Thursday, April 11

«Banque Populaire XI» in first position after forcing a tack from the east


Updated at 6:18 p.m.

Fifth day of the Finistére Atlantique with the Ultim fleet located between the Azores Islands and Cape Finisterre, sailing miles upwind at more than 20 knots towards the Bay of Biscay.

The duel between Armel Le Cléac’s «Banque Populaire XI» and Charles Caudrelier’s «Gitana 17» continues after 123 hours of regatta, when passing the island of Santa María in the Azores it seemed that the differences between the two would increase since each one of the skippers made the decision to carry out different tacks on the upwind climb towards Cape Finisterre.

At 04:29 a.m. last Monday, both maxi trimarans would turn around the Azores heading east until at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, «Gitana 17» would turn north while the «Banque Populaire XI» maintained the route to the east; moment in which Le Cléac is placed in first position. Some six hours later, at 11:00 p.m. yesterday, «Banque Populaire XI» also turned north to cover its position and try to cut off the route of «Gitana 17»; that she would achieve it by making a single board climb while the trimaran led by Charles Caudrelier had to make five tacks.

“Did they bet on an optimal route to reach the strong edge of the Spanish low? Did they deliberately push in a little more demanding conditions to test the boat in stronger conditions? The questions are numerous and the two options remain close in terms of results ” , analyzes Gildas Morvan. Beyond that, he explains that two options stand out: a ladder climb for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and a more direct climb for the Banque Populaire, with the two giants now advancing on the starboard tack, to the north. “Each of them will look for their best tactic to reach Concarneau” added the regatta director. The next few hours will tell us more about the outcome of this scenario, which is still very doubtful. Nothing has been decided yet and the regatta is intensifying with less than 800 miles to go on a direct route to the finish of the Finistère Atlantique – Challenge ACTION ENFANCE.

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Sailing in sight, «Banque Populaire XI» and the «Maxi Edmond de Rothschild» are 375 miles west of Cape Finisterre negotiating the winds that come from a high pressure located to the southwest of Ireland, which does not seem to be move from your position in the next few days after seeing the weather forecast.

Nicolas Troussel, a member of the “Sodebo Ultim 3” crew, van in third position (and a coffee lover) sent a message from on board: “We’re about three-quarters of the way through the race, we’ve been through both gates and heading for the finish line in Concarneau. It’s pretty calm, the sea is pretty flat, there’s about fifteen knots of wind, we’re going at 20-22 knots. On board, Thierry (Douillard) is at the helm, Corentin (Horeau) adjusts the boat and Thomas (Coville) works on the chart. I’m on call, ready to intervene if necessary. It’s my first race in an Ultim! I have been sailing for three weeks! I am discovering a lot about the boat. We have a great crew and a great team behind us. It is nice and easy to integrate. We are a bit alone in the middle between the two boats in front and Actual a little behind “We’re trying to do everything we can to make up some miles on the top two. We’re trying to find the wind and get the tacks right because there are some good wind changes. We’re very clear about that. It’s going to be tough to catch up with the top two. headers, but we stay focused and try to get it.

We have spaces all over the ship to store our things with numbers. I took Thomas Rouxel’s cup to make myself a coffee, even though he hates coffee. And he told me! He was a little upset, he made me feel it… So he put numbers on the cups of all the team members”.

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From aboard the «Actual Ultim 3» Amélie Grassi comments: “The conditions. We start a long upwind passage towards Concarneau. At the moment the conditions are mild, we are sailing with 12-20 knots of wind and the sea is quite flat. It is very unstable, we have to constantly regulate according to the clouds. Tomorrow the wind will pick up a bit and the sea will certainly be less pleasant, but nothing too strong is expected.

Manage fatigue. Between the high speeds of the boat and the sustained pace on board, it is inevitable to force the body. But, as a team, we continue to manage everyone’s rest well, so we are not burnt out!”

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