On this fourth weekend of the ARKÉA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest the five skippers racing are all hoping for better things in the near future. Leader Charles Caudrelier is hoping that Cape Horn is passable in the near future. Armel Le Cléac’h and Thoma Coville are both is hoping for better conditions between Australia and New Zealand. Anthony Marchand is hoping he can keep up the pace along the ZEA, Éric Péron in fifth hoping he can finally break free of an anticyclone which is moving at the same pace as he is. But, as it seems this morning, patience is required by all.
For the first time since the start on January 7 and the start of the ARKÉA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest, leader Charles Caudrelier is continually making less 10 knots. In the throes of his enforced pause he has made 5.2 knots in the last 24 hours and was doing 9.4 knots at 0700hrs UTC this morning as he lets a big depression pass over Cape Horn.
“Charles is still at a reduced speed,” notes Guillaume Rottee, the race director. “According to our weather models, he could cross Cape Horn with more favourable conditions between Tuesday and Wednesday morning. That would see him leave and head east between this afternoon and tomorrow.”
Le Cléac’h – Coville, the “match within the match” is back in business
Behind Caudrelier the battle resumes. Armel Le Cléac’h (Maxi Banque Populaire XI) has worked to pass New Zealand by the North whilst strong depressions are circulating around the island. “From now on, he will go south but it is not as simple as you’d imagine,” explains Guillaume. “To the East of New Zealand he will find himself stuck in an anticyclonic situation which will continue and which will slow him down.”
And so this will reignite the “match within the match” between the duo, Armel Le Cléac’h and Thomas Coville. Coville skipper of Sodebo Ultim 3 has left the Derwent after 2 days 2 hours and 39 minutes stopped in Hobart. Time zones mean he left Friday February 2 2136hrs UTC which is Saturday February 3 morning local time. Even so Coville still has to deal with very challenging conditions, wind at 30-35 knots, gusts of over 40 knots and seas of 5 to 6 meters.
But if he can get his speeds up safely Coville can get back at Banque Populaire which is about 290 miles ahead. “The two boats could even arrive at Cape Horn with only a few hours difference,” explains Guillaume Rottee. The routings show there could be a slight lead for Sodebo Ultim 3 for the moment.”