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Arkéa Ultim Challenge: Ultimate marine caudrelier, where was the suspense? Favorites and favorites from the first edition

Special envoy to Brest.

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Arkéa Ultim Challenge: Ultimate marine caudrelier, where was the suspense? Favorites and favorites from the first edition

Special envoy to Brest

The feat will have its place in the history of ocean racing. Charles Caudrelier will forever remain the first sailor to have circumnavigated the globe at the helm of an Ultim, these giant, flying trimarans. A pioneer like Titouan Lamazou was by winning the inaugural edition of the Vendée Globe in 1989. Nobody knew before the start of the race if these machines were capable of completing a round-the-world trip without breaking down. The winner provided a response even if he was also forced to make a technical stopover in the Azores. To date, only Ellen McArthur, François Gabart, Thomas Coville and Francis Joyon had attempted and succeeded in this bet non-stop, but on older generation trimarans and within the framework of the record in the hands of Gabart on Macif (2017 in 42 days, 16 hours, 40 minutes and 30 seconds). Caudrelier took almost ten days longer on a boat much faster in theory. A disappointing time will say the saddened, but he did not decide on the day of his departure and was not aiming for the record. Only victory mattered to him.

Also read Sailing: how much will Charles Caudrelier, winner of the first edition of the Arkéa Ultim Challenge, earn?

What a descent of the Atlantic! And what a standoff between Charles Caudrelier and Tom Laperche (SVR-Lazartigue) separated by less than six miles (less than fifteen minutes at 30 knots) after ten days of racing before the trimaran of the youngest in the event fell victim to a damage forced him to reach Cape Town (South Africa) and subsequently abandon.

When Charles Caudrelier crossed the line on Tuesday in Brest, four other boats remained in the race, in order of classification, those of Thomas Coville (Sodebo) expected to arrive on Thursday, Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire), Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim) and Éric Péron (Adagio). Only Tom Laperche was forced to retire. A five out of six and a great performance because the organizers secretly feared the disaster scenario with only one or two boats finishing. The mission is therefore accomplished despite the breakages which led, for all the sailors, to at least one technical stopover.


The descent of the Atlantic kept us in suspense but once Tom Laperche was out of the race, Charles Caudrelier crushed the competition and created huge gaps (more than 3,500 miles at Point Némo between Australia and Cape Horn). Barring a breakage and as usual, nothing could prevent the majestic Edmond de Rothschild from winning. Not even his extended three-day stop in the Azores to let storm Louis pass. On arrival in Brest, the winner still had a lead of more than 5,000 miles over the last in the standings, Éric Péron!

Also read: Charles Caudrelier, the winning sailor of the Ultim Challenge who has the wind in his sails

Bringing together six giants of the seas for a first edition is already a small feat in itself, but in the future the field will need to be expanded to offer more suspense and possibilities for a turnaround. The Vendée Globe, a benchmark single-handed world tour, but in a monohull, will rely on around forty skippers at the start of the next edition on November 10. A number that allows twists and turns, adventures and adventures to follow on a daily basis. But the challenge seems arduous, even impossible to meet for the next edition of the Arkéa Ultim Challenge. To date, only one boat is under construction, the successor to Edmond de Rothschild... Is the Ultim class and its very expensive trimarans (15 million euros for construction only) condemned to fight in very restricted? Possible.

The organizers had established flexible and secure regulations to allow sailors who suffered damage to stop and then set off again. Authorizing technical stops with assistance (prohibited in the Vendée Globe) is a wise decision that had to be taken to ward off the threat of a fiasco. Should we, however, allow these sailor-adventurers who stopped ashore to set foot on the ground and be accommodated outside their boat (to the extent that the living cell did not take on water)? Not sure. Finally, will it be necessary to authorize routing in the future, knowing that in the Vendée Globe, it is strictly prohibited? If it is to last in the long term, this magnificent event must remain one of all superlatives, an ultimate adventure.

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