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3 Outta 4 Ain't Bad

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  • 3 Outta 4 Ain't Bad

    The giants make landfall in Marseille

    It is in Marseille that the first edition of the Nice UltiMed kicks off tomorrow. For two days, from Wednesday 25 to Thursday 26 April, the local public will be able to get up close and personal with the extraordinary trimarans moored at the heart of the Vieux Port and meet the crews of Thomas Coville, Francis Joyon and Yves Le Blévec. The event is an important one as these giants of the seas are coming together for the very first time in the Mediterranean, with some fine moments of exchange in perspective…

    It is not every day that the biggest offshore racing trimarans come to the Mediterranean, so it makes complete sense to enable as wide a public as possible to enjoy it. In this way, within the context of the Nice UltiMed, the Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region is putting on a two-day exhibition in Marseille. It was the Sodebo Ultim’ helmed by Thomas Coville, which was the first to be tied to the dock in the Vieux Port, early this Tuesday afternoon, putting on an extraordinarily spectacular show just on its own. “It’s magical when you arrive here by sea to be able to make out the cliffs and then this city of Marseille with its ochres, its whites and its red roofs... The closer you get, the more grandiose it is”, gushes Thomas Coville. “It’s the first time that Sodebo Ultim’ has come to the Vieux Port in Marseille. It’s rather atypical to get in here with a machine like this measuring 21.50m wide.” Between now and tomorrow morning, two other giants will be making towards the Bonne-Mère, the famous basilica which graces Marseille’s skyline: Actual-Grand Large Emotion and IDEC SPORT, respectively skippered by Yves Le Blévec and Francis Joyon.

    The 4th Maxi, Banque Populaire had a righting moment failure and will not attend

    “Proud and honoured to be here”

    For the city’s local audience, it’s a wonderful opportunity to admire these giants of the seas. Having just many landfall, Thomas Coville’s crew has already become acquainted with a group of schoolchildren who were particularly enthusiastic about the chance to climb aboard such a machine, and understandably so! And this is but an early indication of the festive, sharing ambiance in store over the next two days. “We’re in a fabulous setting with incredible weather. We also have the great privilege of being right opposite the city hall, at the back of the Vieux Port. We’re honoured and proud to be here. We’ll be available, eager to listen and ready to inspire the locals and Mediterranean dwellers as a whole to become even more switched on to the sea and get more interested in offshore racing. Make the most of our iconic boats that break the mould”, Coville says encouragingly. “With this first Nice UltiMed we’re at a turning point in offshore racing in France. The Mediterranean has everything it needs to create a proper meeting that is set to last and that’s our objective.” Page one of the story begins tomorrow…

    A reception area to welcome aboard a new audience in oceanic adventure

    With family or friends tomorrow and Thursday, the local audience in Marseille will be able to discover the outrageous proportions of the trimarans that make up the Ultime Class and get to know the great sailors who are part of it. In the reception area, open from 10:00am to 7:00pm opposite the boats tied to the dock along the Quai d’honneur, spectators will also be able to get some educational information about the race and enjoy presentations of the boats and the skippers via a speaker. It’s worth noting that Land Rover, Official Partner to the Race, will also be setting up a space nearby enabling the public to get a feel for 4x4 driving on dedicated modules.

    After the two-day exhibition in Marseille, the Ultimes will set sail on the Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region Prologue on Friday 27 April at 11:00am, bound for Nice.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    Bottom looks clean


    • #3
      Nice Ultimed Underway

      The Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region Prologue heralded the start of the sports segment of the Nice UltiMed

      - Actual-Grand Large Emotion, IDEC SPORT and Sodebo Ultim' put on a show in the very light airs

      - The boats are expected into Nice over the course of the night, with inauguration of the Discovery Exhibition on the Promenade des Anglais tomorrow Saturday at 10:00am

      This Friday, the three Ultimes competing in the first edition of the Nice UltiMed took the start of the Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region Prologue. Non-point-scoring, this inaugural race between Marseille and Nice comprised the very first confrontation between the Ultime trimarans in Mediterranean waters, as well as kicking off the 2018 season for this class of giants. The crews of Yves Le Blévec (Actual-Grand Large Emotion), Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim') and Francis Joyon (IDEC SPORT) sized each other up in the light airs, which required some highly-refined navigation. The three boats are expected into Nice over the course of the night, with the inauguration of the Nice UltiMed Discovery Exhibition tomorrow at 10:00am.

      After two excellent exhibition days at the heart of Marseille's Vieux Port, which gathered together scores of enthusiasts and enquiring minds, the sailors competing in the Nice UltiMed were keen to get back out to sea this Friday. Non-point-scoring, the Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region Prologue, between Marseille and Nice, is a great opportunity to "get completely dazzled in an unclassifiable and exceptional setting!", explained Thomas Coville, just minutes before casting off. This first confrontation in the Nice UltiMed is also a great way for the crews to get conditioned, find their automatic reflexes again and get back in contact with the Mediterranean playing field, whose beauty and unpredictability need no introduction. "We're happy to be sailing with colleagues again, as it's something we haven't done for nearly a year, since The Bridge (race between Saint Nazaire in France and New York)", Francis Joyon pointed out this morning.

