Charles Caudrelier solo training
Relaunched a fortnight ago after a demanding winter refit, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and her skipper are now getting down to the nitty-gritty! Kicking off the week in crewed format to prepare for the Finistère Atlantique (start on 1 July from Concarneau, Brittany), Charles Caudrelier cast off from the Lorient base in false solo mode on Wednesday for two nights of offshore sail training. Accompanied by the five-arrow team’s trusty media man Yann Riou he set a course for the south of Ireland and the legendary Fastnet Rock. The aim was to hunt down more sustained breeze than there is along the French coast right now and hence conditions more suited to his first training session in Route du Rhum configuration.

Whilst some of his rivals are participating in the crewed ArMen Race, Charles Caudrelier opted instead to favour singlehanded format. It has to be said that for this express trip to the Fastnet and back, the conditions were perfect. Indeed, the skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was able to treat himself to some great high-speed phases to get his bearings again aboard the 32-metre giant.

“There was certainly some variety during this 36-hour passage and that’s exactly what I was after for getting things going again. There was nothing extreme in terms of wind strength, but I had up to 25 knots in the Irish Sea. There were a lot of manoeuvres required with some reefing, headsail changes and some technical points of sail… We posted a fine average speed bordering on 40 knots, which is always very instructive when you want to know what kind of pace you can set on the boat. This false solo format is also very beneficial in terms of managing things aboard. There was a lot of shipping along the course with cargo ships and small fishing boats, which meant I had to be incredibly attentive to what was going on around me so there was little sleep on my part. It's a really interesting exercise and this type of format involves a steep learning curve. That’s how you raise your game in solo format and in more offshore configurations,” admitted Charles Caudrelier, who is very focused on his main objective for the year ahead, the legendary transatlantic between Saint Malo and Pointe-à-Pitre.     

Next week, following a series of more specific technical trials out on the water, the sailor is keen to head offshore again for a few days and this time his objective will be to complete his singlehanded qualifying passage for the Route du Rhum.   


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