Start of the Drheam Cup
The Drheam Cup 2020, rechristened the Grand Prix de France de course au large for its 3rd edition, set sail from Cherbourg this Sunday 19 July at 13:00 hours local time. Delighted to be able to rekindle their ties with competition after a long period without racing due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is making its debut in the race. Skippers Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have gathered alongside them four talented sailors for the occasion: Morgan Lagravière, Yann Elies, David Boileau and Yann Riou. Though the format of the exercise and the weather forecast will be a far cry from the season’s main sports objective, the Jules Verne Trophy, the 750 miles announced for the Ultime course will be a great opportunity to validate the winter’s modifications and size up the competition. After a few hours of racing and an express passage across the English Channel, the men of Gitana Team were leading the way along the English coast and were the first to clear the W Shambles mark in a quickly fading breeze.

From Cherbourg to La Trinité-sur-Mer, via the Irish Sea and the Rochebonne plateau

The high-pressure conditions which are set to establish themselves in the Irish Sea from tomorrow, have prompted the organisers to review the 1,100-mile course so that the boats can benefit from weather conditions worthy of a proper race. As such, the Isle of Man mark has been removed and the route adopted by the Ultimes will take on a more southerly course than originally intended. From out at sea, midway through the delivery of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild to the Cotentin peninsula for the start of the race, Franck Cammas detailed the expected weather scenario: “The first part of the race will involve fairly light conditions, which may not be the easiest way to kick off proceedings, but everyone will be in the same boat figuratively speaking! We have to cross the English Channel as we must leave the W Shambles mark to port, and we may have to hunt down some thermal breeze along the coast, before setting a course for Lizard Point, the Scillies and the waypoint repositioned in the Irish Sea. If the weather forecasts remain favourable, we should be there by Monday morning. A ridge of high pressure sprawled across this zone will spice up the passage a little. It’ll be important to be in front! The second part of the race and the return to France should be a lot quicker… There will be less strategy involved. Instead, it will be all about outright speed and piloting at a very high pace, with a good breeze of around twenty knots or so. It’s nice as it will be fairly varied. The routing software is giving us a race time of 1 day and 20 hours, which equates to an arrival in La Trinité-sur-Mer on Tuesday morning.”

In the vanguard from the get-go

After a start in very light airs, where patience was required to extract themselves from the coast and hit some more established breeze, the men of Gitana Team rapidly took control of the fleet from the windward mark. Pushed along by a solid breeze, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild literally flew across the English Channel, their express crossing taking a little over three hours. At 19:00 hours French time, though the wind seemed to have disappeared offshore of the English coast, considerably slowing the pace of the head of the race, the Cammas - Caudrelier duo were managing to stretch out their lead. Indeed, their two pursuers – Sodebo and Actual – lamented a 12-mile deficit.

The first night of the Drheam Cup 2020 promises to be a long one for the competitors, who will have to put in a series of manœuvres along the coast to make the most of the slightest puff of breeze and any local effects.

The Ultime course : 750 miles

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