Coastal navigation
Yesterday, at 19:16 UTC, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was still leading the way and had left in her wake Robben Island, the second and final course mark in the Brest Atlantiques. Since then, Charles Caudrelier and Franck Cammas have been exploiting a corridor of breeze along the African coast in a bid to gain ground to the north. This climb up to the northern hemisphere is not shaping up to be the simplest of passages from a weather perspective. Astern of them, the situation has changed in terms of the ranking since Cape Town, as Macif’s second pit stop has enabled Actual Leader to move up a place. At the 19:00 UTC position report, the men on Gitana Team boasted a lead of 204.8 miles in relation to the second boat and 232.7 miles in relation to François Gabart and Gwénolé Gahinet now third.
An epic passage

It’s important to understand that for sailors racing offshore, one of the biggest stresses remains their proximity to land. The risks of collision there are numerous and the slightest glitch with a manœuvre can prove catastrophic. If we add changeable weather conditions to the mix as there were yesterday evening in Table Bay… you have all the ingredients to get the old ticker racing!

When the silhouette of Table Mountain looming ahead of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, night was beginning to fall over Cape Town. The SSE’ly breeze of around thirty knots was propelling the 32-metre giant along at high speed towards the bay and the sadly notorious Robben Island. Yann Riou really made the most of this period of high speed making over 40 knots and he managed to get his drone airborne once again for a truly epic flight that he will remember for a very long time to come… Approaching the South cardinal mark (Whale Rock), just a few hundred metres from the entrance to the port, the wind suddenly plummeted! “The wind went from 30 to 0 knots in less than a minute, before rotating and re-establishing itself at 30 knots. Given the proximity of the coast, it wasn’t at all pleasant”, explained Franck Cammas. “We didn’t lose too much ground during the passage, which was a good thing as it really is a windless hole! You can remain completely at a standstill and be unable to make your mark...”

And when it comes to talking about Cape Town, the two skippers know what they’re talking about. Indeed, the city is an iconic stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race and hence a stretch of water very familiar to the two skippers of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Each of them likes this South African city and that’s why they’d initially hoped to pass it in daylight hours and make the most of the incredible panorama: “It was just too bad, unfortunately we passed by under the cover of darkness, but the city was right there! We could smell the aromas of land… It would have been nice to stop off there but that’s not the name of the game in this particular race”, joked the sailor from Aix-en-Provence. “Cape Town’s behind us! The next passage mark is Brest!” Only given the weather conditions reigning over the South Atlantic, it’s still a long way to north-west Brittany: “To get to Brest, we’re going to have to close on Brazil or the United States for now. The outlook isn’t very quick and it’s complicated up ahead”, concluded Charles Caudrelier.


Experience the passage of the 2nd course mark as if you were there, through the lens of Yann Riou. Franck Cammas et Charles Caudrelier rounded Robben Island early evening on Wednesday 20 November at 19:16 UTC. It was pitch black at the foot of Table Mountain and the effects of land in the bay certainly spiced up this race highlight.


Ranking on 21 November 2019 at 19:00 UTC

1.MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) - distance to the goal: 5,307.2 miles - average speed over the past 30 mins: 32.6 knots

2. ACTUAL LEADER (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella / Ronan Gladu) – 204.8 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 18.3 knots

3. MACIF (François Gabart / Gwenolé Gahinet / Jérémie Eloy) – 232.7 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 21.3 knots

4. SODEBO ULTIM 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nelias / Martin Keruzoré) – 403.7 miles behind the leader - on a pit stop in Cape Town

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