• Actual Leader Slips Into 3rd


    Posted on 19.11.2019
    After two weeks at sea, the fleet of "Brest Atlantiques" has tightened for several hours because of a favorable weather conditions for boats coming from behind that take advantage of the rise of the Saint Helena high pressure to spin straight ahead. , where the leader, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, has chained six gybes. The latter is expected Wednesday night in Cape Town, the second and final mark of course, where the fourth, Sodebo Ultim 3, will stop about ten hours later.

    The big smiles are out on Actual Leader! If Yves Le Blevec and Alex Pella suffered enormously after Rio when they had to face for three days of Dantesque conditions (strong wind, sea chop face) who have sought their trimaran, less aerial than the others, the second part of the South Atlantic is much more favorable to them, since at each ranking, they reduce their delay on the head of the fleet.

    The reason for this tightening? The first in the ice exclusion zone, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier) found himself wedged under the Saint Helena high pressure, positioned particularly low, which forced him to weave, wind in the back, in fairly weak wind, between this anticyclone and the famous "ZEG". On Tuesday afternoon, the two skippers were at their fifth jibe, probably the penultimate, while behind them, the trimaran MACIF (François Gabart / Gwénolé Gahinet), second at 135 miles, will have made two , Actual Leader and Sodebo Ultim 3 (Thomas Coville / Jean-Luc Nélias), thanks to the gradual rise of the anticyclone to the north, having fired straight ahead, without jibing!

    Yves Le Blevec and Alex Pella, who take advantage of the current conditions (three-quarter rear wind, relatively flat sea) to break their speed records since leaving Brest (31.25 knots between 8am and 16pm), have also benefited the forced slowdown of Sodebo Ultim 3, following the breakage of the starboard rudder, to seize third place. What made Yves Le Blevec say Tuesday morning: "Obviously, it would be lying to say that this place won in the ranking does not represent a satisfaction for the crew of Actual Leader. It is rather the satisfaction of keeping the pace of the race and be close enough to our competitors to take advantage of the slightest opportunity, it is this strategy that we follow from the beginning with Alex. "

    Indeed, the two skippers had to fight at the beginning of the Rio-Cape crossing by sometimes forcing on their boat to stay in the same system as their faster competitors, their tenacity is rewarded. Still, the skipper of La Trinité-sur-Mer speaks of "cautious and measured satisfaction" , adding: "The race is still long, the game is incredibly open and it can happen so many things until the finish that everything triumphalism would be vain and out of place. "

    Its similarly wrong with François Gabart at a session held on Tuesday to employees of the Macif in Niort: "The situation we have been rather favorable compared to Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, we have not said our last word , But a lot remains to be done. This is in any case a super tight scenario, Actual Leader is 200 miles behind us, so to say nothing at all, it is rather a pleasant surprise after 15 days at sea.

    The program for the next 24 hours? Ride fast to Cape Town, where the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is expected on Wednesday night, and Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias will stop to make a more accurate diagnosis of the damage caused by the breakage of Sodebo's starboard rudder Ultim 3, then roll up Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for almost 18 years, which they will have to leave to port before attacking the road back to Brittany ... still far away.

    Photo: Yann Riou / PolaRyse / Gitana SA


    Returning from Salvador de Bahia where he finished a very good sixth place of the Transat Jacques Vabre en Imoca with Clarisse Crémer on Banque Populaire X, first drift boat on the finish line, Armel Le Cléac'h did not missed, including while at sea, to follow "Brest Atlantiques", he waiting for 2021 his future trimaran Ultim, Banque Populaire XI. He delivers his analysis of the first part of the race.

    Have you been able to follow "Brest Atlantiques" since the departure on November 5th?
    Yes, I followed the start of the race at sea, when I was on Jacques Vabre, I tried to look at the rankings, and even if I did not have the pictures, the team also gave me some news . After, just after our arrival in Bahia, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild stopped there for his stopover, so we could see Franck and Charles during this "pit stop". And since, I'm very close to the course of the race, with the general regrouping in Rio, the few very difficult days they had after, the situation was quite exceptional because it is very rare to have up close like that to go down to South Africa. At the weather level, I'm interested in following their trajectories and of course, in the perspective of our future trimaran Banque Populaire, I am very attentive to everyone's performance.

    After Rio, they did indeed have three days in the near and swell face, they all came out without big break, it's reassuring?
    Yes, it's encouraging, because these are the conditions in which the boats are most in demand, when we start putting the foot on the brake and we can not go to 100% of the polar, because it's all everywhere. We had lived this last year on the Route du Rhum, it had caused some important problems, there, clearly, the test is passed and the four boats are still in the race, even if Sodebo will stop, but not for a problem related to this weather. Making the boats reliable in all conditions is one of the important issues of the first step that we want to take with the Ultim 32/23 class, it's very positive that they have gone through this, because it's more difficult to live that strong winds downwind in the South Seas, where you suffered much less the sea. Now,

    The only major damages were consecutive to shocks with unidentified floating objects, there is nothing to do against that?
    Unfortunately, we realize that on all races, boats have this kind of damage, we saw on the Transat Jacques Vabre with Alex Thomson who lost his keel, and indeed on "Brest Atlantiques" for all boats, except Actual Leader. And as our Ultims go faster, the shocks are even more violent when they occur, which inevitably causes a problematic problem for the performance and safety of the boats. Now, do not think that there is nothing to do. One will never avoid the shocks, but one can perhaps find solutions to work on a better resistance of the parts, to have less complicated planes carriers to repair. What is certain is that with the Team Banque Populaire, it is part of the elements that we will reflect, given, in particular,"Brest Atlantiques" .

