Making for the Horn
This Sunday 4 February should have marked Charles Caudrelier’s passage around Cape Horn. However, that would not have taken into account the 48 hours at a standstill in the middle of the Pacific to allow a vast low-pressure system to roll through. The latter, anticipated to perfection by the trio who make up the routing cell for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, was quite simply blocking the way forward for the leader of the Arkea Ultim Challenge as it would have generated much too extreme sailing conditions. Since yesterday evening, the five-arrow giant has been able to get back out on the racetrack again, albeit at a very conservative pace, as the atmosphere reigning on the approach to the third cape of this round the world remains tempestuous.
Gunning for a Tuesday rounding

Four weeks of racing lay in the wake of the Arkea Ultim Challenge competitors and already over 19,000 miles have been covered by the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Though time has appeared to stand still since Thursday evening, the oceanic rhythm is gently picking up again aboard the Verdier design. That said, the instructions are clear: gently pick up the pace to preserve the boat in what are still heavy seas in the stormy conditions on the back of a low-pressure system. This evening, the Horn is some 1,100 miles in front.

Despite this pause, Charles Caudrelier still boasts a sizeable lead: 2,774.2 miles ahead of Armel Le Cléac’h and 3,052.6 miles ahead of Thomas Coville. Given the conditions they’ve had to contend with and the trajectories forced upon them by the strong depressions sweeping across the south of New Zealand, their entry into the Pacific certainly won’t go down as their favourite memory from this adventure.

Charles Caudrelier, 4 February

“It was a bit of a long wait but ultimately, it’s very positive as I’ve been able to get some rest at night and I’m fighting fit before attacking the next phase. I also got the chance to carry out a thorough check of the entire boat and repair what were essentially minor injuries at this stage of the game. Above all, I’ve got the situation into perspective now that I see my little playmates behind. I have no regrets about the Horn! If you’ve never sailed in this area and you look at the weather forecast, you might well imagine that it would work out okay, but it’s a very special area. It is one of the most exposed places on the planet for sailing. On top of that, we’re in a race, and we manage the situation in relation to our rivals too. Had we continued, I could have rounded the Horn with a one-week lead over my rivals. I was fortunate enough to be able to play for time and ultimately it was the right decision. Not someone prone to contemplation, I must admit that I appreciated those 48 hours. The constant speed wears you out. I have a fine Pacific swell accompanying me, which is a good 6 metres right now.” 

Ranking on 4 February at the 18:00 UTC position report 

1/ Maxi Edmond de Rothschild - Charles Caudrelier   
2/ Maxi Banque Populaire XI - Armel Le Cleac’h – 2,774.2 miles behind the leader 
3/ Sodebo Ultim 3 - Thomas Coville – 3,052.6 miles behind the leader 
4/ Actual Ultim 3 - Anthony Marchand – 5,672.7 miles behind the leader 
5/ Ultim Adagio - Eric Peron 7,226.6 miles behind the leader 

SVR Lazartigue - Tom Laperche

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