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French Skipper Charles Caudrelier Wins First Ultim Challenge Solo Multihull Race Around the World

27th February 2024
Charles Caudrelier's elapsed time in the first Ultim Challenge Solo Multihull Race Around the World is 50 days 19 hours 07 minutes 47 seconds since leaving Brest in the six-boat fleet on Sunday, 7th January
Charles Caudrelier's elapsed time in the first Ultim Challenge Solo Multihull Race Around the World is 50 days 19 hours 07 minutes 47 seconds since leaving Brest in the six-boat fleet on Sunday, 7th January Credit: Vincent Olivaud

French sailor Charles Caudrelier has emerged victorious in the Ultim Challenge, the first-ever solo multihull race around the world. Caudrelier, skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, crossed the finish line off the coast of Brest on Tuesday morning at 8:37:42 local time (UTC+1hrs), after completing the 24,260 nautical miles course in 50 days, 19 hours, 7 minutes, and 47 seconds since leaving Brest on January 7th.

The race leader, who has been unchallenged at the front of the race since January 17th, triumphed on the first edition of this unprecedented race. Although he had to slow down to avoid a massive storm at Cape Horn, at one point in the Pacific Ocean, Caudrelier was ahead of the time required to set a new all-time record for sailing solo round the world.

Caudrelier widened the gap to over 2,500 miles ahead of his nearest rival, 26-year-old Tom Laperche, after a thrilling head-to-head duel down the South Atlantic. Laperche had to retire into Cape Town with damage caused by a collision.

Ultim Challenge Race winner Charles Caudrelier Photo: GitanaUltim Challenge Race winner Charles Caudrelier Photo: Gitana

Caudrelier's victory rewards more than ten years of endeavour by the Edmond de Rothschild Gitana team. They worked initially with a MOD70 in 2011, on which they developed the multihull foiling program before launching the innovative Verdier-designed Ultim in 2017.

After his frustrating third-place finish in the Transat Jacques Vabre last autumn, which was marked by numerous damages, including problems with the steering system and a foil, Caudrelier and the Gitana team worked hard to repair and be ready for this race.

A popular and highly respected racer and leader among his peers, this is Caudrelier’s biggest solo success and finally fulfils his youthful dreams of winning a singlehanded race around the world. The victory also establishes him further as one of the best skippers among the French greats.

Along his route, Caudrelier set a new record for the Indian Ocean and then proved he knew how to moderate his pace to look after his high-tech flying ULTIM and give himself and the emblematic Gitana team the best chance of completing the course.

With a substantial lead, Caudrelier put his race on hold, sailing at very slow speeds for more than 36 hours in the eastern Pacific, to avoid a storm at Cape Horn. He also sat out Storm Louis, stopping in the safety of the Azores last week to avoid any additional risk that might have jeopardised his win.

Charles Caudrelier's Ultim Challenge Solo Multihull Race Around the World Victory in Figures

Finish time: 8 h 37 min 42 sec
Race time: 50 days 19 hours 7 min 42 sec
Miles travelled: 28 938,03 miles
Actual average speed: 23,74 knots
Average speed on the Great Circle: 19,93 knots 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.