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The Big Tri's Depart Concarneau

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  • The Big Tri's Depart Concarneau

    Top start for Finist?re Atlantique -
    CHILDHOOD ACTION Challenge Good weather, beautiful sea, and light airs.

    This Friday the conditions are almost perfect on the magnificent lake of Concarneau for the start at 1 p.m. sharp of Finist?re Atlantique - Challenge ACTION ENFANCE. Only a few knots of wind are missing to allow the four Ultims to take off and express all their spectacular potential. But, in the light south-westerly flow which sets the tempo, the 25 sailors who have accumulated exceptional records nevertheless give a fine demonstration of their art of racing aboard these giants of the seas.

    At the sound of the gun, the quartet of trimarans, tightly grouped, set off in perfect timing, to the point that it was difficult to discern which of them crossed the line first. Maneuvering crews busy themselves in the cockpits. Quickly, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild fends off the cardinal Basse Jaune des Gl?nan in pole position. But its advantage remains very relative to the start of this great triangle across the Atlantic which begins to tack. In the next few hours, the crews announced that they were preparing to head west towards the Iroise Sea, to seek more favorable winds behind a front.

    If the race promises to be fast, it is indeed with small strides and a detour to circumvent an anticyclonic bubble well installed on the Bay of Biscay that it begins. From next night, the rhythm will accelerate frankly. The downwind descent will be rapid towards the North-West Iberian point where the wind and the sea will very clearly strengthen according to a weather scenario which foresees the whole range of conditions over the more than 3,100 miles of this course across the Atlantic. , via the Canaries and the Azores.

    They said to the pontoon:

    Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild): “This course in a large triangle will be very interesting, with moves to be made, more in detail than in the major options. Seven days of offshore racing is a bit of a sprint, but it's also a transatlantic race with our boats. This race will allow us to really measure where the competition is, especially since we will be sweeping all the angles and all the strengths of the wind up to 30 knots. Last year, we still had a boat that had a small advantage over some in terms of use. But the level is rising. We expect a tight game. We have been working together for three years on the basis of quarters of two. Everyone helms, everyone rules.

    Erwan Israel and Franck Cammas who will route me on the next Route du Rhum and take care of the navigation. For my part, I will focus on performance. And for the start, Franck will be at the helm, he's the best for this exercise! ? Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3): “The first hours will be very calm. We would have dreamed of showing the boats flying in the bay of Concarneau, this will not be the case. But on the other hand, when we hit stronger winds, we're going to set off on a great toboggan descent to the Canaries, which promises to be fabulous in a four-man confrontation, with boats whose potential has become much more uniform. We all want that. We descend downwind before coming back upwind while tacking, with most of it in flying mode. This is the first level of competition that the class wanted to succeed by creating an Ultim event which punctuates major events such as the Transat Jacques Vabre or the Route du Rhum. We will operate in floating shifts. Only Philippe Legros, the navigator and head of the routing cell on the next Route du Rhum will be off watch. "

    Armel le Cl?ac’h (Banque Populaire): “We will have between 7 and 10 knots at the start, but that will speed up during the night depending on the options. It's not super clear yet. There will be a match from the start to reach Cape Finisterre. We are all looking forward to getting into the race. We sailed a lot this year with Banque Populaire to test the modifications made to the boat this winter. The others also worked hard. We are eager to measure the pluses and minuses. The race will allow us to make a real inventory of the competition that we will find in a few months on the next Route du Rhum. Sailing as a crew will allow us to really pull the boat. To be 100% all the time. We're going to play for the win, but we know that opposite we have feared and formidable competitors, in particular the Gitana Team boat, which has won everything in recent seasons. It is up to us to show that we have made good progress. We will operate with two quarters of three. I will share the responsibility with S?bastien Josse and I will also be in charge of the weather and the strategy. For maneuvers, we will all be on deck. "


    Yves Le Blevec (Actual Ultim 3): “At the start, in 10 knots of wind, the boats will sail at 100% of their potential
    under full sail. The conditions will probably not allow flying, but it will be racing. It is clear that we will go quickly in the big descent. We should reach the Canaries in two and a half days. On the other hand, the ascent upwind will be more laborious, that's the game! We are all in good shape and very eager to leave.

