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Arkéa Ultim Challenge - Brest day 35 morning update

by Andi Robertson 10 Feb 08:43 GMT 10 February 2024

Last night at 0143hrs UTC Anthony Marchand notified the ARKÉA ULTIM CHALLENGE-Brest race direction that he had started a technical stopover. Now at anchor in Dunedin, on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, his repairs have begun. Meanwhile Cape Horn is coming up for Armel Le Cléac'h and Thomas Coville.

It was during Tuesday night as he checked over his boat, whilst sailing ahead of a strong depression in decent seas, that Marchand noticed the mechanism which holds his starboard side foil in the low position was broken. Despite repairs carried out remotely with the support of Team Actual, the situation was quite precarious as he was about to cross the Pacific Ocean.

He adjusted his course to the north and met two members of his team on his arrival in Dunedin. Now they are hard at work in Dunedin to ensure everything is repaired within 24 hours, the minimum duration of a technical stopover according to the race rules. It is a difficult time for Marchand who is now making his second technical stopover after one in Cape Town in South Africa on January 26 and 27. The skipper of Actual Ultim 3 remains upbeat and keen to get going again to resume his first solo round-the-world race.

Le Cléac'h and Coville approaching Cape Horn

Armel Le Cléac'h is on final approach and gybed to head south to round the tip of South America. The skipper of the Maxi Banque Populaire XI will have crossed the Pacific Ocean at an average of around 700 miles per day, and is expected to round Cape Horn tonight in very manageable conditions, around15 knots of northerly wind with small, local squalls which are typical for the Horn. It seems possible that Armel will pass close to the mythical rock. Then he has the option to go through the Le Maire Strait in a fairly light wind or go out to the east outside Staten Island to find more wind, but be he would be upwind on the 'big blue bird' for a while before getting to some good, fast downwind conditions.

Reckoned to be about fifteen hours behind, Thomas Coville is due to pass on Sunday afternoon. The skipper of Sodebo Ultim 3 will have westerly winds of 25 to 30 knots and gusts of 35 knots which he will have right into the South Atlantic, generated from the strong depression he has been on for a few days.

And leader Charles Caudrelier is upwind in a northeasterly flow on the edge of an anticyclone, and this should last several days. In around only 15 knots of wind Caudrelier is conclusively proving Edmond de Rothschild goes upwind well, moving at almost 30 knots some 200 miles off the Brasilian coast.

And in fifth place Éric Péron has 660 miles of the Indian Ocean left and reports: "First there was this anticyclone which slowed us down and prevented us from diving to the South, then a tropical depression which I negotiated by the North. The cross seas were really difficult, wearing me out. I stayed in contact with the front for quite a long time, I had to stay with it going South just to keep the wind. I even had to slow down at certain times because I did not want to sail any further into it.

"So right now I feel a bit ambivalent. For several days, it really has not been much fun with a lot of manoeuvres and very uncomfortable conditions. In fact I have talked quite a bit with Armel (Le Cléac'h) who is on his fourth race around the world. He confirmed to me that Indian is always complicated, full of surprises. I hope the Pacific will be more straightforwards."

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