Nothing simple in Brest Atlantiques

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(November 30, 2019; Day 26) – With less than 2000 miles to go before the finish of 14,000nm Brest Atlantiques, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas/Charles Caudrelier) is now racing against the clock to reach the Azores as quickly as possible and then head straight for Brest.

Meanwhile, for MACIF (François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet) and Actual Leader (Yves Le Blévec/Alex Pella), it looks like it will be an interesting and strategic play off to finish this race for Ultim 32/23 Class trimarans.

Even though they now have a comfortable lead, Cammas and Caudrelier are in no way slowing down. “Having passed Cape Verde, the challenge for us now is to reach the Azores as soon as possible in order to enter into a front, and benefit from favorable wind conditions to get us quickly back to Brest,” explained Cammas. “We’re doing everything we can to make fast progress, albeit with pretty light winds.”

These light winds did in fact slow them down for part of today, with the boat averaging 22.8 knots between the 11am and 3pm rankings. If they manage to reach the Azores as scheduled in two days, they should then be able to attack the final stretch at speed, and arrive in Brest on the morning of December 4. If not, they’ll encounter some difficult weather conditions, and it will be a few hours later before they are able to reach the finish.

In second and third position, MACIF and Actual Leader crossed the Doldrums without any real problems. “Towards the end of yesterday, we weren’t going very fast at all; there was little wind and a pretty choppy sea, so it was difficult to make good progress,” said Gabart. “That said, we haven’t run into anything too extreme. Apart from a fairly strong squall of 22 knots, crossing the Doldrums hasn’t been as dangerous as it could have been. We got out at around 2-3am this morning.”

Actual Leader followed suit a few hours later and are now 150 miles behind MACIF.

Looking at their current routes and progression, MACIF and Actual Leader are expected to arrive in Brest by December 6 and 7. “We’re going to have to speed up and above all choose our options wisely,” says Gabart. “We have to be quite tactical here, not to compete with Gitana, who now seem to have a fairly straightforward route back to Brest, but with Actual Leader. It’s going to be quite complex, there will be quite a few possibilities for us on the North Atlantic.”

And so, the game is on right to the very end…

DNF: Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias retired on November 22 while in Cape Town when it was determined that the damages to Sodebo Ultim 3 were too serious to carry on safely. Details.

The race sends these doublehanded speedsters on a course from Brest that will turn at Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Cape Town (South Africa) before returning to Brest. The Ultim Class is for trimarans with a maximum length of 32 meters and a maximum width of 23 meters.

The turning marks will see the boats leave to port the chain of Cagarras Islands, in front of the famous Ipanema beach in the Bay of Rio and Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.

It is an unprecedented course, lined with several weather traps, especially along The Cape, a route almost never taken in offshore racing.

Each entry will be skippered by four fantastic pairs and accompanied by a media man who is not allowed to take an active role in the performance of the boat. The teams are:

• Actual Leader: Yves Le Blévec/Alex Pella
• Maxi Edmond de Rothschild: Franck Cammas/Charles Caudrelier
• MACIF: François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet
• Sodebo Ultim 3: Thomas Coville/Jean-Luc Nélias

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