Four or five days before the arrival in Martinique, the race for victory in the Ultim category, that of giant multihulls, is completely relaunched. The bypass of Ascension Island lost in the Atlantic allowed a total redistribution of the cards with a new leader, the pair François Gabart-Tom Laperche at the controls of SVR Lazartigue thanks to a masterful coup during the night . Leader from Madeira, Banque Populaire of Armel Le Cléac'h and Sébastien Josse had opted for a more northerly route to wrap around the island from the south before having their politeness grilled by their pursuers who closed closely on British territory .
A strategy that has paid off since 32 miles now separate the two crews at ten o'clock this Wednesday. A long stretch of 3000 km now awaits the leading duo, ready for the final sprint. Behind, Charles Caudrelier and Erwan Israel follow this standoff from quite a distance, at 114.9 miles. It would take a miracle for Sodebo (Thomas Covillle-Thomas Rouxel), 395 miles behind, and Actual Ultim (Anthony Marchand-Thierry Chabagny), bringing up the rear of the rankings, to manage to catch up with the leading men.
In the Imoca category, that of Vendée Globe monohulls, Jérémy Beyou and Franck Cammas continue their flawless performance by leaving the Channel but For People of Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière remains on the heels of Charal, one of the big favorites for victory. Despite “enormous seas and horrible noises”, Samantha Davies and Jack Bouttell are also in contact, 5.5 miles away with Initiatives Cœur, closely followed by the Yoann Richomme-Yann Elèiès tandem, 10.6 miles from the leader. The leading quartet has not changed since leaving Le Havre on Tuesday.
The first major strategies will take shape in the coming hours around a big question: who will move furthest west to approach the main southern route? Answer very soon. Note the abandonment of Groupe Alpicil (Damien Seguin-Laurent Bourgues) after the breakage of the monohull boom in the morning. A hard blow for this crew which occupied 5th place in the category. End of the adventure also for Stand as One by Eric Bellion and Martin the Pope. A line took off at the front of the boat which left the shipyard last June. Both skippers are fine but have requested assistance.
After the massacre of the day before in the Ocean Fifty category marked by two dismastings (The Sea Cleaners - Univerre - ENSM and Le Rire Médecin-Lamotte), a three-way match is taking shape. At the head of this small trio, we find Solidaires in the peloton (Thibaut Vauchet-Camus and Quentin Vlamynck) ahead of Viabilis Océans (Pierre Quiroga and Ronan Treussard), 54 miles away. Finally, the Class40, that of the small monohulls, is gradually leaving the Bay of Biscay to cross Cape Finisterre. Alla Grande Pirelli still leads the way with Ambroglio Beccaria and Nicolas Andrieu but the leading quartet is only 2.8 miles behind. And the fight has only just begun.
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