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  • #2

    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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    • #3

      After 24 hours of racing on Finistere Atlantique - Challenge Action Enfance, hostilities have indeed begun while the leaders have already reached the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula. From the first miles in the Bay of Concarneau, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild took control of the fleet of Ultims. But after a night of heading West to find more favorable winds behind a front, the giants are now sliding downwind and at high speeds towards the South. The perfect opportunity to gauge the competition at the start of the sporting season. Once again, thanks to his camera and his keen eye, Yann Riou, media crew and helmsman of Gitana 17, takes us behind the scenes of the race.

      Jul 3, 2022 The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild launched at full speed, in flight, in the evening lights along Portugal … Yann Riou, the media crew who needs no introduction, could not miss these terms. But taking off a drone at more than 40 knots of average boat speed and above all bringing it back into the confined space of the five-arrow giant's cockpit is still a bit of a feat... Another balancing act and piloting exercise. times perfectly successful for our greatest pleasure!

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      • #4

        If the days follow one another and are not alike on the Finist?re Atlantique - Challenge ACTION ENFANCE, one constant persists with two boats which do not let go and progress almost equally in all the conditions encountered and under all speeds. This Tuesday at midday, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and Banque Populaire are still within a handful of miles. “Our little comrades from Gitana aren't very far away. The match race version of the fight in the middle of the Atlantic continues even more strongly,” confirms Armel Le Cleac’h this Tuesday afternoon. On board Banque Populaire, he put the turn signal on the right to roll up the island of Santa Maria last night. It has since progressed, on the port tack, towards the southwestern tip of the Iberian Peninsula in a northeasterly wind of around twelve knots.
        After Actual Ultim 3, which in turn completed at 1:56 p.m. on Tuesday - a dozen hours after the leader the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild - passed through the ACTION ENFANCE Acores gate, the entire fleet is now progressing on the return route to Concarneau. This could be the last straight line. But as announced from the start, it is indeed tacking in headwinds that the race now continues, which on the fourth day takes a completely different turn. “After sailing in beautiful seas, the sailors will gradually experience much more uncomfortable conditions. With a very unstable wind in strength and direction, driven by the anticyclone to the southwest of Ireland and a stormy low to the south of Spain, the conditions will be increasingly strong towards Cape Finisterre,” explains for his part Pascal Scaviner from Metro Consult.

        Pleasure up close?

        So upwind, upwind and always upwind until the finish. However, on board the crews who push the limits of flight, the race could nevertheless give rise to an ascent in headwinds conducive again and again to beautiful and frank accelerations. “These boats are now capable of sailing up to 30 knots at a speed close to the wind. They bear down a little bit and they stall on a very fast oceanic upwind which allows them to take off. We can see that this afternoon, they are already making progress at an average of 25 knots over four hours, which means that peaks at 30 are not excluded. As part of this crewed race, they are fine-tuning the settings so much that they will make the most of these 48 hours of upwind racing to push the boats very far in flight,” analyzes race director Gildas Morvan.

        Words that find a wide echo in the ranks of the fleet, as illustrated by Thomas Rouxel, aboard Sodebo Ultim 3. “We discover a lot of things in the settings. It's about adapting to the new foils we installed this winter. With these new appendages, we manage to take off earlier. It allows us to go through transitions better. We also hope to take advantage of it on the ascent to Brittany. It's super interesting, we're making progress day by day,” confided this morning this helmsman-trimmer working alongside Thomas Coville, who now finds that upwind sailing can be “pleasant”. Proof if there is one that these giants of the sea have probably not finished revolutionizing sailing.

        Looking for the right edges on a northern route

        In this context, it is not surprising that the crews favored a northern route very early on, like the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild which has just started a first tack around 4 p.m. “Given the gale and heavy seas expected tomorrow Wednesday near Cape Finisterre, sailors should opt from Tuesday for a less risky northern route, in more manageable conditions,” justifies the forecaster from Meteo Consult. .

