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Dominating victory in Brest Atlantiques

Published on December 4th, 2019

(December 4, 2019; Day 30) – After 28 days, 23 hours, 24 minutes and 46 seconds at sea, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, accompanied by their media man Yann Riou, are the winners of the 14,000nm Brest Atlantiques. Having crossed the finish line this morning at 10:24:46am (local time), this is the first major offshore victory for the Ultim 32/23 Class trimaran Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, after covering a total of 17,084 miles at an average speed of 24.57 knots.

Having left Brest on November 5 in difficult conditions, the duo returned to the port city this morning in much calmer ones: a flat sea, a light easterly breeze and a rising sun, having made a series of tacks in the final hours of the race.

The two skippers took the helm of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at the end of April this year, and secured their first victory in the Fastnet this August, a race that allowed them to gain confidence in sailing this Ultim trimaran. Winning the Brest Atlantiques is another important victory, especially on a race which, because of its duration, format, and route, was a real leap into the unknown for them and their fellow competitors.

As the first to gybe along the Moroccan coast during the southerly descent, Cammas and Caudrelier have been continuously in first place from the second night onwards, apart from the 13 hours and 40 minutes during which they stopped along Brazil in Salvador de Bahia for repairs. It only took them two days, however, to get back in the lead, scoring 25 days as the front-runners in all.

Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, which after more than two years of development, is now the standard for the Ultim fleet, and the first that has been specifically designed to fly offshore. When combined with Cammas and Caudrelier, who at 46 and 45 years of age respectively, are incredibly adept with handling this boat, thanks not only to their experience with offshore trimarans but also their talent as sailors (Cammas was chosen as Sailor of the Year in 2012 and 2013, and Caudrelier in 2018).

In addition to their one-hull victories (winning the Solitaire du Figaro once each, the Volvo Ocean Race together in 2012 on Groupama 4, and Charles Caudrelier claiming victory as the skipper of the Dongfeng Race Team in 2018), they have also sailed and won a great deal on three hulls, before joining Gitana’s offshore racing team last April.

Cammas won the Transat Jacques Vabre three times on Orma, as well as the Jules Vernes Trophy and the Route du Rhum in 2010 on the maxi Groupama 3. Caudrelier won the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2013 on the MOD70, already as part of team Gitana.

This experience and understanding of trimaran racing has allowed the skippers to sail the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild to its full potential at multiple moments over the course with an impressive average speed of 24.8 knots.

“The oceans get smaller when you’re sailing this kind of boat, and this race was a great opportunity to test it out,” noted Cammas. “We saw what could break, what parts of the boat tired out easily, and so we now know what to improve on. It was a really interesting race, especially for preparing to go around the world.”

This is indeed now the next challenge which lies in store for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and the other trimarans in the Ultim 32/23 class…


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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