A full-on start for the Brest Atlantiques
On Sunday at 12:02 UTC, the fleet of Ultims was supposed to set sail from the tip of Finistère on the 1st edition of the Brest Atlantiques. However, the first storm of the season had other plans, forcing Race Director Jacques Caraës to postpone the initial date. It is finally at 10:00 UTC tomorrow that the 32-metre giants will cross the start line positioned further offshore, some twenty miles or so out from the gully exit. However, the timing of the start is not ideal, notably as a result of the expected weather conditions which are forecast to be rather full-on for the first few hours of the race.
Straight to the point
The sailors competing in the Brest Atlantiques won't have the luxury of observing the others' moves, instead obliged to get straight to the point the moment they cross the finish line. Indeed, offshore of Brest, there's a powerful NNW'ly wind of around thirty knots forecast and very rough seas, with waves of 5 to 6 metres, which will quickly scoop up the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and the other three competing maxi-multihulls.
Cyril Dardashti, Gitana Team's Managing Director took the time to review the planned slot for the new start, a decision that was not backed by everyone within the five-arrow team: “Given the announced weather conditions, I'm surprised by the decision to maintain the start. The situation is not a simple one, that we know, with a narrow weather window to get us out of Brest Harbour in line with the authorities' wishes, but to our mind the slot will be too heavy a workout. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and her rivals will have to exit the Bay of Biscay with the wind gusting between 30 to 38 knots on what are still very heavy seas (5 to 6m) following the passage of storm Amelie. On top of that, we won't have a lot of choice with regards to the angle at which we negotiate Cape Finisterre... We're a fleet of four boats at the start of this race and after the incidents experienced a year ago in the Route du Rhum on the same boats, we set ourselves the goal within the class of going about things in a reasonable fashion, at least at the start. Four boats is already a limited fleet, but I can't even get my head around having any fewer than that. As things stand today, we respect the decision of the organisers and we'll be on the start line tomorrow at 10:00 UTC, but in agreement with the skippers, the race will not be our main focus in the first few hours of the race so as we can sail conservatively for the sake of the men and also for the boat. It's not really the race start we were dreaming of ”
First to cast off
Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and Yann Riou, their media man, will be the first to cast off tomorrow. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild will leave the Quai Malbert at 06:30 UTC and head out into the famous Brest gully. However, it's on their own that the giants will make for the start zone offshore as the sea state will not enable the support ribs to accompany them.
Jacques Caraës, will give the start from the French Navy's imposing BSAH Rhône, an offshore support and assistance vessel, represented on the chart by a diagonal line between the ship and the Chaussée de Sein cardinal mark.