Blockage in the south
The decision was taken at around 21:30 UTC last night. Having initially envisaged a departure within the next 24 hours, the team, in accordance with the latest analysis from their weather router Marcel van Triest, has decided to postpone their attempt for now. “The weather doesn’t suit us enough,” Charles Caudrelier acknowledges. “Francis Joyon set the bar very high with his record (40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes in 2017). Even though Edmond de Rothschild has excellent potential, we need to find a very favourable and very rare weather sequence that works for us in both the North and South Atlantic. This is the launch pad for a record attempt and if it’s not successful, the chances of breaking it are virtually zero.” The objective remains the same: to pass below South Africa and the Cape of Good Hope in under 11 days.
Since last Saturday, the team has been trying to “find a correlation between what’s happening in the north – particularly in the Bay of Biscay – and a low pressure system in the South Atlantic, which would propel us forward in the Southern Ocean,” continues Franck Cammas. “For now, when the timing is right in the north, it’s not favourable in the south.” On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, the effects of Storm Gerard, which were sweeping across metropolitan France, made a potential departure impossible. “We didn’t want to take the risk with the boat in what were very heavy seas for the first few hours,” admits Charles.
“Patience is the name of the game for a record!”
“We’re targeting a low pressure system offshore of Brazil, but we need 7 to 8 days to get there,”explains the recent winner of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. “However, the forecasts are very erratic in that area… What we’re after is the chance to hook onto a favourable depression at a speed that fulfils the boat’s potential and can carry us as far as the Indian Ocean,” agrees Franck.“For now, every time we come close to such a scenario, the models change and conditions are not favourable yet.”However, as someone who has already bagged the record, back in 2010, he’s keen to point out that “opportunities can come your way fairly quickly.”
This Wednesday morning, the crew cast off from the Marina du Château and out into Brest Harbour to return to their base in Lorient. “We positioned ourselves in Brest because there was a weather window between two periods of stormy NW’ly winds,” explains Franck. “That’s no longer the case so we’re returning to Lorient. We’re going to make the most of the trip to set sail as if we were taking the start,”adds Charles. “In so doing, we’ll be able to pit the boat against the heavy seas for a few hours to see how she handles. With the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild we can very quickly come back up to Brest as soon as an opportunity arises.” The two sailors admit to being a “little frustrated”, but like their four crew – Morgan Lagravière, David Boileau, Erwan Israël and Yann Riou – they are all too familiar with the hazards of a Jules Verne Trophy start and know how to seize any opportunities offered up by the weather: “We’d like to set sail as early as possible, but we have experience on our side. We know the record is hard to beat and you have to know how to be patient. That’s the name of the game on a record!” concluded the skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild just before casting off for Lorient.