Account of a full-on passage around Lanzarote
Last night, at 02:36 UTC, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild cleared the Challenge ACTION ENFANCE Canaries gate, a virtual line between the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Charles Caudrelier and his men made the turn in second position, just a few seconds shy of Banque Populaire XI. Franck Cammas, David Boileau and Morgan Lagravière tell us the tale of this epic passage, at very high speed in the pitch black. Since then, the five-arrow giant has set a course for the north-west and Santa Maria in the Azores, the next course mark.

Extracts from the onboard Audio

Yann Riou: “Monday 4 July, it is 04:00 UTC. We rounded Lanzarote about 2hrs ago and I’m with Franck and David. Franck, how was the Lanzarote passage?”

Franck Cammas: “It was lively because there was a lot of breeze, up to 24/25 knots as it accelerated, added to which we made the approach downwind with the J0, and then had to gybe, roll in the sail and power away again on a reach with the J3, so there were a fair few sail changes and quite a few transitions. We got through it quickly though and the area of wind shadow wasn’t overly pronounced.
We were neck and neck with Banque Populaire. It was really close contact racing, even though it was night and we couldn’t see her lights… and we didn’t see the island either… Other than that, it was a great passage.
For the day ahead we’re just going to be reaching, which means sailing at 70/80 degrees to the wind, on a single tack towards Santa Maria in the Azores. We’ll have to negotiate a wind shadow, the Madeira wind shadow, which means we’ll be passing to leeward of Madeira, not too far off, so there will be a light patch to negotiate and perhaps some sail changes too. Otherwise, it’s relatively stable. There’s not a lot of strategy involved over this section of the course.”

David: “It was a pretty awesome passage around Lanzarote. We were carrying a lot of sail and we made our approach under J0 with the sheets cracked off quite a lot, making peak speeds of 44 knots, and Banque Populaire hot on our heels. We got around the 1st waypoint nicely and then we made a sail change, furling in the J0 and switching to the J2. We accelerated away well, luffing up under J2 and then we switched to the J3 to make our exit and attack the reach towards the Azores.

We haven’t had a lot of sleep on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. The watch system has kind of been forgotten along the way, with everyone on deck, in position and ready to manoeuvre… We managed to put in some sound manoeuvres though so all’s well!”

Morgan, upon waking: “The short passage between Fuerteventura and Lanzarote was bracing. Conditions were really full-on, quite varied with accelerations and mountains. It was pretty intense, which means I’ve slept well over the past few hours since then. Being so close to a fellow competitor is quite exceptional on these boats, especially so after 3 days of racing and an island rounding. During the passage, Franck and I took it in turns at the helm. There were peak speeds of 40 knots, with a little bit of moonlight and few visual references, so it was a bit stressful and full-on, but it’s good stress and the engagement went smoothly so it’s all good! There’s a slight sense of frustration though that we didn’t come out of it ahead of Banque Populaire, because we did have a slight edge at one point, but they’re better than us on this trajectory. It was still a real highlight and a great memory and there’s still quite a way to go in this race to play catch-up so we’re still in the game.”

Challenge ACTION ENFANCE Canaries gate – Passage time order UTC

1.     Banque Populaire XI at 2h35’44’’ after 2 days 13h35m44sec
2.     Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at 2h36’22’’ after 2 days 13h36m22sec
3.     Sodebo Ultim 3 at 5h34’31’’ after 2 days 16h34m31sec
4.    Actual Ultim 3 at 7h43’42’’ after 2 days 18h43m42sec

Crew on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild 

Charles Caudrelier, skipper 
Franck Cammas, helm, navigator 
Morgan Lagravière, helm, trimmer 
David Boileau, trimmer, bowman 
Erwan Israël, helm, trimmer 
Yann Riou, media crew, helm    

The Finistère Atlantique Challenge Action Enfance 

3,163-mile course across the North Atlantic 
Concarneau, the Glénan archipelago, Madeira, Lanzarote (Canaries), Santa Maria (Azores), Concarneau (Brittany)     

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