End of the adventure for Tom Laperche. The 26-year-old skipper, who had great ambitions for the Arkea Ultim Challenge, gave up on Monday. Stopover in the port of Cape Town in South Africa after its damage which occurred on the night of Thursday January 18, Laperche noted, with his team, the excessive damage (significant water ingress in particular) which prevented him from continuing the racing around the world alone.
“Given the damage and the repair times, we must resolve to stop the race,” he admits. The decision is clear. Everyone shares it, the team, the Kresk group and myself. It's obviously difficult to accept because it's the end of this world tour that I carried deep within me. I wanted to fight to finish the race, I had the goal of finishing it. So it’s not easy.”
Obviously disappointed by such an outcome, the skipper nevertheless tends to be positive and look ahead to the future. “In the coming months we will continue to make the Trimaran SVR-Lazartigue more reliable and improve. I obviously want to sail again as quickly as possible but the work is substantial. I hope that the release will be possible at the end of spring, beginning of summer. What helps me the most today, what gives me desire and motivation, is to think about what's next, to imagine what we can do on the boat and think about the program. Think about being able to sail again on this magnificent boat. It’s so incredible.”
With this abandonment, which marks the first big disappointment in Ultim for Tom Laperche, the new world tour in Ultim therefore deplores its first official abandonment on six boats at the start on January 7, knowing that four of them (Adagio d' Eric Péron still at the port in Cape Town, Actual by Anthony Marchand, Banque Populaire by Armel Le Cléac'h and therefore SVR Lazartigue by Tom Laperche) have already made authorized pit stops to repair, mainly appendages affected during of impacts with unidentified floating objects.
As a result, it is the two sailors who did not stop at the garage who occupy the first two places in the ranking this Monday morning: Charles Caudrelier (Edmond de Rothschild), stainless leader who has long fought hand to hand with Tom Laperche until 'to his damage and Thomas Coville (Sodebo) who this morning doubled Cape Leeuwin (the second legendary cape of this round the world) and is 2400 miles from Charles Caudrelier. But Thomas Coville now has Armel Le Cléac’h hot on his heels, returning 400 miles in his wake. Anthony Marchand, located 5,600 miles from the lead, is currently too far away to fight for the podium. But the race is still long. And unfortunately damage still awaits these sailors in the frigid southern seas.