      Tactical navigation in light airs
      In fact it was IDEC SPORT which was first to cast off, followed a few minutes later by Sodebo Ultim' and Actual-Grand Large Emotion. Seeing three trimarans from the Ultime class leaving the Vieux Port was a real feast for the eyes for the racers, their guests as well as the locals in Marseille. It was at 11:00am sharp that Renaud Muselier, President of the Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region, gave the start of the Prologue off the port of Le Roucas, just off the iconic coast road. As forecast, the crews set sail in a light breeze. "Throughout the day, the crews have had to deal with a shifty wind both in terms of strength and direction and the speed of the boats has oscillated between 5 and 15 knots", explains Christophe Gaumont, Race Director of the Nice UltiMed.

      Benefiting from the 'lightness' of its steed and very inspired tactically, the crew of Actual-Grand Large Emotion, helmed by Yves Le Blévec, quickly moved to the front of the fleet, stretching away from Sodebo Ultim' and IDEC SPORT. Thomas Coville and Francis Joyon's Ultimes have done a lot of close contact racing today, with just metres between them at times! One of the high points of the day was the Ultimes' passage between the Giens peninsula and the island of Porquerolles. As we go to press, the wind has completely dropped away and tonight's forecast isn't exactly optimistic... As a result, the three competitors still have a fair bit of time at sea and are expected to make Nice over the course of the night.



      09:45am: Inauguration of the Discovery Exhibition – Quai des Etats-Unis

      10:30am: Press briefing with the skippers – Discovery Exhibition

      07:00pm: Discovery Exhibition closes to the public for the day
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        Yves Le Blévec Pulls Out, A Two Horse Race Ensues

        Actual-Grand Large Emotion forced to retire

        Late this Wednesday, Yves Le Blévec called Race Management for the Nice UltiMed to inform them of rig damage (broken hydraulic ram) aboard Actual-Grand Large Emotion. During a change of tack, the mast shifted to leeward and the crew realised that the ram controlling the system was no longer fulfilling its role. The trimaran was sailing 1.5 miles to the North-East of the Saint Tropez headland at the time in a 6 to 8-knot SW'ly wind on flat seas. Having secured the rig, Yves Le Blévec and his crew made the decision to retrace their steps and retire from the Nice UltiMed. Indeed, given the damage and the weather conditions expected for the next stage of the course (30 to 35 knots of breeze, gusting to 45 knots), the skipper deemed it impossible to continue racing without jeopardising the integrity of the boat and her crew.

        Impossible to miss the Nice UltiMed

        It's worth remembering that Yves Le Blévec lost his Ultime Actual on 14 December 2017, offshore of Cape Horn, during his westabout round the world record attempt. Despite this misfortune, he kept his promise to participate in the Nice UltiMed and launched into a race against the clock to locate a boat that was available for the event. He finally opted for the ex-Gitana 11, which notably won the Route du Rhum 2006. Renamed "Actual-Grand Large Emotion" for the Nice UltiMed, this trimaran excelled in the light airs, dominating the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region Prologue and the Exhibition Run.

        A duel at the summit

        This evening, the Nice UltiMed has turned into a duel at the summit between the Ultimes skippered by Francis Joyon (IDEC SPORT) and Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim'), two maxi trimarans with similar performances and honed crewed. At 7:00pm, the boats were within a mile of one another. Tonight, they'll likely round the first waypoint off Marseille (Sud-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region Mark). At that point, conditions are set to become increasingly lively with the 300 miles separating Marseille and the South of Sardinia shaping up to be very quick with the two Ultimes likely to rack up average speeds of around 30 knots (55 km/hr) in heavy and short seas.



        Actual-Grand Large Emotion, IDEC SPORT and Sodebo Ultim’ set sail on the main event this Wednesday at 1:02pm, in front of a huge crowd accompanied by very light airs. All three boats had six sailors aboard and the crews of Thomas Coville, Francis Joyon and Yves Le Blévec launched off on the UltiMed circuit in an anticlockwise direction, with waypoints to be rounded off Marseille (the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur mark), to the South of Sardinia (Capo Spartivento) and Corsica (Porto Vecchio and the island of Giraglia), for an ETA back in Nice on Saturday afternoon. Following a light airs start to the race, conditions are set to beef up dramatically as they drop downwind towards the south of Sardinia. The sailors are ready to get going!

        It was at 1:02pm that Armel Le Cléac’h (winner of the last Vendée Globe and skipper of the Maxi Banque Populaire IX), Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice, and Jean-Pierre Dick, patron of the Nice UltiMed, gave the start from the Rauba Capeù promontory. Nicely warmed up after the Exhibition Run contested last Sunday, the locals in Nice came out in force to see off the crews on this “Offshore Sprint” stretching over 1,000 miles.
        Given the very light weather conditions, the coastal course was naturally shortened. The crews simply rounded the mark set in front of the airport before heading off on a direct course towards Marseille and the first waypoint of the race (the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur mark) which they’re expected to reach midway through the night.

        Parting shots from the skippers prior to the start:

        Yves Le Blévec (Actual-Grand Large Emotion): “The race start in light airs will be favourable for us and we’ll certainly be in the match as far as Marseille. However, as we set a course for Sardinia, our playmates aboard Sodebo Ultim’ and IDEC SPORT will really be able to power up...”

        Francis Joyon (IDEC SPORT): “Conditions are set to be very varied, which will make things interesting. With my crew, we’ll set off with a two-pronged objective: to battle it out in competition mode to validate last winter’s refit on IDEC SPORT and above all to win!”

        Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim’): “Given the weather conditions, it won’t be so easy for Actual to play its game well throughout the race, even though they’re excellent racers. Francis Joyon has a very similar boat to ours so it’s going to be a fine match. That’s what we’re after in the Nice UltiMed, excitement and confrontation!”
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          That Yves has a tough time finishing races, doesn't he?