Maxi Edmond de Rotschild

Maxi Edmond de Rotschild

Arkéa Ultim Challenge-Brest, Charles Caudrelier, catch me if you can


25/01/2024 - 08:50

Approaching the longitude of Cape Leeuwin on the leading edge of a new front Charles Caudrelier the skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild continues to sail along the ZEA, which is not easy.  He should pass Australia's Great Cape at the end of the day. Behind him positions are relatively stable for Thomas Coville (2nd) and Armel Le Cléac'h (3rd). Anthony Marchand (4th), who decided on a stopover yesterday, should arrive in Cape Town tonight.

In an interview last Tuesday, second placed Thomas Coville summed up what you need to go well in the Southern Ocean: "You need opportunity, talent and luck". The skipper of Sodebo who is on his ninth round the world passage said he believed that ARKÉA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest leader Charles Caudrelier has all three.

And Caudrelier continues to prove this to be the case. The winner of the last solo Route du Rhum is charging along the course but it is extremely hard work for the 49 year old who, before the start, refused to talk about records, or the potential duration of his race other than to say he wanted to be home for his 50th birthday in just over a month's time and he had booked mid-term holidays with his kids. At his present pace he should not only achieve both deadlines but is on target to break Francois Gabart's 42 day round the world solo record.

"He must be very tired where he is right now," smiles Guillaume Rottée, Race Director. "His weather situation has taken him to the edge of the ice zone, which forced him to make 12 or 13 gybes in the last 24 hours!" Rottee reports: "Each time, he went very close to the ZEA, as close as just 1.6 miles from this limit!"

In the Indian Ocean, the status quo continues

Caudrelier is gaining even more miles on the boats behind and that should continue. "Now he can go straight ahead with good speeds."  Says Rottee. He should reach Cape Leeuwin in the early evening, around 5 to 7pm UTC Behind him the gaps are relatively stable. For a while, Armel Le Cléac'h came back slightly on Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3, 2nd) and on Charles Caudrelier (when the latter was slaloming along ZEA). But since then, the status quo has prevailed.

Coville is still dealing with conditions that are much more unsettled than his rivals and so his progress has been slowed down. "We see that his track does not always correspond to the normal speed of his boat," explains Rottée. "Either he has had a problem, or he focuses on fixing stuff whenever he can."  Coville has been back on a "normal" course and at a good target speed since the middle of the night.

Marchand will arrive in Cape Town tonight

A little further back Anthony Marchand continues his route towards Cape Town. The skipper of Actual Ultim 3 had to cross an anticyclonic ridge during the night, which slowed him down. He picked up some speed this morning and should reach the South African port some time tonight. For the first time since the start of the ARKÉA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest, two of the six boats competing will be stopped as SVR-Lazartigue is still moored in Cape Town.

In sixth Éric Péron continues to benefit from a wind corridor in the South Atlantic. He still has 800 miles to go to pass the Cape of Good Hope, probably during Saturday night. 


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