At the gateway to the trade winds
The Brest Atlantiques fleet celebrated three weeks at sea this Tuesday! For the leader, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, this also coincided with a round number since at 07:00 UTC this morning, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier had completed 75% of the course. As such, the 32-metre giant fitted out by Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild is now positioned some 3,400 miles from the north-west tip of Brittany. In the South Atlantic, which the sailors are beginning to freely describe as monotonous, the hierarchy hasn't shifted for days. Indeed, at the last position report, Gitana 17 was 415.4 miles ahead of Actual Leader and 912.2 miles in front of Macif.
On the South Atlantic chessboard, the three giants still racing have advanced their pawns. A firm fixture at the front of the pack, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is leading play on a more or less direct course. Some 400 miles astern, but further to the East, we find Actual Leader, whilst Macif has chosen a much more radical option to the West. In terms of speed, at the 15:00 UTC position report, François Gabart and Gwénolé Gahinet were beginning to reap the rewards of their course, though they still lamented a deficit of over 900 miles in relation to Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas. In fact, whilst the latest Gitana was sailing at 4°48 South, level with the latitude of Fortaleza in North-East Brazil, its rival was at 20°37 South. A contrast which is all the more striking given that on this 22nd day at sea in the Brest Atlantiques, the men on Gitana were finally beginning to feel the first signs of the long-awaited SE'ly trade winds!
“The time it's taking to reach the equator is dragging on this occasion! At the same time, we're coming at it from a long way off. We're coming from Cape Town. The gateway's not in our immediate vicinity. To reach it we're going to sail 800 miles to the West. We're going to end up closer to America than Africa!” explained Franck Cammas.
Whatever happens, the coming days and the famous passage through the Doldrums are still shaping up to be very intense. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is set to make her return to the northern hemisphere on Thursday morning at the latest, which equates to eighteen days after her passage on the outward leg.
=> TODAY'S VIDEO
A world of contemplation despite the competition
For over twenty-two days, the competition in the Brest Atlantiques has been intense. Topping the leader board since passing Rio de Janeiro, over twelve days ago, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are allowing themselves little respite despite the lead they've amassed in relation to their pursuers: 415.4 miles ahead of Actual Leader and 912.2 in front of Macif. However, as fans of wide open spaces the skippers of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild know how to relish the seascapes and colours currently offered up to them in the middle of the South Atlantic. Once again, Yann Riou treats us to some fabulous images!
Ranking on 26 November 2019 at 15:00 UTC
1. MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) - distance to the goal: 3,406.6 miles - average speed over the past 30 mins: 21.2 knots
2. ACTUAL LEADER (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella / Ronan Gladu) - 415.5 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 15.8 knots
3.MACIF (François Gabart / Gwenolé Gahinet / Jérémie Eloy) - 912.2 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 26.8 knots
RETIREMENT - SODEBO ULTIM 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nelias / Martin Keruzoré)