In single file en route to Brazil
Since exiting the Doldrums at lunchtime on Sunday, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has been sailing in a moderate SE'ly trade wind, fluctuating between 15 and 20 knots. Such conditions are favourable to speed and they're enabling the leader of the Brest Atlantiques to lengthen her stride en route to Brazil. At the 07:00 UTC ranking, Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas had stretched out their lead still further, bagging a few more miles ahead of their pursuers, Macif now 179.5 miles astern of Gitana 17 whilst Sodebo Ultim has racked up a deficit of 265.9 miles. The separation remains slender though after six days at sea, so it's always good to get extra miles in the bank with a view to their impending technical pit stop in Salvador de Bahia.
Gearing up for a technical pit stop
As announced yesterday, the duo on Edmond de Rothschild and their media man Yann Riou will make a technical pit stop over the coming hours to repair their damaged daggerboard following some kind of impact offshore of the Cape Verde archipelago. Salvador de Bahia, an historic port associated with the finish of the Transat Jacques Vabre, is a very familiar destination for our sailors who have excelled in the latter event on a number of occasions. Right now though, it's also the best possible option to effect repairs as it's right on the current path of the latest addition to the Gitana fleet.
Cyril Dardashti, director of Gitana Team, is supervising operations from the five-arrow team's HQ in Lorient, Brittany. “The shore team arrived in Salvador last night. Today, it must prepare all the equipment so that when the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild makes landfall, operations link together as smoothly and quickly as possible. We have lots of really valuable support, as much from the organisers of the Transat Jacques Vabre as the managers of the Marina de Salvador de Bahia. It's never desirable to bring things to a halt so it's hard for Franck and Charles, who have given their all since the start to build up the lead they have established today over the rest of the fleet, but this stopover is essential if they are to hit the racetrack again with a boat sailing at her full potential."
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A night at the heart of the Doldrums
This zone which stretches out on either side of the equator is feared by sailors. According to its moods, you can be treated to storms, followed by hours with no wind, before the rain hammers down on the decks. Here, it's a bit like a game of cat and mouse and you have to thread your way along to get out of it as fast as possible. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has performed well in this exercise. Following their passage through, Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas have retained the head of the fleet, even increasing their lead significantly over their pursuers; 20 miles on the way in and 130 miles on the way out in relation to Macif. Yann Riou takes us behind the scenes of this night at the heart of the Doldrums.
Ranking on Monday 11 November at 07:00 UTC
MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) - distance to the goal: 10,157.4 miles - average speed over the past 30 mins: 27.4 knots
MACIF (François Gabart / Gwenolé Gahinet / Jérémie Eloi) - 179.5 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 28.6 knots
SODEBO ULTIM 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nelias / Martin Keruzoré) - 265.9 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 28 knots
ACTUAL LEADER (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella / Ronan Gladu) - 503.2 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 23.2 knots