Ridge of high pressure straight ahead with stalling likely
Setting sail from Le Havre shortly after 12:00 UTC on Sunday, the fleet of giants has just completed two testing days on the water for both the men and the machines. With the start of the race marked by breeze and heavy seas more than 50 knots reported in the English Channel and nearly 5-metre waves offshore yesterday the leaders are due to stumble up against a wide ridge of high pressure in the coming hours. A genuine meteorological barrier across the road to the trade wind and the next course mark of Porto Santo, in the Madeira archipelago, will translate as an abrupt change to the pace set by the duos since the start. It is a scenario which Charles Caudrelier described in detail at this morning’s radio link-up.

Some 70 miles shy of the leader this morning, Charles Caudrelier and Erwan Israël have come right back into contention now and, at the 16:00 UTC position report, they had closed to within 20 miles of the stern of SVR-Lazartigue, which is still heading the fleet. Banque Populaire completes this top trio, she too around twenty miles shy of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.     

With the first ULTIMS passing the latitude of Cape St Vincent, in southern Portugal, 1,000 miles (of a total racetrack spanning 7,500 miles) have already been ticked off this Tuesday.       

Radio link-up with Charles Caudrelier, Tuesday 31 October     

“As day breaks, the sea has become calmer, which is nice. The start was awesome. We were immediately making very, very fast headway. We had a few minor issues. We managed to resolve them quickly, but at the time it was complicated. We soon managed to get back in contact with the head of the fleet and the boat was going well. The fleet split as we passed Ushant. To take the inside track at the TSS, we had to put in a lot of tacks and it was a bit boisterous as we had heavy seas and a lot of wind. 

That’s how it’s been since the start: sail changes, putting in reefs, shaking out reefs… and the seas to deal with too! We didn’t get any good sleep, especially yesterday, when we were making very fast headway. It was sporty.  Our deficit in relation to SVR today? It’s the result of us taking the inside track at the TSS, but I don’t know whether they really wanted to go there. Initially, the routing took us down the inside track and once we were committed it had us taking the outside lane, but it was too late for us by then. Going where SVR was a real risk. We were scared that there wouldn’t be any breeze. In the end… it worked to the right of us, and it worked to the left of us, whilst we were stuck in the middle with no breeze. There was nothing we could do. Yesterday, we latched onto some breeze again at the same time as Banque Populaire whilst we were further over to the west. You can always have regrets about this or that option, but ultimately that serves no purpose. Let’s just say that we’ve successfully held onto our potential in readiness for the next 24 hours, which are going to be important. In fact, we’re looking in depth at the situation ahead, but there’s nothing obvious to pin our hopes on. We’re all kind of aligned and unfortunately, it’s going to be a bit random. The fleet will squeeze together and I think that very quickly we’re all going to be very close. After that, will the leader’s slight edge mean that he can extricate himself from it? To be honest it’s not easy for the routers. What’s important for us is to come out of this ridge of high pressure in the first group. After that we know we have a boat that performs well in the trade wind. It really is a vast windless zone up ahead and you’d have to be very smart to work out which route will be the quickest. 

Right now, we’re recharging our batteries nicely. The seas are calm and we can sleep, which is something that was impossible to do last night. We stretched out but we didn’t sleep. Erwan and I are in good shape and eating well. We have some work to do in the light airs, so we’ll make the most of it, but there’s nothing too disturbing on the menu. We’re pleased to have come out of the bad weather with a boat in good health.”

The content that appears on this website is protected by copyright.
Any reproduction or representation is strictly forbidden.

For further information, please refer to the legal notice section.
Enter at least 4 characters...