4th week of racing
In the fourth and final week of racing, Marcel Van Triest works with the crew to line up the best possible trajectory for the climb back up the North Atlantic. The doldrums is looming once again and the router, who’s an expert on the zone, has a very precise strategy. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild begins by crossing the South Atlantic, from east to west, on a course towards Brazil… rather than Europe. In reality, the sailors are targeting a corridor through the doldrums at 23degrees west, which is much further east than the traditional passage at between 28and 30 degrees. Actual Leader is 350 miles in their wake while Macif has positioned itself even further over towards Brazil and is 800 miles off the pace. “This passage at 23 degrees west is enabling us to have a very good angle for the section between the equator and Cape Verde,” explains the router. The doldrums is done with in a flash and the climb involves a single tack. Gitana 17 is making headway at speeds of ‘just’ 20 to 25 knots, but she’s tirelessly stretching away from her pursuers. As they make the Azores, the perfect trajectory takes the sailors through the heart of the archipelago, to the east of Terceira. The aim is to position themselves ahead of a front, which finally enables the crew to pick up the pace towards Brest. Meantime, their two pursuers are having to go right around the Azores High and though they are in contact with one another, they are now in a totally different weather system to that of the leader, who will complete the course with a lead that stands at 1,800 miles this morning.
“ This morning I pulled on my foulies for the first time since Cape Town. It’s also the first time since the southern latitudes that we’ve been sailing in a depression, finally ahead of a front. We’ve circumnavigated a lot of anticyclones of late... We passed the Azores in the early hours. It’s not too cold yet, but you can sense that we’re entering the European winter. The sea hasn’t been very smooth since we passed the Azores. We’re not going to go on the attack because we want to preserve the boat and above all we now have a very comfortable lead over our pursuers to make that feasible for us”, explained Charles Caudrelier.
“When you manage to get an anticyclone between you and your rivals after a few tricky sections and several squeezes of the accordion, that’s not bad going”, admitted Marcel van Triest a few hours before crossing the finish line.
3,017.4 miles covered
Maximum speed: 33.5 knots
7 days in the lead
Ranking of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, on Tuesday 3 December at 11:00 UTC
1st / MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) - Distance to the goal: 337.3 miles – Average speed over the past 24 hours: 30.4 knots