Having left Brest on January 7, Charles Caudrelier (Edmond de Rothschild) continues his solo ride at the head of the Arkéa Ultim Challenge. At an average speed of more than 30 knots in the Pacific Ocean, the sailor heads towards Cape Horn and distances his two closest rivals a little further each day. Behind the winner of the 2022 Route du rhum, Thomas Coville (Sodebo) and Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) are preparing for eventful days.
The first, which still occupied second place in the ranking this Wednesday afternoon, 2,889.5 miles from the leader (almost the distance of a Rum Route), continued to head towards Hobart for a technical stopover in order to repair damage. “Part of the balcony (area at the front of the central hull, editor's note) was torn off and of the protective net which allows you to move around the bow of the central hull during sail changes,” explained its team, while two huge depressions were pointing their noses. These could even force the oldest of the race (55 years) to extend the stop at the port in the capital of Tasmania.
Not reassured, Coville also took the liberty of warning Armel Le Cléac’h, who follows him in the ranking, about his situation: “I needed to warn him of my intention to stop. Because in our sport, a bit like in the mountains, we have this way of thinking, this philosophy, this obligation to provide assistance to someone who might be in danger nearby. So when you are in a race, very often, it is your most direct competitor who is your “angel”: the person who would be likely to come to the area. »
Armel Le Cléac’h, in fact, had to adapt his trajectory in the South Seas to avoid the too violent winds to come. The “Jackal” therefore chose to climb north to pass through the Bass Strait, which separates Australia and Tasmania, while usually sailors embarked on a round-the-world trip go down much further south, grazing the area of Antarctic exclusion. “The weather is deteriorating sharply with a front that is deepening and will last several days,” explained the recent winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre, who could even then overtake New Zealand from the north! “It will lengthen our journey, but it is the price to pay for not taking any risks, preserving the boat and continuing with serenity,” conceded the sailor, who, after stopping in Brazil during the descent from the Atlantic, pointed this Wednesday at 3,164 miles from Caudrelier. And this despite an enormous performance in recent hours: 841 miles covered in 24 hours, the second best time achieved solo aboard an Ultim.
A formidable performance that he will have to repeat many times if he wants to have a small chance of achieving victory and Charles Caudrelier, for the moment untouchable. On a regular basis and unless a technical problem forces Edmond de Rothschild to slow down his infernal pace, the gap is almost insurmountable. It is currently measured at five days. A hole.
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