• Skirting A Hole And Congested Traffic Lanes


    Jan 11th

    Madeira bound

    A little over 24 hours out from Ushant, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild are rolling out the plan drawn up before the start with their router Marcel van Triest to perfection. Following an express exit from the Bay of Biscay of around ten hours or so, ticked off at an average speed of over 30 knots, the first day at sea in this Jules Verne Trophy was dedicated to threading their way along the length of the Iberian peninsula in a bid to gain as much southing as possible. Strong wind and a gybing sequence seven in total since the passage across the line have punctuated the start to the record. This Monday, in the early hours of the second day of this record attempt, the 32-metre giant and his crew were already positioned to the south of Portugal, abeam of Cape St Vincent, the most south-westerly tip of Europe. At the 06:00 UTC position report, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their four crew have a lead of nearly a hundred miles in relation to the record.



    all images © Yann Riou

    On Saturday, during a final weather briefing on shore prior to casting off, Franck Cammas pointed out that the first 24 hours of sailing would likely be bracing, especially as they passed Cape Finisterre, at the north-west tip of Spain. Charles Caudrelier described this passage yesterday and Yann Riou also confirmed last night that the area lived up to its reputation: “We’ve linked together a few gybes since departing Ushant. We had a fairly lively passage of Cape Finisterre, where we got pretty shaken about in a messy sea and a sustained breeze. It’s wasn’t ideal for getting the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild to make rapid headway and she was regularly burying her bows in the waves. In fact, I had my own debut flight inside the boat, fortunately without hurting myself. However, for some hours now, we’ve been slipping along much better because the wind has eased a lot and the sea has become flatter. The speeds are increasing as a result.”




    Overnight on Saturday through into Sunday, offshore of the north-west tip of Brittany, whilst they were preparing to cross the start line of the Jules Verne Trophy, the six sailors experienced a few invigorating hours, as was the case in the Bay of Biscay, powered up at an average speed of over 30 knots. Fortunately, with their rapid start to the record and over 640 miles already covered towards the goal in the first 24 hours, there has been an equally rapid improvement in the living conditions aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild: “It was very cold at the start and everyone had their own technique for protecting themselves as best they could. On a personal level, I piled on the layers of fleeces and socks… effectively doubling up on anything that could be, ready to take on the Deep South! The further south we get the warmer the atmosphere will become. You couldn’t say that it’s very warm yet, because all of us still have our hats pulled down over our heads, but the ambiance is gently changing. One by one, we’re removing layers and will likely take off our hats in the coming hours”, admitted Yann Riou this morning.

    Since her last gybe, in the early hours of this morning at around 01:30 UTC, to the south of Lisbon, offshore of Comporta to be exact, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has begun her long descent to the south-west on starboard tack towards the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, at an average speed of 34 knots, nicely lined up on her lifting surfaces




    Jan 10th

    Abeam of Cape Finisterre!
    After setting sail from Ushant at 01:33 UTC this morning, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has already devoured the Bay of Biscay and is rounding the north-west tip of Spain and with it the renowned and dreaded Cape Finisterre this Sunday afternoon. As forecast, the NE’ly breeze has fleshed out throughout the day and is currently dishing up in excess of 30 knots with the sea building. The six sailors of Gitana Team have had to put in a fair few manoeuvres to adapt both the sail area and their trajectory. However, these bracing conditions have not prevented Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their crew from finding their bearings and getting right into the swing of things on this long-distance race opening up ahead of their 32-metre giant.





    “We have to be making an average speed of over 30 knots on the descent… things go quickly on these boats. However, our first night proved to be fairly calm after a superb departure from the dock in Lorient yesterday in glorious sunshine with our nearest and dearest. It was windy, but the sea is relatively well organised, which is enabling us to take up our watches and get into our rhythm” , admitted Charles Caudrelier, speaking into the microphone pointed at him by Yann Riou, the boat’s media man

    The course southwards passes around Cape Finisterre, a sector of navigation renowned and dreaded by sailors, as the co-skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild explains: “It’s an area of convergence for all the shipping headed up to northern Europe. There’s a concentration of merchant vessels here as they’re supposed to make the rounding using a narrow shipping lane, which we refer to as a TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme). It’s very busy and when you’re making headway at our kind of speeds, you have to be extremely vigilant so that you don’t get caught out as you cross tacks with another boat. On top of that, there is also a weather phenomenon, which particularly stands out in a NE’ly wind like we’ve got right now. It’s an area that’s well known for its accelerating wind as there’s a very high chain of mountains, which causes the wind to pick up along its length and behind it you can end up in a wind hole that must be avoided at all costs. It’s always a bit of a complicated passage here, where you hit strong wind with messy seas and shipping. With the accompanying manoeuvres there’s a lot going on.”

    Continuing on her way at high speed, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is quickly gaining ground to the south. Charles Caudrelier believed that there would be another 24 boisterous hours, but the forecast is already promising a rapid improvement. This will serve as added motivation for the six sailors, who are all too aware that in the coming hours, temperatures will soar aboard the flying maxi-trimaran, treating the crew to some much milder sailing conditions as they make towards the trade wind of the northern hemisphere.








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