Thirty hours of racing
Being at the helm of one of the fastest yachts in the world but having to contend with a lack of wind to make headway, serves as a stark reminder, if it were necessary, that offshore racing is also a school of patience!
On Thursday 30 May, at 16:30 hours local time, the three Ultimes in the fleet – of which the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild formed a part – were the last to take the start of the ArMen Race Uship. In a light W’ly breeze of around ten knots, the new Sodebo very quickly demonstrated that she was more at ease and led the way out of La Teignouse channel and the Baie de Quiberon. In the very gentle conditions, certainly not the favourite conditions for the latest addition to the Gitana fleet, the men had to manœuvre and trim constantly.
In fact, the skippers of Gitana 17 were supported by four crew for this long coastal course. David Boileau, boat captain, and Olivier Douillard, head of performance for the team, both very familiar with the boat, were present. The same was true of Erwan Israël and Gwénolé Gahinet, though they were putting in their very first tacks. And, lest we forget, there was Yann Riou too – Gitana’s mediaman – who knew just how to capture the essence of this outing in his usual fashion.
Out front, Thomas Coville and his men would not be caught up and so it was that they secured the first victory of the year as they crossed the finish line yesterday, Friday 31 May, at around 20:30 hours. The crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild followed suit at sunset after more than thirty hours of racing offshore of the coast of the Morbihan and Finistère regions.
A positive discovery phase
The hours spent out on the water are the only ones worth their salt in terms of apprenticeship. Discovering this machine in race conditions, despite them being light and a far cry from those usually sought after, was the primary objective for the Edmond de Rothschild duo, who set sail with no pressure on their shoulders for this first official outing. With a deserved second place and around thirty very instructive hours, it was job done and a great introduction to the 2019 season.
Start of the Fastnet on 3 August
The fleet of giants will hook up again in early August for the start of the famous Rolex Fastnet Race, where there will likely be four of them setting sail from Cowes. In the meantime, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier will rack up as many sessions out on the water as possible and continue to discover the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in speeded-up mode. It promises to be a studious summer!