Péron back racing and passed Good Hope, Coville passed Leeuwin, Caudrelier passed ‘half time’.

Lying in second place on the ARKÉA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest, Thomas Coville passed Cape Leeuwin last night. But the redoubtable French skipper didn’t really have time to celebrate as he is riding a very active depression to his south which has forced him to take a very northerly course.

Armel Le Cléac’h in third has the same situation and should also gybe towards the North-East. Away out in front Charles Caudrelier in first is very much alone but now is passed half way in terms of the projected duration of his race.

Thomas Coville passed the second cape of the course, Cape Leeuwin, during Sunday night at 0037hrs UTC, so after 21 days and 12 hours of racing. But nothing is easy for him. The assistant race director, Fred Lepeutrec suggest: “His speed suggests that he must have small technical problems to manage”. The skipper of Sodebo Ultim 3 has sailed very north. Why? “A very active flow, of strong wind and rough seas to the south,” specifies Le Peutrec. “He is not able to dive further south as he needs to avoid getting into the nasty conditions.”

Le Cléac’h catching Coville
Such a situation also concerns Armel Le Cléac’h who now around 700 miles away. The Maxi Banque Populaire XI is between two depressions. One in his west from which he will be able to escape by gybing, the other in his south is identical to Coville’s. The blue and white Ultim will therefore have to stay on this North-Easterly course on port gybe to stay out of the heaviest seas. Nevertheless Le Cléac’h should could continue to gain a few miles on Coville. And very early this morning Le Cléac’h was making almost twice the speed of Coville who was at 16.5 kts.

Caudrelier collects, Marchand also
At the same time, Charles Caudrelier, in the Pacific and passed New Zealand seems so far removed from the problems of his two rivals. He can continue to progress on a direct easterly route. The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is at the front of a front with rough but following seas. Consequently he spent the night at 32 knots of speed and can still fully modulate his effort. Charles Caudrelier is also into the second half of his race, buoyed by having more miles behind him than ahead to the finish.

More than 5,500 miles further west, Anthony Marchand continues his progress in the Indian Ocean. He must face an anticyclone in front of him. From Race HQ in Brest Le Peutrec explains: “He has a small system in his South with another front from the North which will allow him to advance on the port gybe on his good float (the one with the remaining foil Editor’s note) so should be able to go well.”

Éric Péron, who left Cape Town yesterday evening has passed the Cape of Good Hope after initially having to be patient as there was very little wind in the South African bay. But now he Is making good speed . He has a fairly strong north-northwest flow to his west which should stay with him today.

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