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The 30 Plus Knot Charge Towards The Canaries


  • The 30 Plus Knot Charge Towards The Canaries

    For more than 24 hours, the 25 team members of the Finist?re Atlantique Challenge ACTION ENFANCE have been driving their machines at high speed. Evidenced by the average speeds of the Ultims over the last few hours of racing: nearly 34 knots! After a first passage abreast last night requiring numerous maneuvers and changes of sails, the giants of the seas are heading downwind towards Porto.

    After a start in light airs, the 4 Ultims carried out trajectories towards the West in order to touch the more sustained wind. Following a long leg from the Pointe de Penmarc'h about 200 miles out to sea, they carried out a jibe in the middle of the night before starting the descent downwind. In the early morning, Anthony Marchand, crew member on board Actual Ultim 3 rejoiced: “the big slides towards the Canaries have started”, on a relatively flat sea. "It's a speed race," said Armel Le Cl?ac'h, skipper of Banque Populaire, as he sailed at 35 knots, just 5 miles from the leader at the start of the afternoon, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild which has held its position since the first hours of the race. The skipper, Charles Caudrelier testifies: “It's dream conditions, we have a little wind and the sea is flat. We fight it out with our comrades who are not very far away. We see their speed, it is interesting to compare the performance of the Ultim. We spend a lot of time adjusting the boat.”

    At 4 p.m., the Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Banque Populaire and Sodebo Ultim 3 carried out a new gybe with precise timing. The objective: to find the perfect moment that will allow them to make a long tack towards Porto in order to touch the steady wind. Gildas Morvan, race director explains: “The timing of the gybe is important, you have to find the wind acceleration by finding the right balance because at the end of the day the sea will be crossed, with a swell of 2 to 3 meters” . Depending on the trajectories, the boats could encounter winds of around 30 knots overnight with gusts of up to 40 knots.

    "It's going to be more sporty, you'll have to be careful with the manoeuvres," said Armel Le Cl?ac'h. Interesting conditions according to the skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild: “It's the start of the season, we don't really know the potential of the boats, we are discovering each other. It is rather exciting than stressful to have these conditions. It's going to go fast, we're going to come close to 40 knots or even exceed them”. On the first day of racing, the confrontation keeps all its promises!


    After having sailed very westerly to pick up some wind at night, the competitors in the Finist?re Atlantique - Challenge ACTION ENFANCE are now sailing downwind and sailing at speeds of around thirty knots.

    The crew, after a first night at sea, take their rhythm by following the defined shifts, sometimes different from one Ultim to another. On board Sodebo, the shifts are four hours, with one hour of stand-by before and one hour of stand-by after. “There are usually 4 of us on deck working, trimming the sails, helming and trimming the appendages. The whole crew has found their rhythm well ? testifies Thierry Douillard at daybreak. He adds: “We experience incredible moments of sliding between 34 and 40 knots, it’s just magnificent! ?

    On board Actual Ultim 3, the program to come, which consists of gliding towards the Canary Islands, seems to delight crew member Anthony Marchand, who is delighted this morning to have found a bearing speed: "We had to be vigilant this night because there was the front to cross, it wasn't very violent but it was a tactically crucial moment with a lot of maneuvers and changes of sails. We found a buoyant pace at daybreak, the weather is good, we are in shorts and t-shirt sheltered under the cap”. The crew, who lost a bit of ground after taking something in an appendix during the night, are taking advantage of the moments of sliding before facing a "fairly hot and important crossing point" the next night at the level of the DST ( traffic separation device, editor's note) of Cape Finisterre, where the fleet will face winds that can reach 40 knots in an area of ​​heavy traffic.

    General situation: This Saturday, a powerful anticyclone at 1033 hPa is centered on the Atlantic at 45?N and 33?W. At the edge of the anticyclone, a moderate north-westerly regime is established behind a cold front located at midday on an axis going from 45?N/12?W to the Iroise Sea .

