Under the 1,000-mile barrier!
This morning, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, the solid leaders of the Brest Atlantiques, treated themselves to a passage through the Azores archipelago. However, making over thirty knots and in the pitch black, it wasn't quite what you'd call tourism for the duo on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. At 15:00 UTC this Monday 2 December, the giant with five arrows was less than 1,000 miles from the finish, 920 miles from the goal to be precise. She is now closer to Brest than she is to her two pursuers who are relegated to nearly 1,300 miles behind. The numbers are stacked in their favour, however the sailors of Gitana Team are much too experienced to consider blowing the whistle to call time. Indeed, they know that these last few miles are among the most important. On top of that, since this morning they've been on a reach in a beefy S'ly breeze making headway at speeds fluctuating between 30 and 40 knots; conditions which call for a great deal of vigilance at the helm and on deck. If the forecasts play out as planned, the maxi-trimaran fitted out by Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild could well make her entrance into Brest harbour by Wednesday morning at the latest.
Foulies back in favour on deck
This morning, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was threading her way between the Azores archipelago at over 30 knots between the islands of Terceira and Sao Miguel. Targeted for several days by their weather router, this waypoint heralded the start of a fairly lively but efficient reach (wind on the beam) in terms of velocity made good towards the goal! “We've managed to hook onto the right carriage and we're currently sailing ahead of a front that's crossing the Atlantic. This front is enabling us to make rapid headway with a S'ly wind of 18-24 knots. We're going to be able to keep ahead of it but right now there's a zone of high pressure to the west of Europe, centred over the Scillies, and we're going to end up stumbling into these light airs. As a result, Franck and Charles will experience an abrupt change of gear as they approach the coast with a wind that will very quickly switch from the south to the east”, explained Marcel van Triest.
Aboard the latest Gitana, the passage between the islands that make up the Portuguese archipelago also marked a change of atmosphere: “This morning I pulled on my foulies for the first time since Cape Town. It's also the first time since the southern latitudes that we've been sailing in a depression, or ahead of a front at least. We've circumnavigated a lot of anticyclones of late... We passed the Azores in the early hours. It's not too cold yet, but you can sense that we're entering the European winter. The sea hasn't been very smooth since we passed the Azores. We're not going to go on the attack because we want to preserve the boat and above all we now have a very comfortable lead over our pursuers to make that feasible for us”, explained Charles Caudrelier.
ETA, place your bets!
According to the latest routing, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild should be able to cross the finish line, which runs diagonally between the signal station on the Saint-Mathieu headland and that of the Toulinguet headland, on the Crozon peninsula side, by Wednesday morning at the latest. Indeed, as explained by the router for the Cammas / Caudrelier duo, the end of the race should be played out in light airs generated by the anticyclone located to the west of Europe. So although we'll have to wait a little longer to find out the exact time, one thing for sure this evening is that the sun should be out to welcome them home but essentially it's the cold air from the north-east that will punctuate the finish of this 1st edition of the Brest Atlantiques.
Ranking on 2 December 2019 at 15:00 UTC
1. MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) - distance to the goal: 920.9 miles - average speed over the past 30 mins: 33.5 knots
2. MACIF (François Gabart / Gwenolé Gahinet / Jérémie Eloy) - 1,282.5 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 13.6 knots
3. ACTUAL LEADER (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella / Ronan Gladu) - 1,328.5 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 17.2 knots
RETIREMENT - SODEBO ULTIM 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nelias / Martin Keruzoré)