There are no days off in the open ocean! For Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, leaders of the Transat Jacques Vabre in the Ultime category, there is certainly no time to relax.
After a Bay of Biscay, which saw the giants breaking records for the slowest speed under the influence of a ridge of high pressure, a bracing passage around Cape Finisterre and a physical descent along the Iberian peninsula, the duo on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild left Madeira abeam of them this Thursday morning. In this way, she’s leading all the fleets southwards, but ahead of the five-arrow giant’s bows, the weather situation is still just as vague and the trade wind isn’t really playing ball.
A gybing corridor
Since Tuesday afternoon and the start of their negotiation of the north-west tip of Spain, the duo on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and their Ultime rivals are linking together manoeuvres and sparing no effort in a bid to remain in a steadier corridor of breeze stretching out towards the south-west. In 48 hours’ time, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have put in no less than eighteen gybes! An impressive figure for anyone who’s previously sailed aboard the Verdier design, given how much physical effort is required, but it just goes to show how committed and motivated the men of Gitana Team are at the head of the race.
“Franck and Charles are very focused and have been sailing a very clean race since the start. We’re hunting down the slightest rotation in the breeze and there’s plenty to keep an eye on at the moment, both on shore and at sea, due to the significant cloud cover. We’ve really had to be on top of our game to make the most of the corridor of breeze and hold onto the maximum pressure, a feat they’ve managed to perfection”, admitted Erwan Israël, one of the men that makes up the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s routing trio.