Charles Caudrelier and the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild take the crown in the Arkea Ultim Challenge - Brest
This Tuesday 27 February at 07:37:42 UTC, Charles Caudrelier crossed the finish line of the Arkea Ultim Challenge-Brest. At the helm of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the skipper of Gitana Team, who yesterday celebrated his fiftieth birthday, wins this race of pioneers, completing his first solo circumnavigation of the globe in 50 days 19 hours 7 minutes, 42 seconds at an average speed of 23.74 knots over an actual distance of 28,938 miles. A victory which is shared with Ariane de Rothschild and all the team founded in 2000 by Benjamin de Rothschild.

For the past 50 odd days at sea, Charles Caudrelier has demonstrated exceptional control and commitment aboard his 32-metre Ultim, the first flying boat to circumnavigate the globe via the three capes. This personal sporting achievement also rewards the boldness of a visionary team who, 10 years ago, together with the naval architect Guillaume Verdier, came up with the design of a giant trimaran capable of ‘foiling’ in the open ocean.

Ariane de Rothschild, founder and owner of the Gitana Team:

“Firstly, I wanted to congratulate and thank Charles Caudrelier for completing and winning this round the world race in a truly exceptional way. I’d also like to spare a thought for the Gitana teams, who have supported and lived every moment of this adventure alongside him with such intensity and determination.

This race has been very trying for both the sailors and the boats, which makes this solo round the world on an Ultim all the more impressive. I also wanted to say how moved I am about this boat, Gitana 17. We created her and designed her with the aim of making her the first maxi-trimaran to fly around the planet. That’s a done deal now and a total consecration. I’d like to spare a thought too for Guillaume Verdier, his teams, the Gitana design office and Cyril Dardashti, without whom this magnificent boat would not exist. With this latest dazzling victory, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has earned her place in the great family tradition and in legend. I feel incredibly touched and very thrilled.” 

Cyril Dardashti, General Manager of the Gitana Team: “It is an epic moment for us all, for the team, for Charles, for our owner. It has taken 10 years to get to this rewarding point. It is our first successful round the world within the racing stable. Doing so on a multihull, which is part of the Gitana Team’s DNA, and to win the race in flight mode, is the finest accolade we could ever wish for. Charles has been terrific since the start of this race. We had no doubt he would be. He has achieved something incredible here. He has shown his peers that he is a great sailor.”

Charles’ race: points of note

The Atlantic in close contact

The start on 7 January 2024 is followed by a bunched descent of the Atlantic. In the trade wind, in the high seas off Cape Verde, the race between four of the six competitors soon transforms into a duel with SVR Lazartigue. This mano a mano in contact with Tom Laperche reaches a head at the gateway to the Roaring Forties. Charles Caudrelier racks up three days at an average speed of nearly 35 knots (838 miles for his best distance in 24 hours). He moves into the lead on 17 January, whilst his rival, the victim of serious damage, diverts to Cape Town and has to retire.

Passage around the Cape of Good Hope:

On 19 January at 13:32:22 UTC, in 12d 1h 2min and 22s – in 1st position

A record Indian

The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild powers along ahead of an austral depression after hitching a ride with the system offshore of Brazil, which will propel him along as far as the Kerguelen archipelago. He is the only competitor in this position. A whole weather system ahead of his rivals, he extends his lead inexorably. The five-arrow giant pierces through the Indian Ocean in 8 days, 8 hours 20 minutes and 36 seconds.

Passage of Cape Leeuwin 

On 25 January at 18:14:05 UTC, after 18 days 5 hours 44 minutes and 5 seconds of racing – in 1st position – New solo reference time.

Solo record for the passage across the Indian Ocean

On 28 January, Charles Caudrelier crosses the longitude of South East Cape at 12:03:10 UTC after 20 days 11 hours 33 minutes and 10 seconds of racing. He covers the 6,113 miles between Cape Agulhas (South Africa) and South East Cape in 8 days 8 hours 20 minutes and 36 seconds, at an average speed of 30.7 knots.

Pacific: slowing down in order to escape

It all begins beautifully in a long Pacific swell, which enables the blue trimaran to make headway at an average speed of 30 knots for four days. Astern, the weather and a series of damage thwart the progress of Thomas Coville (pit stop in Tasmania) and Armel Le Cléac’h (forced to pass to the north of New Zealand). However, at the midway mark on 1 February, Charles is forced to cram on the brakes to avoid a vicious weather system, which is blocking his way forward to Cape Horn. He spends 48 hours in slow motion. His lead of 3,500 miles over Sodebo protects him from a potential comeback.

Passage around Cape Horn:

On 6 February at 17:08:40 UTC, after 30 days 4 hours 38 minutes and 40 seconds of racing – in 1st position

The last barbed exchanges in the Atlantic

Probably the toughest section of the race for Charles Caudrelier. The presence of ice and then the arrival of a last austral low-pressure system force him to pass to the west of the Falklands and play for time once again. The victim of a debilitating technical issue (which he manages to fix), he also only narrowly avoids capsizing, the boat heeled over at 40 degrees for a few achingly long seconds. The beat along the South American coast is laborious. Finally, the North Atlantic has one last ordeal in store. On 21 February, Charles has to resolve himself to stop off in Horta (Azores), a strategic stopover which will last more than 72 hours to leave time for the very bad weather being served up offshore of the French coast to roll over.

Equator-equator passage

Charles Caudrelier crosses the equator for the 2nd time in his round the world on 16 February 2024 at 07:44:48 UTC, after 39 days, 19 hours, 14 mins and 48 seconds of racing.
Time equator to equator on the outward and return leg: 33 days, 11 h, 33 min

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