    On Sunday, a fairly strong north-northeast regime off the Iberian Peninsula between the powerful anticyclone centered on the Atlantic at 1034hPa at 44?N/27?W and a stormy depression centered on Portugal. Monday: moderate north-northeast regime in the vicinity of the Canary Islands, bordering the vast Atlantic anticyclone at 1034hPa, centered at 48?N/26?W. Later trend: moderate northeasterly flow in the vicinity of the Azores, bordering the vast anticyclone centered at 1037hPa by 48?N/23?W.

    Weather conditions at sea for the next few days Saturday July 2 As expected, the sailors opted for a westerly course in the Iroise Sea during the first hours of sailing to seek downwind conditions behind the cold front of a disturbance. At the start of the day this Saturday, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild led by Charles Caudrelier and his 5 crew were leading the race on the near Atlantic under a northwesterly flow of around 12 knots which allowed them to sail at high speed. towards the southwest.

    On the morning of this Saturday, the sailors will continue their descent with navigation speeds which will increase further since the wind will take from the right to head north, while gaining a few knots. At midday, sailors should jibe to set a south-easterly course towards Cape Finisterre. As the afternoon progressed, as it got closer to the Iberian coast, the northerly wind would pick up sharply to reach 25 to 28 knots in a sea that would become choppy with a 2-metre swell.

    A speed race will then begin in tough conditions where the skippers will have to show all their experience and vigilance to preserve the equipment. It is in the early evening that the sailors should pass the latitude of Cape Finisterre with a northerly wind of 30 knots and gusts that could reach 38 to 40 knots in very rough seas.

    Sunday July 3 In the first part of the night from Saturday to Sunday, the weather conditions will remain tough in the descent off the Portuguese coast. The very dynamic northerly flow between 28 and 32 knots (the Portuguese trade wind) will require the greatest vigilance from the sailors, especially as the sea will be strong with a swell of 2.5 m to 3 m coming from behind the Ultimate. In this wind, which will be in the axis of the direct route, the sailors will have to operate a few gybes. In the second part of the night, as it progresses off the southern coast of Portugal, the wind will lose some of its vigor and the sea will become less rough.

    Under the influence of a depression over Portugal and in the presence of a cold drop of altitude, the weather will become unstable. It is therefore not excluded that navigators experience the passage of thunderstorms with winds that vary greatly in strength and direction under the storm cells.

    At the start of Sunday morning, the sailors should already be sailing at the latitude of the Strait of Gibraltar and progress towards Madeira under a northerly wind which will have clearly calmed down to blow between 15 and 18 knots. Sailors will appreciate finding less windy and sea conditions. They should reach the latitude of Madeira at the end of the afternoon of this Sunday. Monday July 4 During the night from Sunday to Monday, the sailors will sail between Madeira and the Canary archipelago under a north-northeast wind which will blow between 15 and 20 knots allowing them to sail at high speed. It is at the end of the night that they should round the island of Lanzarote, leaving the island of Fuerteventura to port.

    They will then begin a long ascent towards the island of Santa Maria, located in the east of the Azores archipelago. They will be sailing in a north-northeast wind between 15 and 18 knots. This northeasterly wind on the southern edge of the powerful Atlantic anticyclone will allow them to progress on a reach on a fast and direct course towards Santa Maria. As they come up the Atlantic, a few squalls may circulate in a dispersed manner, causing variations in wind speed and direction. This will require sailors to operate sail maneuvers and adjustments.

    Tuesday July 5 It is at the beginning of the morning of this Tuesday that the first Ultim should reach the island of Santa Maria before starting the last part of the race to reach Concarneau. Located on the south-eastern edge of the Azores High, it is always a moderate northeast wind that will be established on the skippers' route. With a wind direction in the axis of the trajectory towards Brittany, the sailors will have no choice but to extend their route. They should opt for a northerly trajectory

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