ArMen Race, clean start for Edmond de Rothschild
With some 194 boats entered in the fourth edition of the ArMen Race, it was quite a spectacle on the water this Thursday afternoon off La Trinité-sur-Mer, south-west Brittany. For over half an hour, a quick succession of starts was given according to the different classes. The final group to head off involved the multihulls, which set sail at 1335 GMT. Powered up at over 18 knots, the Multi70s Edmond de Rothschild and Oman Sail, followed by the Multi50s and the Multi30s, made light work of picking off the rest of the fleet as they slalomed their way through en route to La Teignouse. For Sébastien Josse and his six crew, their ETA back in port in the Morbihan is late afternoon tomorrow Friday 30 May after completing their 310-mile course.
The long course for the fleet’s two ‘Ultimates’

Edmond de Rothschild and her adversary Oman Sail, will be the only craft of this fourth edition to complete the long course, which translates as some 310 miles ahead of the bows of the two 70-foot trimarans. Given the medium to light weather conditions forecast, the rest of the fleet will battle for supremacy over a looped circuit spanning around 200 miles, with a programme encompassing the famous Glénan Islands.

After the morning briefing, Sébastien Josse gave us the low-down on the course for the Ultimates: “We’re setting sail from La Trinité-sur-Mer. We have to respect the channel marks at La Teignouse, which heralds the exit from the Baie de Quiberon. After that, we’ll make towards the Occidentale de Sein via the south of Raz de Sein. That will involve a beat and we should make it there in the early hours of tomorrow, Friday, at around 0100-0200 GMT. After that we’ll begin to drop downwind towards Ile d’Yeu, which we’ll have to round, leaving the island to port. This section of the course is pretty open and, according to the latest grib files, we’re likely to have to put in a series of gybes to reach the mark. Finally, we’ll link onto a direct course back towards the Baie de Quiberon and La Trinité-sur-Mer, where the finish will be decided just off Trého, late afternoon tomorrow.”

Medium to light

In the ArMen Race, there has been a succession of editions, none of them reminiscent of the other. Last year, the competing crews really had their work cut out in a steady breeze. The lively conditions enabled Sébastien Josse and his men to complete the 320-mile race circuit in just 13 hours and 18 minutes. In 2014, in light of the weather conditions, Edmond de Rothschild’s crew were predicting twice as much time to complete what is virtually the equivalent distance: “The weather situation is less pessimistic than forecast and we’re likely to have breeze throughout the course. There will be a predominantly north-westerly breeze with a few variations in terms of intensity. As we set sail, there may be around fifteen knots, if the thermal breeze settles into position. It will tend to ease overnight, with a breeze of around ten knots or so forecast, but we hope that will be fleshed out a bit for the end of the race, tomorrow afternoon, again depending on whether the thermal breeze establishes itself,” Sébastien Josse admits.

At 1600 GMT today, the two teams leading the ArMen Race fleet – Edmond de Rothschild and Oman Sail – were just passing between Lorient and Ile de Groix, with Gitana Team appearing to have a slight edge over its rival.

Follow the race live at:

The crew of Edmond de Rothschild in the ArMen Race

Sébastien Josse (skipper)
David Boileau, Florent Chastel, Jean-François Cuzon, Cyril Dardashti, Olivier Douillard, Antoine Koch

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