        On board Actual Ultim 3, the game remains open on the return route to the finish. “Our objective will be to take care of our trajectory as much as possible and to find the right compromise with regard to the different options that will take us into more or less strong winds. The discussion will take place at this level: to know how far to place ourselves in the days up close that await us between Santa Maria and Concarneau. We have the advantage of having a boat that works well upwind. We will try to find the right edges without positioning ourselves in relation to our little comrades, ”says Yves Le Blevec. Climbing flight or sensational tacking? One thing is certain, a new episode of the race begins today, 48 hours from a first arrival estimated from 4 p.m. Thursday… Up there in Concarneau.

        Today, we are far enough apart to progress in conditions that will not be the same from one boat to another. Our objective will be to take care of our trajectory as much as possible and to find the right compromise on the strategy to come with regard to the various options which take us into more or less strong winds. The discussion will take place at this level: to know how far to place ourselves in the days upwind that await us between Santa Maria and Concarneau, with a wind generally in line. When tacking, it won't necessarily be very funny, but we still have the advantage of having a boat that works well upwind. We will try to find the right edges without positioning ourselves in relation to our little comrades.

        The race format is really nice. The crew works with the good cohesion that was already acquired before the start. We had great conditions before arriving in Madeira and Lanzarote. There was also the hardest; and there we go to a more sporty pace to reach the finish. ?
        Thomas Rouxel, crew member aboard Sodebo Ultim 3, sent a long word from the ship this morning on approach to the Azores archipelago.
        “We are finishing the second part of the course, approaching the Azores which we will be rounding in the hours to come. We don't have much wind at the moment. It's dark, there's no moon at all, it's a real big dark night. It took roughly 24 hours to cross between the Canaries and the Azores, we had not seen a boat from the Canaries but there, approaching the Azores, we see fishermen's fires appear. So there is still life on earth, that's good news! Approaching the Azores, we fell into the soft, there are only 8-10 knots currently while we had made the start of the crossing quickly at more than 30 knots on average. We have just changed the sail to put on a bigger one. There is activity on deck trying to stay fast despite everything. There are four people on the bridge. Me, I'm going to go to bed soon.

        The troops are in good shape, the whole crew has respected their watch rhythms well, except Thomas and I, we have deviated from our operating rules a little since last night. Thomas stayed awake for a long time crossing the Canaries to circumvent Lanzarote with the accelerations of strong winds, maneuvers etc. I let him sleep afterwards; and now we're going to resume our shift rhythm. We are concentrated, we are trying to move the boat forward. We discover a lot of things with all the settings that we have to adapt with the new foils. We benefited a lot from these improvements on the descent to the Canary Islands because the wind was quite light. With these new foils, we manage to take off earlier. It allows us to better cross transitions, such as the wind in Madeira. We're going to make the most of it on the ascent to Brittany since it will be tacking, upwind, and we saw that we were able to take off and fly at these speeds, which we weren't able to do last year. It’s super interesting, we are progressing day by day and the atmosphere is very good. Over these 24 hours of reaching, we used the autopilot a lot because he steers very well at these speeds. It allowed us to rest well too. For the moment everything is well.

        The ascent promises to be less fun than the descent, it's like in the mountains! And as often on a boat, it's more fun to go downwind than upwind. We're still going to have fun, we're still going to fly. Strategically, there will be moves to play, that's for sure, there are all the time! Now, there is no big option to take, there is a corridor of wind which is accelerating at Cape Finisterre and a ridge on the left, in the North-West of Cape Finisterre. We will go up between these two areas. There will be a lot of maneuvers. It should take about two days to reach Brittany. We think we have a little wind, it's not going to be “just” the holidays either! ?

        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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        • #5
          A suspenseful denouement to the race

          The top duo in the Finist?re Atlantique - Challenge Action Enfance is treating us to a thrilling denouement to the race. Currently battling it out at the latitude of Cape Finisterre, both crews were brought up on a diet of one-design competitions as past Figaro sailors, which means that racing with daggers drawn is very much part of their DNA. Despite radically different options yesterday after the Azores passage, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild opting for a N’ly option whilst Banque Populaire XI favoured the east, the two giants are now side by side again for less than 600 miles from the finish. At the 17:00 UTC position report, Charles Caudrelier’s men had snatched back control of the fleet, just 5.5 miles ahead of their closest rival.

