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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
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Armel Le Cléac'h’s Maxi Banque Populaire XI, a giant racing trimaran competing in the solo round the world Ultim Challenge race, has suffered damage to its central rudder after an incident.

The Banque Populaire team confirmed the news in a message distributed this morning. Le Cléac'h, who has been lying in second place since the Pacific leg of the race, is now diverting to a Brazilian port to assess the damage.

The incident occurred during the ongoing solo multihull race around the world. Le Cléac'h had to make a technical stopover in Recife, Brazil on 16th January during the outwards phase of the race. The team is currently studying several options to diagnose the damage and to consider how to approach the rest of the race.

Published in Ultim Challenge

Very early Monday morning, at 00:40hrs UTC, Thomas Coville, skipper of Sodebo Ultim 3 passed Cape Horn in third place on the Ultim Challenge solo round the world race. Coville crossed almost five days after race leader Charles Caudrelier and less than 24 hours after second placed Armel Le Cléac'h. His elapsed time to the Cape since the start is 35 days, 12 hours and 10 minutes of racing. All three top skippers are now racing in in the Atlantic.

“I think Cape Horn one of the most fascinating places for a sailor”. Said Coville yesterday, a few hours before rounding Cape Horn. He spoke of a huge level of relief and described Ferdinand Magellan as "the greatest sailor of all time".

“There were too many clouds for me to see the snow-capped mountains,” Coville said this morning. “But it's a pretty fantastic place, it marks something very strong. It's the tipping point."

The skipper of Sodebo Ultim 3 had to manoeuvre a lot in order to get quite close to the rocks," reported Guillaume Evrard from Race Direction. “ He was forecast to have 25 to 30 knots with 3.5 meters of swell and that will build during the day with a second very substantial depression which will catch up with him this evening.”

Le Cléac'h and Caudrelier, each dealing with their own realities

More than 200 miles further north, second placed Armel Le Cléac'h is closing the Argentinian coast. Looking to avoid this same depression as threatens Coville, he chose to sail along Tierra del Fuego. “Even though he had a lot of winds (up to 45 knots, top speeds of more than 40 knots), that route allowed him to have conditions that were a little less strong and a little more manageable,” explains Evrard. “In the last few hours, he had 42 knots of wind and was ‘speed gunned’ at 47 knots!

Leader Charles Caudrelier is making progress not far from the Brazilian coast. "He's continuing his upwind climb and looking for the strongest vein of wind. As soon as it gets light he tacks to take advantage of the coastal effects. He will continue upwind until this evening when he will start a tack, the end of the manoeuvres for a long climb up the coast of Brazil towards the north before heading a bit more east.”

Marchand adapts, Péron progresses

Anthony Marchand continues to make progress in the Pacific Ocean. The skipper of Actual Ultim 3 is at the back of a small depression. “He’s making an average of 25 knots with 25 knots of wind, which shows that the boat is far from being at 100% of its capacity,” says Evrard. “He is in southwesterly winds and is expected to remain in this flow until Wednesday.”

And Éric Péron runs along the AEZ and has passed the longitude of Tasmania.
"He will benefit from winds that will strengthen from the northwest and a depression will accompany it to the middle of the Pacific. The skipper of ULTIM ADAGIO could enjoy some nice straight line speed which he ca maintain without maneuvers until next Thursday.”

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Second-placed Armel Le Cléac’h crossed Cape Horn in the Ultim Challenge very manageable conditions this Sunday morning at 05:01:50hrs UTC. In fifth Éric Péron was about to enter the Pacific this morning. Third placed Thomas Coville had a big scare on Friday, as he recalls.

Armel Le Cléac’h rounded Cape Horn this Sunday morning in modest conditions during the South American night. He passed about fifteen miles off the legendary rocky islet. It’s his fourth passage of the Horn, the Maxi Banque Populaire skipper having passed close up, and by day, during his first Vendée Globe in 2008-2009 aboard BritAir.

"He may not be quite done with Southern Ocean conditions"

Le Cléac’h was upwind in around fifteen knots of northerly wind. But he may not be quite done with Southern Ocean conditions. Two options are open to him for his ascent of the South Atlantic. He can go as close as possible to the coast and sail downwind in a 45 knot southwesterly wind, or push towards the east to sail upwind in 15kts of wind but bordering the ice zone. A member of the race management team, Fred le Peutrec, flew over the area again yesterday to check the movements of the ice which had been spotted north of the ZEA, and everything seems clear.

Second-placed in the Ultim Challenge, Armel Le Cléac’h marked his fourth passage of the Horn this SundaySecond-placed in the Ultim Challenge, Armel Le Cléac’h marked his fourth passage of the Horn this Sunday

Éric Péron was 160 miles from Tasmania’s South-East Cape at 0630hrs UTC, ready to pass into the Pacific. Some 1,200 miles ahead of him, to the east, Anthony Marchand left Dunedin, all repairs carried out, this morning at 0512hrs after a little more than 28 hours of technical stopover. He sets off again downwind in a medium breeze. The skipper of Actual Ultim 3 should take advantage of a small low pressure system which is just behind him. Paul Meilhat, Sam Davies and Damien Seguin and the Biotherm crew which ‘Antho’ sailed The Ocean Race with all sent messages of support yesterday.

