Ultim Challenge done with final finish

Published on March 13th, 2024

Éric Péron sailing ULTIM ADAGIO was the final finisher of the 2024 Arkea Ultim Challenge-Brest, completing the solo, non-stop round-the-world race for Ultim Class trimarans which began on January 7. All but Tom Laperche on Trimaran SVR-Lazartigue of the six entrants completed the course back to Brest, France.

Finishing Order:
1. Charles Caudrelier (FRA), Maxi Edmond de Rothschild – Feb. 27, 50:19:07:42
2. Thomas Coville (FRA), Sodebo Ultim 3 – Feb. 29, 53:01:12:40
3. Armel Le Cléac’h (FRA), Maxi Banque Populaire XI – March 3, 56:08:01:31
4. Anthony Marchand (FRA), Actual Ultim 3 -March 11, 64:01:38:21
5. Éric Péron (FRA), Trimaran Adagio – March 13, 66:01:14:27

Finishing the course was a major triumph for Péron who worked very hard to pull together the resources to build a small team and compete with the only non-foiler of the six which started the race. A former Olympic classes campaigner turned Figaro racer, the 42 year old who also counts The Ocean Race, Ocean Fifty, and IMOCA on his extensive CV, wanted to test himself and set a new high level challenge.

Last summer, he took over the Ultim which was previously Actual and started its life in 2001 as Oliver de Kersauson’s Geromino. It was substantially updated by Thomas Coville in 2014, and from there he worked tirelessly to find the funding, finally landing headline sponsorship from French aparthotel chain Adagio.

Aboard his non-foiling, more traditional boat, he knew his passage round the world would be so very different from that of other skippers. But he finds his rhythm, albeit losing miles steadily to the boats in a front by Madeira and the Canaries.

But then he suffered an impact on his starboard rudder. Like Laperche and Marchand, he makes a technical stop into Cape Town of just over 24 hours.

He passes Cape Leeuwin after 32 days at sea and has a great passage of the Pacific Ocean – a good chunk of which is achieved ahead of a warm front which he describes as a “great boost”. When he reached Cape Horn, he set the time as the fastest competitor in the Pacific Ocean, 1 hour and 14 minutes quicker than Caudrelier.

Because of his fast passage of the Pacific, he catches hundreds of miles on fourth placed Marchand and the former Figaro class rivals tussle on the ascent of the South Atlantic. But ‘Marchand is positioned closer to the coast and manages to escape first. Péron holds on patiently in the light airs, but his escape from the doldrums was met by strong trade winds and slamming seas.

A few days before his finish, he was “proud to be one of those who dared.” Throughout his race, it was not only his abilities as a sailor that were impressive, but also his vivid stories that captured race fans.

“I am going off to experience my love of the sea and that will allow me to appreciate my love of the land even more.”

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.

Source: AUCB

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