The ArMen Race Uship by way of an introduction
Relaunched just a week ago after a six-month reconstruction, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is setting sail this Thursday at 16:30 hours local time on the ArMen Race Uship. This multi-class race, which groups together both professionals and amateurs at the start in La Trinité sur Mer and the Baie de Quiberon, is the first official showdown of 2019 for the flying maxi-trimaran. True to form, her two skippers have opted to get straight to the heart of the matter and utilise the 200-nautical mile coastal course to kickstart their training and get a feel for the latest addition to the Gitana fleet.
In the mix
Yesterday, offshore of Lorient, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier went for their very first sail at the helm of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild; a much-awaited moment for the two newly appointed sailors. The first shakedown went like clockwork and the pair confirmed on their return dockside that they wished to join the fleet of Ultimes Sobedo Ultim 3 and Actual Leader the following day. Yesterday was a very good first day. The medium conditions were almost perfect for going through as many elements as possible and experiencing our first sensations of flight. The boat is extremely powerful and very much on and even keel. I was pleasantly surprised at the helm, admitted Franck Cammas. We had the ArMen Race in the back of our minds, but we needed to keep on track with what is a tight and ambitious time schedule. The team has got right on top of that because, despite the intensity of yesterday, the boat is ready to go sailing and we have no problems to report. Things are heading in the right direction and I hope that we'll very quickly be able to focus on the details that make the difference. With this timing, we're not yet sorted for a race approach, so this race is more about setting the boat up, but it's always more effective to go through this process in race mode and, if possible, with a few rivals in our vicinity. A night at sea is always good for testing the systems, getting your bearings with regards life aboard and above all clocking up some time on the water, which is a good place to start from. Unfortunately, there won't be a lot of wind.
220 miles and one night
With a light breeze forecast, Race Management in charge of the ArMen Race has opted to offer a course reduction, which will consist of a sprint towards La Chaussée de Sein and back, which equates to 220 nautical miles. For all that, this coastal course remains very demanding for the giants like the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, as the crew will likely have to be embroiled in a constant stream of manœuvres. There's a zone of high pressure, which is climbing up from the South and is set to pass southern Brittany tonight. Setting out from La Trinité, we'll probably have the maximum breeze for this course, with 12 knots of W'ly wind expected. This breeze will ease over the course of the evening just as we head northwards. It should pick up again from the SE the following morning, but between the two systems, a windless transition zone is a possibility. The passage to the South of La Chaussée de Sein is scheduled for daybreak tomorrow and the sprint for home will involve a beat in around ten knots of wind. A thermal breeze may well colour play, but here too the overcast skies may well put paid to its installation. Today, the routing is slow in relation to the potential of our machines, with our return scheduled for between Friday night and Saturday morning, explained the skipper of the latest Gitana.
The Ultimes are due to exit the channel from La Trinité-sur-Mer at 16:30 hours. The three giants will be the last boats in the fleet to set sail and will then have to pick their way through a fleet of some one hundred and eighty competitors announced for this 2019 edition.
The crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier Skippers Edmond de Rothschild
Gwénolé Gahinet, Erwan Israël, David Boileau, Olivier Douillard, Yann Riou