Always faster, always stronger, always higher… With their giant foils, the Imoca monohulls never stop breaking speed records. And The Ocean Race, the round the world contested in crews, is the ideal playground for setting new times, the boats being able to be pushed to the maximum, or not far from their potential in this extraordinary planetary regatta.
Thus after a start of stage 5 in Newport (United States) in light winds, the boats which will compete in the 2024 Vendée Globe solo have accelerated thanks to downwind conditions, first from the northwest then from the southwest. East. And result, the records fell. The Team Holcim-PRB monohull skippered by Kevin Escoffier thus smashed the record of 618 miles swallowed in 24 hours held since 2015 by the Comanche monohull, a 30.48 meter boat, he only covering 18.28 meters. With 640.91 miles on the clock, the former castaway from the Vendée Globe could be smiling, especially after losing his mast during leg 4. "It's a good boat, he confided after having improved a first record. I am very happy ! It's not every day that you break a record like this. I'm really happy for the whole team after what happened on the fourth stage. We don't know what will happen after, even if we will do everything to win this stage. In any case, it's a great reward for the whole team.
A reward due to a mind-blowing speed and constant commitment that Charles Caudrelier does not deny, winner of the last Route du rhum in an Ultim trimaran and who is sailing with Escoffier during this crazy stage. Charlie Dalin, another sailing star (2nd in the last Vendée Globe after crossing the finish line first) paid the price aboard the 11th Hour Racing Team boat. Because in addition to the infernal noise, he must, like the other sailors, take phenomenal shocks. And in one of them, at more than 29 knots, the Le Havre flew and fell victim to a small concussion...
This Friday, separated by less than a mile at 4 p.m., 11th Hour Racing Team and Team Holcim-PRB are engaged in an incessant battle, Team Malezia only 43 miles behind. The stage victory in Aarhus (Denmark), scheduled in three days, will escape the Biotherm of Paul Meilhat, relegated to 459 miles and handicapped by problems with the autopilot and the hook of J3 (one of the headsails) .