Saint Helena, act two in sight
Since being the first to pass offshore of Cape Town on Wednesday evening, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has begun her long climb up to Brest. Ahead of the bows of the latest edition to the Gitana fleet there are 5,000 miles (9,260 kilometres) left to cover, which equates to another third of the route to go. After forty-eight hours sailing along the African coast to benefit from a stronger corridor of breeze along the coast and thus avoid the calm conditions of the Saint Helena High, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have stretched their lead to over 297.7 miles in relation to Macif, their closest pursuer, which in turn has Actual Leader hot on their heels.
Repeated collisions

Since 5 November, the date of the race start in Brest, the Brest Atlantiques fleet has not been spared of collisions with UFOs (Unidentified Floating Objects). This is unfortunately evidenced by the numerous pit stops made by the teams over the past eighteen days at sea. Indeed, Sodebo Ultim is paying a heavy price right now and is still in the pits this Friday, over 24 hours after her arrival in the South African port. However, this comes as no surprise to the sailors, who are all too aware that given the speeds reached by their steed today and with the additional appendages necessary for flight, the risk of collision is ever present.

Last night, the men on Gitana Team alerted their shore crew to the fact that they’d come to an abrupt halt. “The boat came to a fairly violent halt and we had to backtrack a bit before we were able to resume our course. In the pitch black it was hard to know what it was! At daybreak, we inspected all the hulls and appendages and everything’s alright fortunately”, admitted Charles Caudrelier.

Heading towards balmier latitudes

The further North the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild gets, the better life is aboard the 32-metre giant. Indeed, despite the fairly hospitable weather conditions at forty degrees, where our duo spent some long days last week, it’s never easy to sail in these southerly latitudes. For starters there’s the low temperatures and the additional clothing required as multiple fleece layers aren’t exactly conducive to the fluidity of the manoeuvres and daily life.

In this way, our duo made no secret of its satisfaction at rediscovering more familiar waters. The only blip was that of our media man, who up till now hadn’t managed to snap any images of the famous albatrosses: “Yesterday morning, a few hours after passing Cape Town, I went up on deck and came face to face with an albatross. This time, I had hold of my camera. Well... being a wildlife photographer is quite a job and it’s not mine! The two little birds whose photos I’m supposed to take are generally a little less timid! However, in the end, I got the photo of the iconic animal of the Southern Ocean! In fact we were wondering what they were doing in this neck of the woods. Looking a little closer at the cartography of South Africa, I came across “Albatross Island” not far from our position, which can’t be completely down to luck… Today, I’d be really surprised to come across any others. The temperature’s gradually rising the further north we climb. We’re removing our fleece layers and looking ahead. In front of us we have a zone of high pressure to cross”, wrote Yann Riou this lunchtime.

The coastal navigation undertaken by Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier since rounding Robben Island isn’t set to last much longer, as Marcel van Triest explains: “We’re beginning to round the Saint Helena High just at the point where it would seem timely to put some northing into our course to line ourselves up for the passage of the Doldrums.”

Ranking on 22 November 2019 at 15:00 UTC

1.MAXI EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier / Yann Riou) - distance to the goal: 4,964.9 miles - average speed over the past 30 mins: 29.0 knots

2.MACIF (François Gabart / Gwenolé Gahinet / Jérémie Eloy) – 297.7 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 18.0 knots

3. ACTUAL LEADER (Yves Le Blevec / Alex Pella / Ronan Gladu) – 301.1 miles behind the leader - average speed over the past 30 mins: 18.4 knots

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

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