No Jules Verne Trophy this winter
Collisions with UFOs (Non-identified floating objects) are now part and parcel of everyday life for offshore racing teams. That’s a fact! For the men on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, 2021 has been punctuated by these chance encounters, which have the ability to undermine a sports programme and dash the hopes of both the sailors and their shore team in an instant. Over the course of July, whilst Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their Jules Verne Trophy crew were in training on a long sprint around the North Atlantic, a collision with a UFO severely damaged the central rudder on the flying trimaran. Fortunately, a new appendage was already being manufactured and the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was quickly able to head back out to sea and secure the win in early August’s Rolex Fastnet Race. Late September saw the team suffer another impact, this time on one of the foils, which significantly hampered the training and preparation phase for Gitana’s skippers just weeks before the Transat Jacques Vabre. Once more the technicians rallied together and the team’s know-how enabled the Edmond de Rothschild duo to line up in Le Havre with a boat able to sail at her full potential again.
Last week, having made an express return passage from the West Indies and just a few hours before making landfall on the Breton coast, the boat was once again involved in a collision as Charles Caudrelier explains: “We were north of the Azores, 36 hours from our final destination. I was down below in my bunk and heard the boat impact something with quite a snap. It wasn’t an horrendous noise and David and Yann, who were up on deck, didn’t really feel the boat stall either. However, following the collision there was an unusual noise coming from the centreboard which prompted us to check out the appendage. Initially, I believed something had got trapped around the centreboard and we went into reverse to try and dislodge it. That’s when we spotted that the elevator (skate wing) was no longer attached to the end of the centreboard… and that the latter was damaged. Today, we have aboard all the various systems to prevent these collisions… but it’s not that simple.”