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NOR For Round The World Single Handed Utim Race Released

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  • NOR For Round The World Single Handed Utim Race Released


    They will potentially be seven "Giants of the Seas" setting off from Brest, with a solo skipper on board, who will attempt to complete a circumnavigation of the world from West to East, via the 3 capes (Bonne-Esperance, Leewin and Horn ). A human and technological challenge carried by the sailors of the Ultim 32/23 Class accompanied by their owners and partners.

    Some of them have already completed the course in multihulls and solo: Francis Joyon, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Thomas Coville, Francois Gabart; particularly in the context of single-handed round the world sailing record campaigns, but none have ever done so in a race!

    Alone, on their giant multihulls, for 40 to 50 days, the skippers will be subjected to extreme variations in weather conditions and will have to deal with wind, waves, swell and ice. Anticyclonic systems, with little wind, as well as depressions, most often at the origin of strong winds, will punctuate the life of the sailors on board and will influence the trajectory strategies adopted.

    The race will therefore start from Brest at the end of 2023. The exact date has not yet been set but will be revealed soon. The boats should return to the tip of Brittany after about forty days if we refer to the current record set by Fran?ois Gabart in 2017 (42 days 16 hours). The weather may be complicated. You will have to cross the Bay of Biscay on the outward and return journey under the threat of harsh winter depressions in the North Atlantic. Then the calms of the Doldrums and the pitfalls of the St Helena High will serve as "justices of the peace" before plunging into the hell of the Roaring Forties or even the Fiftieths Howling until Cape Horn. As always in world tours, the rise towards the north and the vagaries of the weather along the South American coasts could redistribute the cards until the return to the Northern hemisphere and the arrival in the Brest gully. But the real challenge for the solo sailors will be to manage to cover the 21,600 nautical miles (40,000 Earth kilometres) of this circumnavigation of the globe without hitting an obstacle, submerged container marine mammals, knowing that the latter have difficulty escaping from the bows of monsters tumbling onto the ocean sometimes at more than 40 knots!

    To date, five Ultim teams have validated their participation: Actual (Yves Le Blevec), Gitana (Charles Caudrelier), Sodebo (Thomas Coville), Banque Populaire (Armel Le Cleach) and Ultim Sailing (skipper TBC). At their side we can hope to find on the starting line the inexhaustible Francis Joyon, perhaps the most experienced sailor in this kind of exercise, and Francois Gabart's SVR Lazartigue.

    Five to seven giant trimarans with on board as many prestigious sailors engaged alone in a planetary race, this promises a fantastic maritime epic that we did not even imagine possible some thirty years ago when the great ocean multihulls!


    The Notice of Race for the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest race which is organized by OC Sport Pen Duick, with the participation of ARKEA, the City of Brest, Brest Metropole, Brittany Region and the department of Finistere has now been published.

    The main rules have been laid out including those pertaining to advertising and identification markings, registrations, the actual programme which includes the skipper's obligations, the different levels of boat and equipment checks, the sailing instructions, the course, the penalty system, rankings, trophy and prizes, the details and timing of positioning, means of communication, sources of energy and outside help. All these are detailed point by point in the substantial 26-page document.

    But the fundamentals of this no holds barred race stand out head and shoulders above the detail. This will be the first ever solo round the world race for the Ultim 32/23 class. The classic course goes eastabout around the world passing all three great Capes, The Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn leaving them to port with the Antarctic continent and ice zones to starboard.

    "The finish will be outside Brest harbor”, explains Guillaume Rottee, the Race Director, who explains that the main rules are those of the Ultim 32/23 Class. “Each sailor will have to complete a qualification course of at least 2,500 nautical miles”, he explains. He goes on to highlight that the deadline for registration requests is set for May 31, 2023 and the final list of boats registered to start the race will be published no later than June 5, 2023.

    “The minimum number of boats at the start for the event to take place is set at four. The maximum number is limited to eight. A substitute skipper is mandatory for each boat”, specifies Rottee.
    To date five teams have validated their participation in this extraordinary inaugural event, including Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild), Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3) and Armel Le Cleac'h (Maxi Banque Populaire XI), who all have already qualified for the race by virtue of completing last Autumn's Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe.

    Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim 3) and Eric Peron (Ultim Sailing) are also among the sailors who have officially confirmed their participation in what promises to be an epic race, but they have to complete a required qualifying course to ratify their entry.

    One interesting feature will be "Ghost" mode, will should spice up moments during the race. Each of the skippers can activate "Ghost mode" for a period of 24 hours up to twice during the course except for within a perimeter of less than 500 miles from the start or finish line.

    “During this period its geographical position is hidden from the public and rivals on the water. This will add to the suspense for race watchers and for the racers. This initiative was well received by the various teams when the NOR was published. Overall we have tried to listen to the racers as much as possible. As much as possible we have worked on the Notice Of Race in consultation with the teams. Some points changed a little to include the ideas or wishes of all the competitors. So for example the closing date of the finish line has been set at 100 days after the start from Brest to maximize everyone's chances of closing the loop,” says Guillaume Rottee.

    Technical stops will be authorized but whether they take place at the dock in a port at anchor they will be subject to a minimum stoppage time of 24 hours. Finally, the last important point: with regard to the assistance, any human and/or technological intervention from outside, from off the boat allowing remote action on one or more element(s), equipment(s), or settings of the boat in the place of the sailor will be prohibited.

    “This solo round the world race in Ultim 32/23 definitely promises to be an extraordinary challenge!" highlights the Race Director Rottee.

    They said :

    Herve Favre, President of OC Sport Pen Duick: “The publication of the notice of race for the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest is a moment which is strong and symbolic for the organization of the event. It highlights all the work that has been done with the teams and with the Ultim 32/23 class to create the sporting format of the event. This is now the accumulated result of several years of work and allows us to guarantee a great event on the water in the best conditions and to offer a great sporting spectacle."

    Stephane Guilbaut, Managing Director of the Ultim 32/23 class: “We feel that the race is coming up on the horizon now. We also feel that this ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest is something very new and exciting as it is a solo round the world race on an Ultim, which will be in itself quite a major feat. The course is simple and easy to understand. For the rest of the points in the notice of race, we have mainly focused on the safety of sailors. The start date of the event is very special and promises quite tough weather conditions, but Brest is an ideal starting and finishing point for a circumnavigation. The start and finish lines will be made in such a way that the solo sailors will complete the exact course of the round the world record, which is interesting since the reference times are precisely made to be beaten."
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