Approaching the second cape
In less than an hour and a half, if the routers’ estimates prove to be correct, Charles Caudrelier and the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild will cross the longitude of Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, the second iconic cape of this eastbound round the world. However, this latest passage mark is not the end of the Indian Ocean. In fact, the exit lies to the south of Tasmania, on a SE’ly heading. For all that, the skipper of Gitana Team should be able to treat himself to a stellar time at the south-west tip of the Australian continent and improve on the performance posted by François Gabart in 2017. Out on the racetrack, despite a comfortable lead over his closest rivals, going it alone in the Indian Ocean, Charles Caudrelier has certainly had his work cut out. Between Monday afternoon, following his passage of the Kerguelen Archipelago, and last night, he had to put in no fewer than eighteen gybes along the Antarctic Exclusion Zone before he could link onto a long tack eastward. Despite the entirely manageable weather conditions over recent days, such manoeuvring requires a great deal of energy from the solo sailor and dramatically reduces the sleep and recovery phases.
Ranking at the 17:00 UTC position report.

1) Maxi Edmond de Rothschild  - Charles Caudrelier 
2) Sodebo Ultim 3 - Thomas Coville – 1,604 miles behind the leader 
3) Maxi Banque Populaire XI – Armel Le Cleac’h – 2,580.9 miles behind the leader 
4) Actual Ultim 3 - Anthony Marchand – 4,113.8 miles behind the leader (victim of damage, bound for Cape Town)
5) SVR Lazartigue - Tom Laperche – 4,221.6 miles behind the leader (victim of major damage, on a pit stop in Cape Town)
6) Ultim Adagio - Eric Peron – 4,487.1 miles behind the leader 

WAYPOINT #4, Gitana Team’s round the world rendez-vous

 Every Thursday, throughout the Arkea Ultim Challenge, Gitana Team is offering you a complete round-up of Charles Caudrelier and the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s race. Via its weekly video broadcast, you’ll discover the latest onboard footage, analysis of the weather and strategy as explained by the members of the team’s routing cell, as well as delving behind the scenes of the five-arrow racing stable whilst its flagship is out on the racetrack. Finally, this rendez-vous will round off with a long oceanic interview recorded by a different star guest. Charles will share his feelings and his sentiments with the host throughout this epic adventure.

For this fourth episode of WAYPOINT we discover the Arkea Ultim Challenge – Brest stretching right out across different oceans. After eighteen days at sea, Charles Caudrelier is at the head of the race approaching the longitude of Cape Leeuwin, the south-west tip of the Australian continent, whilst at the back of the fleet Eric Péron is about to exit the South Atlantic some 4,500 miles astern of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Three of the six solo sailors are currently navigating the Indian Ocean since Thomas Coville and Armel Le Cléac’h, respectively 2nd and 3rd, are powered up at full speed behind Gitana 17 with a deficit of 1,600 and 2,600 miles. Finally, two solo sailors have put their race on hold for now. Tom Laperche’s steed suffered damage over a week ago and arrived in Cape Town on Monday, whilst Anthony Marchand is due to bring his giant alongside there in the coming hours.

To kick off the latest chapter of WAYPOINT, we invite you to look back at the week’s images with a souvenir photo of the passage of Good Hope, the first cape. Up next is the memorable shot by Niels Gins, fisheries inspector for the French Southern and Antarctic Lands from aboard the Mascareignes 3 offshore of the Kerguelen Islands: austral ambiance with the albatrosses and Gitana 17 in full flight!

Next, it’s over to Julien Villion, one of a trio who make up the routing cell, to review the major weather phenomena of the past week and explain the trajectory and strategy put in place; a highly educational insight, it almost leaves you thinking that it’s a simple exercise.

As ever, this behind-the-scenes immersion continues within the Gitana Base, where Erwan Israël makes the most of his weekly break from routing to fulfil his other role of performance manager. He chats with Yannis Troalen, naval architect within Gitana’s design office in charge of VPP, and tests the latest new features on the five-arrow team’s simulator.

Finally, this Thursday 25 January, we’re very fortunate to be able to get up close and personal with Arnaud Jerald, who holds the world freediving record for constant weight bi-fins. He secured the title in July 2023, by reaching a depth of 122 metres with a dive of 3 minutes and 35 seconds during the Vertical Blue, the world’s most prestigious freediving event. Arnaud and Charles are great friends since the freediver helped the skipper prepare himself mentally for his victorious Route du Rhum in 2022.

Welcome to the 4th episode of WAYPOINT!

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