Code orange activated, a fresh departure to round off 2020?
A month ago to the day, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was forced to turn back and cut short her first Jules Verne Trophy record attempt after a collision, which damaged the rudder and foil on the port float. With this incident occurring relatively early on in the standby period scheduled by the Gitana Team, it was possible to envisage a fresh departure once the repairs were made and above all a favourable weather window. The latter could open up from this coming Tuesday through until Thursday 31 December inclusive.

Orange is the new black…

After a long return journey to their base in Lorient as a result of the rather atypical weather in the North Atlantic, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild entrusted the 32-metre giant to the expert hands of their shore crew in early December. Shortly before the festive break, the latest of the Gitanas was ready to get back down to action once more thanks to the outstanding work and reactivity of the team managed by Cyril Dardashti. All that was lacking at that point was the desired weather sequence to set sail on the 21,760 theoretical miles that make up the big looped circuit around the planet.

Since that time, the weather cell comprising the two skippers, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, and their router Marcel van Triest, have been scanning the grib file forecasts morning and evening in a bid to pinpoint this famous ‘window’. A potential departure opportunity is currently under study and may well lead to the crew crossing the start line offshore of Ushant between 29 and 31 December. As a result, Gitana Team has triggered the switch to code orange this Sunday!

The Dutch router, effectively the 7th man of the crew, unwraps the atypical situation in which the six-man crew could set sail from Tuesday and, though far from perfect, the potential weather window that has the whole team’s attention with just days to go until we move into 2021: 
“It’s not the extraordinary window we’d hoped for at the start of standby, but it’s definitely worth taking seriously as it offers a reasonable passage time over the first third of the course. Right now, there is very rough weather offshore of Brittany with Storm Bella having swept the Atlantic coast and the English Channel. The wind is set to move round to the NNW, then it should ease from tomorrow evening. The sea state should also become more practicable. For now, these boisterous conditions are too full-on and are barring any chance of departing. However, we can’t hang around too long because, in the coming days, if the weather models play out as expected, a depression is forming to the WSW of the Canaries, in the middle of the Atlantic, and as it shifts over towards the African coast, it would likely cause a complete break in the trade wind system…” Remaining vigilant, opportunistic and ready to go, such are the day’s watchwords for the Gitana Team. 

Tomorrow morning, the six sailors on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and the team which is supporting them in this Jules Verne Trophy quest will come back together at the five-arrow racing stable’s base in Lorient where a busy programme awaits. This will include a weather briefing with Marcel van Triest, PCR tests, the loading of provisions and the preparation of their personal gear, ensuring a high-speed start to the week that will hopefully reflect the challenge ahead for Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, Yann Riou, Erwan Israël, Morgan Lagravière and David Boileau. 

Jules Verne Trophy memo:

Crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild:

Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
David Boileau, trimmer bowman
Erwan Israël, helm trimmer
Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
Yann Riou, trimmer media man

Marcel van Triest, weather router
Yann Eliès, replacement crew

Record to beat:

40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes > Record held by Francis Joyon and his crew (Idec Sport) since 26 January 2017.

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