The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild leads the way southwards
Life is passing by at high speed for the sailors competing in the Brest Atlantiques. Having set sail late morning on Tuesday from the tip of Brittany, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and her three rivals were already at the latitude of Madeira this morning. At the 19:00 UTC ranking, the latest addition to the Gitana fleet was consolidating her lead at the head of the fleet, some 43 miles in front of the second placed boat and had passed the latitude of the Canaries. And yet, even though the sequence of weather systems is favourable for fine average speeds, it's no expressway the 32-metre giants are thundering down in their bid to gain southing, as testified by the lively night endured by the Caudrelier / Cammas duo.
A night amidst the squalls of Madeira
The second night for the duo aboard Edmond de Rothschild in the Brest Atlantiques was far from restful. “We had a hard night of it! The shifts (in wind) were so quick, we were still waiting to gybe. As a result we were going every which way Now the skies have cleared so it's better, it's consistent. But it's not easy” admitted Franck Cammas. This sentiment was shared by Charles Caudrelier, who even admitted that he hadn't been able to get any rest in what were stressful conditions for getting the boat making headway: “You can't see the small squalls in the satellite photos or at night either. This morning, I began to make them out and I said to myself that we were never going to manage it! The squall must have been making headway with us the whole night...”
In fact, the first to gybe southwards, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier had to battle away for most of the night to keep on top of the shifty winds caused by the numerous squalls in the sector surrounding the Portuguese archipelago. However, it proved to be a worthwhile pursuit, as they've since been leading the fleet of Ultims.
Yann Riou, the on-board media man gives us an insight into the intimacy of these few hours of toil.
Message received from our media man about life on-board
“Yesterday we removed our first fleece layers. This morning, it's really nice weather. It's very pleasant on deck. For my part, I spend a fair amount of time down below in the central hull when I'm working or resting. My bunk is a few metres from the engine. The first night, when we ran the engine to charge the batteries, it heated up the surrounding atmosphere and it was rather pleasant. A back-up heater! Last night though, the temperature rose enough to warrant the use of a small fan installed above my work station as such I fear our arrival in the tropics somewhat.”
Ranking on Thursday 7 November at 19:00 UTC
1.MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) - distance to the goal: 12,235 miles - average speed over the last 30 mins: 29.7 knots
2.MACIF (François Gabart / Gwenolé Gahinet / Jérémie Eloi) - 43.3 miles behind the leader - average speed over the last 30 mins: 31.6 knots
3.SODEBO ULTIM 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nelias / Martin Keruzoré) - 147.3 miles behind the leader - average speed over the last 30 mins: 16.1 knots
4.ACTUAL LEADER (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella / Ronan Gladu) - 317.7 miles behind the leader - average speed over the last 30 mins: 26.2 knots