The leader off Rio

The race leader Charles Caudrelier is tacking upwind as close as possible to the Brazilian coast. Beating into 16 knots of north wind he is going more than 20 knots, constantly seeking the right compromise between maximising VMC northwards but not burning himself out with too many manoeuvres. The skipper of Edmond de Rothschild is some 360 miles from Rio de Janeiro where the carnival has been in full swing.

Thomas Coville should cross Cape Horn this evening chased by a huge depression with a slightly less nasty one ahead of him. Increasingly he feels like he is walking a tightrope, as he explains. “We’re in between these systems and we’re trying to make our way, it is not easy, forecasts are never exactly matching up to reality.”

Yesterday he recalled two small accidents, falls on board which he says are really the first of his career. One of them badly bruised his shoulder, as he reports:

“Something happened to me which I have always worried about, but which didn’t turn out to be very serious. I came close to injuring myself, an accident. The boat went into a surf with the very powerful swell coming from behind, it stalled into a wave. I was at the nav table, which swivelled with the inertia and I went straight on. I couldn't grab hold of anything. It's a mistake for a sailor to fall. I fell 2.5m to crash into the glass roof. I tried to protect myself but my right shoulder hit. It was extremely violent, I had a lot of pain. I don't think I lost consciousness, but within a few tenths of a second you get scared.”

“And then you worry about what if this incident might have left me disabled in one arm. What would happen, then, just because you did not have or know how to have the best position at the right time, for the movement of the boat, which you must be attentive to all the time? Everything is fine. I had incredible medical assistance. Laure and Marine were there, they reassured me and instructed me and, in 24 hours, things are OK.”

“But you are left with this feeling of being always on a high wire which makes us understand how close things come. Like in the Indian when I went out on the float to manually hook my foil to be able to use it and out there on the float, there is the dark sea which appears like an abyss. These moments remind us that this competition is a challenge and that we must never cross this line. I have often been asked if I get scared. Yesterday (Friday), yes, I was afraid of no longer being able to do a maneuver, to roll the gennaker. Things could change so quickly and, suddenly, become critical or dangerous. We know that. It’s like damage, you can touch it and it can happen from one moment to the next. We live with it, but when it gets closer or when you see it happening, the awareness of it becomes very strong.”

Published in Ultim Challenge
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At 0143hrs UTC Anthony Marchand notified the Ultim Challenge race direction that he had started a technical stopover. Now at anchor in Dunedin, on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, his repairs have begun. Meanwhile, Cape Horn is coming up for Armel Le Cléac’h and Thomas Coville.

"the mechanism which holds his starboard side foil was broken"

It was during Tuesday night, as he checked over his boat whilst sailing ahead of a strong depression in decent seas, that Marchand noticed the mechanism which holds his starboard side foil in the low position was broken. Despite repairs carried out remotely with the support of Team Actual, the situation was quite precarious as he was about to cross the Pacific Ocean.

He adjusted his course to the north and met two team members on his arrival in Dunedin. Now, they are hard at work in Dunedin to ensure everything is repaired within 24 hours, the minimum duration of a technical stopover according to the race rules. It is a difficult time for Marchand who is now making his second technical stopover after one in Cape Town in South Africa on January 26 and 27. The skipper of Actual Ultim 3 remains upbeat and keen to get going again to resume his first solo round-the-world race.

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In fifth place on the Ultim Challenge, Éric Péron, racing the non-foiling Adagio Ultim, was just about to cross Cape Leeuwin this Friday morning at around 0730hrs. At the other end of the race course, climbing north in the South Atlantic Charles Caudrelier is making modest speeds on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.

Péron progressed at a good pace all night. He is well positioned ahead of a front and so has maintained averages of more than 28 knots, and so making quick work of the second of his three Great Capes. On a quite northerly route pointing more towards New Zealand, Anthony Marchand advances at solid speeds considering that depression ahead of him has left him some nasty, unruly seas.

There is nothing to choose in terms of boat speed between Thomas Coville and Armel le Cléac’h, both actually sailing exactly the same mileage over the 24 hours to 0630hrs UTC this morning, 760 nautical miles. The duo are advancing at good speed towards Cape Horn, in a north-westerly wind flow which will be with them until they exit the southern oceans over the weekend. Then it will get tougher, requiring them to negotiate light upwind conditions at first, before getting into much tougher conditions downwind. This will be worse for Thomas Coville, who looks set to get into a large depression which will come from the west, forecast to bring 50 knot gusts and big seas. And there is still ice, being monitored 20 miles east of Staten Island. Race management do not plan to restrict the route of the two skippers in light of this incoming depression. “We will not close the door,” confirms Assistant Race Director Guillaume Evrard. “When Thomas goes up the Le Maire Strait, he risks being affected by the venturi effect generated by the land mass and so he needs options.”

