Circumnavigation of the anticylone soon to be complete
For the past two days, the head of the Brest Atlantiques fleet has been sailing at around 40 degrees South. These southerly latitudes, often nicknamed the roaring forties due to the strong winds that reign there, have been showing the skippers of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild a much gentler side. The culprit? The Saint Helena High, which has dropped quite a long way South and is therefore forcing the latest Gitana to zigzag her way along a narrow corridor between the edge of the zone of calms characteristic of high pressure and the imaginary line that marks the exclusion zone set up by the organisers to avoid the ice. Despite these major manœuvres and the miles conceded to their pursuers, Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas are still leading the way with a 134.8-mile lead over Macif and 241.1 miles in relation to Actual Leader at 15:00 UTC.
Changes afoot in the rankings

Yesterday, the Sodebo Ultim team announced that they were encountering difficulties after colliding with a UFO (Unidentified Floating Object). Later in the day, having had the time to assess the situation in more depth, Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias had some images sent back of their damage via the intermediary of their media man. The damage is significant since the rudder on the starboard float has pulled away, leaving a sizeable hole in the bottom of the float on the Maxi-trimaran. The team will be making a pit stop at Cape Town to decide how to proceed with their race. This misfortune, which all the competing teams are concerned about, has however proved beneficial to Actual Leader today, enabling Yves Le Blevec and Alex Pella to move up into the provisional third spot.


From a zigzag to a straight-line course

It’s not good to be at the front on this fifteenth day of racing! Indeed, leading the slog towards Cape Town, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has been having to carve out a zigzag wake punctuated by gybes for over twenty-four hours now. Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas would happily do without the combination of manœuvres, but they are proving necessary for the duo to make headway towards the next course mark at the foot of Table Mountain, the stunning landmark that dominates the city. This is particularly true given that their rivals aren’t being subjected to the same weather constraints and can simply remain on the same tack at high speed! Marcel van Triest, the weather router for the five-arrow team, explains the situation to us: “The Saint Helena High is further South than usual and is currently shifting towards the East, North-East. With regards to our timing and our lead, we’ve had to slip below the zone of high pressure and round to the South of it in a W’ly wind, which is forcing us onto a series of gybes to make headway. The situation is a little similar for the crew of Macif, even though it arrived in the weather phenomenon a little later and has therefore been spared several manœuvres. Astern, it’s a different story. Actual and Sodebo, who are 3rd and 4th, are making headway off the back of the zone of high pressure with a NW’ly wind and don’t have to gybe in order to make headway towards the goal, instead sailing a straight-line course towards the passage mark! Coming up, the anticyclone will come to a standstill as it’ll be stopped in its tracks by the African continent and we’ll finally be able to pass to the other side. However, before that happens, we’ll have a zone of light winds to negotiate. As a result, things are set to slow again up front from tomorrow morning.” 

According to the latest routing, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is set to reach Cape Town and Robben Island, the second official course mark in this Brest Atlantiques, late tomorrow, just a little less than a week after leaving Rio de Janeiro in her wake. 


DIY and job sharing

Sailing double-handed, particularly on machines like these, is a unique exercise in offshore racing. The sailors often say that it’s similar to singlehanded sailing albeit in relay, aside for the major manoeuvres, which are carried out as a duo for greater speed! Aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the division of tasks between Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier is clear: one of them inspects and the other gets down to the repairs! Through Yann Riou’s lens, we discover a somewhat humorous side of this job share that’s not exactly fair…


Ranking on 19 November 2019 at 15:00 UTC

1.MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) - distance to the goal: 6,359.4 miles - average speed over the past 30 mins: 27.7 knots

2. MACIF (François Gabart / Gwenolé Gahinet / Jérémie Eloy) – 134.8 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 28.6 knots

3. ACTUAL LEADER (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella / Ronan Gladu) – 241.1 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins:  33 knots  

4. SODEBO ULTIM 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nelias / Martin Keruzoré) - 284 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 29.2 knots

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