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Ultim Challenge Skippers Make Meaningful Speeds in Pacific and Indian Oceans

7th February 2024
Armel Le Cléac'h, the skipper of the Maxi Banque Populaire XI in the Ultim Challenge solo round the world race
Armel Le Cléac'h, the skipper of the Maxi Banque Populaire XI in the Ultim Challenge solo round the world race Credit: Vincent Curutchet

The Pacific and Indian Oceans give the Ultim Challenge skippers conditions for making meaningful speeds. A big low is a major impediment to progress for race leader Charles Caudrelier in the South Atlantic, but with a lead of 2,577 nms, the skipper of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild can afford to modify his speed and take a safe route.

On an orderly, relatively flat sea, Armel Le Cléac’h and Thomas Coville are devouring the Pacific Ocean at proper ULTIM pace. The skippers of the Maxi Banque Populaire XI and Sodebo Ultim 3 are racking up the miles. Since Thursday afternoon, Le Cléac'h has posted 24-hour averages of over 800 miles, including a very useful 823 miles. On the same depression positioned 400 miles behind, Thomas Coville is posting daily average of more than 770 miles. Positioned above the depression they are enjoying great conditions. Their route is well to the north of the AEZ and is slight compromise designed to preserve their boats and themselves. And both should ride the same depression all the way to the Horn which they should reach at the weekend.

In fourth Anthony Marchand is not short of wind either. Well positioned at the front of the depression, the skipper of Actual Ultim 3 has been moving at more than thirty knots since last night. Marchand's mission is to take advantage as much as he can of this depression which will take him to the middle of the Pacific. In his viewfinder, Tasmania, the gateway to the Pacific which he should reach tomorrow night,

Grappling with an anticyclonic ridge, which is moving with him, Éric Péron is looking to escape this high-pressure zone and find a fast-moving low by the Kerguelen Islands.

And the leader? Caudrelier is on the other side of Cape Horn. In Atlantic waters and light winds, Charles Caudrelier is moving slowly and taking a bit of time. There is a big depression rolling off the South American continent, which he is letting pass. His passage time from Ushant to Cape Horn is around one day slower than Gabart’s 2017 record which then saw a new all-comers record climb back to the Equator of 6d 22h.

Published in Ultim Challenge
Andi Robertson

About The Author

Andi Robertson

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Andi Robertson is an international sailing journalist based in Scotland

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About the Ultim Challenge

The ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest, which starts from Brest, France on Sunday, 7 January, will be the first-ever solo race around the world on giant Ultim trimarans, the biggest and fastest ocean-going sailboats in the world.

The inaugural six competitors of the Arkea Ultim Challenge - Brest are:

  • Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild)
  • Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3)
  • Tom Laperche (SVR - Lazartigue)
  • Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire XI)
  • Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim 3)
  • Éric Péron (ADAGIO) - subject to qualification.