Leader Charles Caudrelier also has a routing puzzle to solve. As he climbs north the skipper of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild had a huge anticyclonic zone as forming to his west, between him and the continent. For a long time the question was whether the leader was going to try his luck in the eastern South Atlantic or whether he was going to stay much closer to the coast where the wind is better but largely upwind. His course in recent hours seems to confirm his intention to take the more painful upwind option, closer to the land which will surely put beyond doubt any hopes of a solo round the world record as in 2017 Francois Gabart had a dream weather sequence from the Horn to the finish line. Clearly, for the moment, Caudrelier has had the best of his luck on the first two thirds of the course.

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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.

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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.

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French sailor Charles Caudrelier, the long-time leader of the Ultim Challenge solo multihull race around the world, has become the first to pass Cape Horn. The landmark was passed at 17:08:20hrs UTC on Tuesday, marking a significant moment in the race.

Caudrelier, who is sailing on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, has led the race at all three of the course’s Great Capes, and now faces the 7000-mile ascent of the Atlantic back to Brest. His elapsed time for the passage from the race start is 30 days, 4 hours, 38 minutes, and 20 seconds.

"Caudrelier has led the race at all three of the course’s Great Capes"

The French racer had to put his race on hold due to a big storm at Cape Horn over the weekend, going very slowly for some 48 hours to avoid the heinous weather system. He sped up again on Sunday evening to head east again and arrive at Cape Horn this Tuesday evening.

Caudrelier’s prudence was rewarded with moderate to fresh N’ly winds, which allowed him to pass at around 20-30 knots of boat speed this evening. The passage of Cape Horn represents an important moment of deliverance for generations of sailors.

Second-placed Armel Le Cléac'h (Maxi Banque Populaire XI) and third-placed Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3, 3rd) are expected at Cape Horn this weekend.

Published in Ultim Challenge

Having been forced to slow for two days Ultim Challenge leader Charles Caudrelier has built some meaningful speed towards the east again and is heading towards Cape Horn at a little over 20 knots this morning with some 1200 nautical miles left before he can enjoy his deliverance from the Pacific Ocean. Strong winds are still expected for his passage of the Cape, but it is looking more manageable. His best option seems to be on Tuesday between two systems.

And likewise Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) is also heading more directly towards Cape Horn on a SE’ly course after passing north of New Zealand. He enjoyed an encounter yesterday with a passenger cruise ship from the luxury French Ponant line off the NE corner of North Island and revealed also that he had suffered a minor injury to his nose. Armel is clearing an anticyclonic ridge and targeting the NW corner of a new depression which will take him at good speed towards Cape Horn which current routing predictions have him arriving on the 10th

Le Cléach has about 330 miles in hand over third place Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3), which is off the southern tip of New Zealand this morning, making just under 30kts. Coville is taking care in 35 kts winds with gusts over 40kts and six metre seconds, the seas expected to get a little worse as he progresses past the SE of New Zealand. But he will have strong winds right to the Horn, which he is expected to reach on the night of the 10th or early on the 11th of February.

In fourth Anthony Marchand skipper of Actual Ultim 3 is making good progress right down on the edge of the ice zone and he his going quite fast in a 20kts W’ly wind which he will keep through the early part of the week and he should pass Cape Leeuwin tomorrow Monday.

Éric Péron (Adagio) is doing well but has a depression coming to him today, which will bring winds of 30-35kts with gusts over 40, which will help keep him moving fast and help make up for time lost in the light winds since his Cape Town stop.

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The Irish National Sailing and Powerboat School is based on Dun Laoghaire's West Pier on Dublin Bay and in the heart of Ireland's marine leisure capital.

Whether you are looking at beginners start sailing course, a junior course or something more advanced in yacht racing, the INSS prides itself in being able to provide it as Ireland's largest sailing school.

Since its establishment in 1978, INSS says it has provided sailing and powerboat training to approximately 170,000 trainees. The school has a team of full-time instructors and they operate all year round. Lead by the father and son team of Alistair and Kenneth Rumball, the school has a great passion for the sport of sailing and boating and it enjoys nothing more than introducing it to beginners for the first time. 

Programmes include:

  • Shorebased Courses, including VHF, First Aid, Navigation
  • Powerboat Courses
  • Junior Sailing
  • Schools and College Sailing
  • Adult Dinghy and Yacht Training
  • Corporate Sailing & Events

History of the INSS

Set up by Alistair Rumball in 1978, the sailing school had very humble beginnings, with the original clubhouse situated on the first floor of what is now a charity shop on Dun Laoghaire's main street. Through the late 1970s and 1980s, the business began to establish a foothold, and Alistair's late brother Arthur set up the chandler Viking Marine during this period, which he ran until selling on to its present owners in 1999.

In 1991, the Irish National Sailing School relocated to its current premises at the foot of the West Pier. Throughout the 1990s the business continued to build on its reputation and became the training institution of choice for budding sailors. The 2000s saw the business break barriers - firstly by introducing more people to the water than any other organisation, and secondly pioneering low-cost course fees, thereby rubbishing the assertion that sailing is an expensive sport.