          Oceanic match racing

          Charles Caudrelier was in no doubt during his video conference: “You must be relishing the match back on land!” Indeed, it’s fair to say that the mano a mano offered up by the crews on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and Banque Populaire is proving to be extremely entertaining, given how uncertain the outcome is and how thrilling a race it is to follow. Each of them is clearly intent on crossing the finish line with no regrets and the sailors are giving their absolute all in the tacking frenzy that is punctuating the last few miles to the finish line.

          “We chose a N’ly option yesterday, as the route along the length of Portugal seemed too boisterous and unrealistic, whilst Banque Populaire went for an E’ly option. That took us away from the direct route, but that’s the option we wanted to take and we stuck to our guns. They clearly had other ideas. They’re in the process of coming up to the north again now and we may reconverge over the course of today.” Franck Cammas was right! Late yesterday, after more than 48 very intense hours sailing within sight of one another, the two giants split apart. However, this separation was short-lived. “In some ways, they’re our worst enemy right now, even though we have lots of friends aboard Banque Populaire,” mused Charles Caudrelier. “Our option to the north wasn’t as fruitful as expected, but we’re very close again now and it’s game on once more! They’re sailing very well and forcing us to bring our A game. We’re delighted at how much we’re learning in this race.”

          Intensity and fatigue

          After five days of intense racing, the fatigue is beginning to set in among the sailors given how demanding conditions are in this race climax. Questioned by Yann Riou in the early hours, Franck Cammas provided some insight into the night watch that had just come to an end: “There’s quite a lot of clouds and instability in the air so it’s hard to trim the boat and it’s also difficult to go as fast as the routing is predicting. You really have to be on top of things, though it’s easier to handle that in crewed format rather than single or double-handed.

          We can’t see a lot right now. There’s no moon at the moment and you can’t see a lot at night, so sometimes it’s better to sail the boat under autopilot, which doesn’t need vision as it relies on its sensors, so that works better.” A few hours afterwards, around late morning, Charles Caudrelier echoed this sentiment: “We spent the night tacking in 18-20 knots of breeze and heavy seas. Conditions are very variable, it’s lively and the watches require a great deal of concentration.”

          Arrival in Concarneau tomorrow evening, Thursday

          “Over the next 24hrs we’ll continue on a beat with an average breeze of around 18 knots. We’ll attempt to get around and close on the zone of high pressure to our left and our north before linking onto a straight tack towards Brittany in the hope that the wind will shift round to the north as planned. It’s set to be a close run match all the way to the wire!” explained Franck Cammas. We’ve got the picture.

          With less than 600 miles to go, it’s still anyone’s game. However, there is one thing which everyone seems to agree on: the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and Banque Populaire XI will be back in the bay of Port la For?t, where the outcome of the first edition of the Finist?re Atlantique - Challenge Action Enfance will be decided, by tomorrow evening, Thursday 7 July. For greater precision about the time, we must wait a little longer yet…

          Positions at the ranking of 17:00 UTC
          1. Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at 584,5 nm of the finish
          2. Banque Populaire XI at 5.5 nm of the leader
          3. Sodebo Ultim 3 at 170 nm of the leader
          4. Actual Leader at 259,6 nm of the leader

          The Finist?re Atlantique - Challenge Action Enfance
          3,163-mile course across the North Atlantic
          Concarneau, the Gl?nan archipelago, Madeira, Lanzarote (Canaries), Santa Maria (Azores), Concarneau (Brittany)

          Crew on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild
          Charles Caudrelier, skipper
          Franck Cammas, helm, navigator
          Morgan Lagravi?re, helm, trimmer
          David Boileau, trimmer, bowman
          Erwan Isra?l, helm, trimmer
          Yann Riou, media crew, helm

          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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