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Ultim Challenge Race Leader Charles Caudrelier is Back in the Home Hemisphere

16th February 2024
Ultim Challenge Race Leader Charles Caudrelier on ULTIM MAXI Banque Populaire IX
Ultim Challenge Race Leader Charles Caudrelier on ULTIM MAXI Banque Populaire IX

Race leader Charles Caudrelier is back in the northern hemisphere after returning across the Equator at 0744hrs UTC this morning. After a long, slow spell in light airs, Thomas Coville has wind again; Armel le Cléac’h, his ULTIM MAXI Banque Populaire IX compromised by a damaged rudder, is moving slowly towards the Brazilian coast. In the deep south, Anthony Marchand and Éric Péron have their sights set on Cape Horn.

After a slow passage in the doldrums, this Friday morning at 07:44:48hrs Charles Caudrelier crossed the Equator heading home towards the Brest finish line of the Ultim Challenge Race. His elapsed time to the Equator is 39d 19h 14m 48s since the start on Sunday, 7th January.

Returning into the ‘home hemisphere’ will be a significant morale boost for Caudrelier, who has had a slow and often frustrating ascent of the South Atlantic. Although he has been snared by the doldrums in the last 24 hours, he should be emerging into established NE’ly trade winds, which will take him to the Canaries. But after that, the Azores high looks dominant before a nasty-looking Atlantic depression looks set to hit Biscay.

Deprived of his main hull rudder and so heading to a Brazilian port Armel Le Cléac’h is moving north at a slow pace. There may be more information this morning about what the plan of action is for the Maxi Banque Populaire XI team.

After 48 sticky hours with hardly any wind at all Thomas Coville has found some breeze. The anticyclone which was blocking his route is now behind him and the skipper of Sodebo Ultim 3 should have some breeze but it is not the SE’ly trade winds he would have hoped for.

In the Pacific, Anthony Marchand is at Point Nemo but sailing at slow speeds. The skipper of Actual Ultim 3 is heading northeast to let a depression pass, which would have given him storm-force winds and big seas. Marchand will set himself up behind this depression to push towards Cape Horn, which he should pass on February 21, at the moment that would be around a dozen hours ahead of Éric Péron, who has the advantage of riding the front edge of a depression and so able to sail faster in smoother seas.

Published in Ultim Challenge Team

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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.