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Brest Atlantiques Day 6: First break for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, but a stop is scheduled

by Sabina Mollart-Rogerson 10 Nov 23:39 GMT 10 November 2019
Maxi Edmond de Rothschild - Brest Atlantiques 2019 © Yann Riou / polaRYSE / GITANA SA

After five days of racing on the Brest Atlantiques course, the Doldrums delivered a favourable verdict for Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the team was hardly slowed down compared to its rivals. Just after crossing the equator this Sunday at 13.45 GMT, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier had a 163 mile lead over their immediate competitor, trimaran MACIF. However, the two co-skippers will have to make a technical stopover in Salvador de Bahia for repairs to the daggerboard.

The saying often used in offshore racing that the rich are getting richer was reflected in the first of the two crossings of the Doldrums on the Brest Atlantiques. On Saturday morning, when analysing the positioning of this inter-tropical zone, where the trade winds from the northern and southern hemispheres converge, causing hot air to rise and large cloud masses to generate either violent squalls or periods of calm, Franck Cammas believed that the first to arrive would have the best chance of getting out quickest.

The skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was right: the Guillaume Verdier designed trimaran, which entered the Doldrums on Saturday afternoon, will only have spent around fifteen hours there, without having completely stopped, except on Sunday morning just as they seemed to be out of the woods. "We thought we'd get out earlier, but the bad weather caught us before we left and we took a few hours off! Now that seems comical.... " said Franck Cammas in the morning.

Behind them, their competitors will have been slowed down further, as in turn, the trimaran MACIF (François Gabart/Gwénolé Gahinet), hampered since Saturday due by damage to the central hull rudder, Sodebo Ultim 3 (Thomas Coville/Jean-Luc Nélias) and Actual Leader (Yves Le Blevec/Alex Pella) have had their successive stops, difficult for sailors who specialise in high speed racing.

In a video sent by Martin Keruzoré, media man aboard Sodebo Ultim 3, which perfectly sums up the conditions in the Doldrums being something between brutal accelerations in the squalls and flapping sails in the "calm", Thomas Coville explained on Sunday morning: "We didn't leave at all, the Doldrums reformed ahead of us. It didn't take much for us to experience the same thing as those in front. It's a lot of effort for a lot of frustration."

As a result of this increase in speed, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, who crossed the equator on Sunday at 13.45 GMT after 5 days 3 hours and 45 minutes at sea, at 4pm had a 163 mile lead over the trimaran MACIF (compared to 44 miles, 24 hours earlier), 221 miles ahead of Sodebo Ultim 3 (compared to 164 miles) and 376 miles ahead of Actual Leader (compared to 371 miles).

The leaderboard will undoubtedly change in the coming days, with the two leading boats planning a pit stop for repairs. While MACIF have yet to announce an update on the location of the stopover to repair the central rudder, Gitana Team announced this Sunday afternoon that they would make a pit-stop in Salvador de Bahia for repairs to the trimaran's daggerboad. "We're going to have to stop in Bahia for a few hours," Franck Cammas confirmed in a statement sent by his team. "We had a problem with our daggerboard before passing the Cape Verde Islands and there are things to fix. We don't know exactly what happened, a collision probably, but visually, the bottom of the daggerboard is damaged, so the boat is not in optimal sailing mode. With Cyril Dardashti, the team and our navigator Marcel Van Triest, we weighed up the pros and cons: the cost to us in terms of miles, the distance still to cover as we have only completed a quarter of the course, the weather to come and of course safety. After looking at all this, we think that the best compromise is to stop and to then continue racing with the boat at its full potential."

With the help of the Transat Jacques Vabre organisation and those in charge of the Salvador de Bahia Marina, a decision was reached for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild to dock for a few hours in the Bay of All Saints in order to repair its daggerboard.

For more information visit www.brestatlantiques.com.

To find all the videos from on board and also ashore, please go to the Brest Atlantiques YouTube channel.

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