The Arkea Ultim Challenge Brest fleet began its sixth day at sea this Friday at midday. Two sailors have been trading places at the head of the fleet since the depression rolled through on Wednesday night through into Thursday. Charles Caudrelier and Tom Laperche have managed to transform their lead of a few miles into a small majority. At the 17:00 UTC position report, the race youngster had snatched back control with a 7-mile cushion, whilst Banque Populaire XI and Sodebo Ultim 3, respectively 3rd and 4th, were positioned 222 miles and 236 miles astern of the leader. After a day of transition making headway downwind, giving the solo sailors a welcome respite to recharge their batteries, another important passage awaits the 32-metre giants and their skipper tomorrow. Indeed, prior to being able to celebrate the change of hemisphere and the start of a passage negotiating the southern latitudes, the skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and his round the world companions, are set to cross swords with the famous doldrums.

Erwan Israël, weather router on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild

We’ve seen that conditions have favoured those up front, which explains why Actual Ultim 3 has fallen off the pace a bit. We have more of a lift, which has paid off for us and for SVR-Lazartigue. I think the situation will stabilise over the coming hours. We’ve put in a gybe and we’re making headway towards the doldrums. We’re going to pass back through the front, which is breaking up downwind and after that we’re on a straight-line course on port tack. Inevitably, there are a few odd jobs to do on the boat, but nothing which is impacting our speed. The boat’s fulfilling her true potential and Charles is on the right pace!” 

Charles Caudrelier

“We’ve returned to a more pleasant pace as the front which really jostled us around on Wednesday night through into Thursday has now rolled through. We’ve still got heavy seas, with a long beam swell throughout yesterday, but it’s been a lot better today. I’m making the most of the more stable conditions to sort out a few minor glitches – I had a few issues with hoisting the gennaker – and really recharge the batteries because this weekend, with our negotiation of the doldrums, it could be in demand. Our trajectory for approaching the area is rather unique for this descent of the Atlantic. However, it comes as a direct result of the position of the depression. We’ll hit the zone on port tack on a close reach! I’ve been through a ton of these phenomena before, but I’ve never experienced anything like this.”

Ranking at the 17:00 UTC position report

1) SVR Lazartigue - Tom Laperche   
2) Maxi Edmond de Rothschild - Charles Caudrelier – 7.7 miles behind the leader 
3) Maxi Banque Populaire XI - Armel Le Cléac'h – 222.9 miles behind the leader 
4) Sodebo Ultim 3 - Thomas Coville  - 236.9 miles behind the leader 
5) Actual Ultim 3 - Anthony Marchand – 314.6 miles behind the leader 
6) Ultim Adagio - Eric Peron – 556.5 miles behind the leader 

WAYPOINT #2, Gitana Team’s round the world rendez-vous

 For this second episode of WAYPOINT, some four days after the fabulous start of the Arkea Ultim Challenge - Brest, we start by offering you the chance to relive the finest images filmed on Sunday 7 January offshore of Brest in north-west Brittany; the solo sailors and their giant in full flight, on their first race around the world. Next, we’ll head over to Larmor-Plage to get together with the routing cell responsible for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, made up of Erwan Israël, Julien Villion and Benjamin Schwartz, not to mention Chris Bedford. They’ll open up the doors of their house to us a few hours before the front rolls through that kept the ULTIM fleet busy last night. It’s also an opportunity for them to detail the strategic choices made since the start. Diving further behind the scenes, we also visit the heart of the Gitana Base, where Cyril Dardashti, the general manager of the racing stable, and David Boileau, boat captain of Gitana 17, unveil for us the onshore challenge during these first few days at sea. On this Thursday 11 January, as our star guest we’re lucky enough to welcome our first offshore sailor ‘interviewer’: ladies first… Samantha Davies. The skipper of the IMOCA Initiatives-Cœur knows Charles Caudrelier very well and it is with undisguised glee that the two sailors exchange ideas.

Welcome to the 2nd episode of WAYPOINT!

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