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Ultim Challenge Race Management Check for Antarctic Icebergs

8th February 2024
Ultim Challenge Race Management have spotted icebergs further north
Ultim Challenge Race Management have spotted icebergs further north Credit: Wikipedia

Before Charles Caudrelier passed Cape Horn last Tuesday, icebergs were seen north of the AEZ (Antarctic Exclusion Zone). And so with Armel Le Cléac'h (2nd) and Thomas Coville (3rd) set to round the third great cape this weekend, the Ultim Challenge race management team has mobilised an operation to guarantee the safety of all the skippers as they pass through the area.

As well as the satisfaction of a job well done, and the sense of deliverance as he passed out of the southern oceans into the Atlantic, Charles Caudrelier must also have been relieved to have crossed Cape Horn without incident. Last Friday, CLS (Collecte Localisation Satellites), which determines the risk areas in terms of icebergs for the race direction, spotted icebergs further north than the previous ice which had defined the ZEA (Antarctic Exclusion Zone) until then.

A member of the DC was dispatched to the area.

During the race so far CLS's monitoring had required the ZEA to be modified, notably at the Kerguelens on the weekend of 21 January. The news of the Cape Horn situation was the immediately passed on to all the teams by the Race Direction (Direction Course-DC).

And so an initiative has been taken to monitor the area as closely as possible flying over the area to keep the passage as safe as possible. As requested by the organisation Gitana sent a member of their team, Yann Riou, to the area so that he could carry out this surveillance mission as well as providing images and videos of the skipper.

In addition, the race management wanted to put in place a process to guarantee sporting fairness and the same level of safety for the other skippers. A member of the DC team, Frédéric Le Peutrec has been sent to the site. Based on the latest satellite images studied by CLS, he will fly over the area and inform the teams of any possible risks.

Armel Le Cléac'h (Maxi Banque Populaire XI, in second place (is expected to round Cape Horn on Saturday afternoon and Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3, in third place) on Sunday.

Published in Ultim Challenge
Andi Robertson

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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.