Half of Arkea Ultim Challenge in Atlantic

Published on February 12th, 2024

(February 12, 2024; Day 37) – The 2024 Arkea Ultim Challenge-Brest has half the Ultim Class fleet around Cape Horn as Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild) led on February 6, followed by was Armel Le Cléac’h (Maxi Banque Populaire XI) on February 10 and third early the following morning was Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3).

They are now continuing their climb up the Atlantic, while fourth placed skipper Anthony Marchand completed his second technical stopover yesterday at Dunedin, New Zealand. Marchand had to make repairs to the system which hoists and lowers his remaining foil. He removed the port foil in Cape Town after it was damaged.

Here is an update by Race Director Guillaume Rottee:

Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, 1st)
“This last week, Charles has undoubtedly had the most complicated phase of his round the world race. Since the Horn the climb has not been ideal in terms of speed with an anticyclone to get round then a depression which he then had to face with particularly vicious winds and cross seas. He continues to move forward reasonably while preserving his boat as much as possible. The skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is still progressing upwind in an easing wind. Normally, Charles should begin to connect with the trade winds tonight, perhaps tomorrow morning. Then he should have a good angle to make a fairly rapid route to the Equator and then to the latitude of the Canaries.”

ETA as of today: At Equator (Feb. 17-18), on the finish line (Feb. 24-25)

Armel Le Cléac’h (Maxi Banque Populaire XI, 2nd)
“Since yesterday Armel has had to face a big depression with big seas which forced him to move closer to the coast for shelter. He is sailing behind a front getting gusts of 40 to 45 knots of wind. The wind is very unstable in strength and direction and he certainly has to deal with the passages of several squalls. The Maxi Banque Populaire XI will stay behind the front until the end day and tonight, until conditions improve. Armel should find himself in more acceptable conditions and could then follow the way Charles is going. He will connect with the trade winds and the wind will be more favorable all the way to the Azores without having to carry out a lot of maneuvers.”

ETA as of today: Equator (Feb. 21-22), on the finish line (Feb. 26-27)

Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3, 3rd)
“Thomas is sailing in conditions similar to what Armel has but a just a bit less. He has a little less wind, 20 to 25 knots since he is positioned further west of this depression. We observe that he is less comfortable on one tack which may be due to the problem he has already had or to the state of the sea. Then he will get into a fairly similar pattern to Armel. It is also possible that he will manage to get closer to Armel at the end of the week.”

ETA as of today: Equator (Feb. 22-23), on the finish line (Feb. 27-28)

Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim 3, 4th)
“Anthony Marchand is sailing in fairly strong southwesterly winds which should strengthen to around 30 to 35 knots with gusts of 40 to 45 knots. Actual Ultim 3 is compromised without a port foil and his starboard foil which has been blocked in the high position. In fact his boat is now very much configured to a mode equivalent to that of the ULTIM ADAGIO, an ‘Archimedean’ boat. And ‘Antho’ has an unfavorable weather situation for reaching Cape Horn. He sails into a depression in front of him. It’s as if he saw a wave in front of him without actually being able to get forwards to surf it.”

ETA as of today: Cape Horn (Feb. 18)

Éric Péron (ULTIM ADAGIO, 5th)
“Unlike Antho, Eric will be carried by a front for several days in the Pacific. His trend is a slight catch up with Marchand’s ULTIM ADAGIO. But the gap should widen again when crossing Cape Horn. To be continued!”

ETA as of today: At Cape Horn (Feb. 22-23)

Details: https://arkeaultimchallengebrest.com/en

The Arkea Ultim Challenge-Brest is a solo, non-stop round-the-world race for Ultim Class trimarans which have a maximum length of 32 meters and a maximum width of 23 meters.

The solo speed record around the world was set in 2017 by François Gabart (FRA) on the 30m Macif trimaran in a time of 42d 14h 40m 15s for an average speed of 21.08 knots. This yacht has been rebranded and will be raced by Marchand.

• Charles Caudrelier (FRA), Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (2017 Verdier 32/23)
• Thomas Coville (FRA), Sodebo Ultim 3 (2019 VPLP/others 32/23)
• Tom Laperche (FRA), Trimaran SVR-Lazartigue (2021 VPLP 32/23)
• Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA), Maxi Banque Populaire XI (2021 VPLP 32/23)
• Anthony Marchand (FRA), Actual Ultim 3 (2015 VPLP 30/22)
• Éric Péron (FRA), Trimaran Adagio (2014 VPLP 31/21)*
* Only entrant without foiling appendages

January 29: Tom Laperche on Trimaran SVR-Lazartigue and his team realized they don’t have the facilities or the means to complete the complex, difficult repair needed, and they have no option but to retire and get their boat back to Concarneau. Laperche incurred damage on January 18 when his daggerboard in the main hull collided with an UFO (unidentified floating object). He had arrived in Cape Town on January 22 in hopes to repair the damage.

Five rules from the Sailing Instructions:
• The start is January 7 from Brest, France. The start line is kept open for 168 hours and the finish line is closed after an elapsed time of 100 days after the start time, that is to say April 16, 2024.

• The skippers can communicate and exchange with their teams on shore, so they have the freedom to get weather information and be routed by their team on shore and get technical help and advice to help with technical problems.

• The solo skippers can stop but there are two distinct operations. A technical stop is unassisted and requires the sailor to drop anchor, take a mooring, or tie up alongside an anchored or moored boat with no external help. There is no time penalty for a technical stop. But for a technical stopover (escale technique) where one or more crew or technical team come on board to help, there is a mandatory 24 hours minimum. This does not apply to the start port of Brest where all means are authorized to reach or leave the port within a radius of 50 miles.

• For the first time in ocean racing, zones where there are known to be a high concentration of whales and sea mammals are determined. Establishing these zones should both protect the marine wildlife and reduce the chance of a collision. These zones are around the Azores, the Canaries, south of South Africa, the Kerguelens, and parts of the Antarctic.

• There are ice exclusion zones to protect the skippers and their boats.

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