southerly direction that will soon change towards the east. These are ideal conditions for them to finish in,” said Christian Dumard, the weather consultant for Brest Atlantiques.

With a lead of now more than 800 miles over its rivals, the next target for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is to reach the Azores archipelago tomorrow. After crossing this point, the two skippers will then embark upon the final 1000 miles back to Brittany, while still preserving their trimaran as best they can.

Behind them, MACIF (François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet) and Actual Leader (Yves Le Blévec/Alex Pella) will no doubt be fighting it out for second place until the very end. Since yesterday, both trimarans have been sailing in a north-westerly direction: “They’re going to look for the next weather system, sailing as much towards the west of the approaching high as they can. This means they won’t necessarily be heading straight up north,” explains Christian Dumard, who believes that these two trimarans will come into contact at the beginning of next week.

“MACIF will arrive first, to the south of the high, but will slow down considerably in the next two days, so the gap will then tighten between them and Actual Leader. I think they’ll actually be very close to one another in two days’ time, and probably even see each other at some point.”

So, the race is certainly on for these two trimarans until the finish line in Brest, where they are expected to arrive between December 6 and 7. It remains to be seen in what order…

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.

Event detailsRace brochureTrackerYouTube

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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