    How do you analyze the performance of the four boats?
    We feel that the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, as soon as it squeezes the wind a little, has an ease in speed, they have an ability to accelerate that do not necessarily have the others, it is a bit in the continuity of this that we had seen in 2018. Now, François and Gwénolé are not far behind, especially as the weather helps them to come back a little, and I think that the conditions after Cape Town can favor them. The game is still very open until Brest, they have just spent half of the race, I think it will happen a lot of things by the time of arrival. Behind, it is necessarily more complicated for Sodebo with the breakage of their saffron, but they too have shown beautiful things since the start, and Actual Leader plays with his cards, we know that the boat is a little slower, but it is the only one not to have had major damage, which also allows him to remain in contact. We realize that as soon as there is a damage, it is quickly counted in a few hundred miles. When we look at the cartography today, the boats are still very close, it's great! And in view of the weather after Cape Town, it does not look simple, I think it will open perspectives of different strategies. I love to follow the race and it makes you want! I think it will open perspectives of different strategies. I love to follow the race and it makes you want! I think it will open perspectives of different strategies. I love to follow the race and it makes you want!

    Are you thinking about your future trimaran Ultim when you see the pictures sent by the media men?
    Yes, completely. I try to imagine also when I see their trajectories and the weather what kind of sails they have, how they lead the boat, it was just interesting to see the speeds they could hold after Rio in the sea. There are things we notice, because today we are a little orphan, we will have to wait even more than a year to get our boat, so if we can get rich by looking at others , We did it. "Brest Atlantiques" is a great lesson for us, because the conditions are very varied and the boats are different.

    Will you be in Brest to welcome them?
    Yes of course ! I have not yet looked at the arrival estimates, but I will be happy to welcome them, hoping that the four will be on arrival, this is the priority.

    Photo: Easy Ride / BPCE


    Yves Le Blevec commented on Tuesday morning the passage of Actual Leader in the third place of Brest Atlantiques.

    "Actual Leader, third in Brest Atlantiques: my vision of our new position in the rankings ...

    Yesterday, at the end of the day we doubled Thomas and Jean-Luc on Sodebo, we did not see ourselves physically, only through the AIS. We could have called by VHF, but I think neither of them had the heart to start a conversation in this kind of situation. Simple and cruel.

    Obviously, it would be a lie to say that this place gained in the ranking does not represent a satisfaction for the crew of Actual Leader. It is rather the satisfaction of having kept the pace of the race and being close enough to our competitors to take advantage of less opportunity, it is this strategy that we follow from the beginning with Alex.

    Prudent and measured satisfaction, what happened to Sodebo can happen to us as well. Whether it is an external element or a technical breakage, we are not immune to the same kind of mishap ... And our competitors will not wait for us. The race is still long, the game is incredibly open and so much can happen until the finish that any triumphalism would be vain and out of place.

    I sincerely wish Thomas and Jean-Luc to rally Cape Town quickly and to be able to resume the race at the earliest, the potential of their boat and the weather hazards can put them back in the game quickly. On board Actual Leader, Alex and I continue on our steady and steady pace, as of tonight we will stop moving away from the start, we are getting closer to the finish. "



    After the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild at 1:45 and the trimaran MACIF at 8:30, Sodebo Ultim 3 then Actual Leader have in turn crossed the longitude of Gough Island at the limit of the ice exclusion zone at 18:50 and 19:30 respectively. Yves Le Blevec and Alex Pella, "the elbow on the door at 30 knots" , to use the expression of the first in a video sent by his media man Ronan Gladu, seized shortly after the third place at the expense of Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias, while the mid-distance race has been reached by the entire fleet.

    The two skippers of Sodebo Ultim 3 spent much of their day on Monday trying to get rid of the broken starboard rudder in the night in a clash with an OFNI. The latter hung in the back of the float that was damaged by contact with the sea, hence the need for Thomas Coville to enter the float to get him down, which he has obviously managed to do, as the attests the spectacular video sent Monday night by Martin Keruzoré, who probably had to play the equilibrists to manage to film this perilous operation.

    Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias have announced their next stop in Cape Town, where they should arrive Thursday night. Meanwhile, despite this rudder and less, they continue to maintain a good average of 26.5 knots between the rankings from 4am to 8am Tuesday, faster than that of Actual Leader (25.8), which is ahead of 30 miles at 8 o'clock.

    At the head of the fleet, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is at its third jibe south of the St. Helena anticyclone, which begins to go up north, opening the door to Sodebo Ultim 3 and Actual Leader, the fourth and last should quickly follow in the morning for the leader who, if it is more road, has picked up speed (32.3 knots average between 4am and 8am). 800 km from Cape Town, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier are 51 miles ahead of François Gabart and Gwénolé Gahinet, who made their first jibe this morning and will have to stall a second just before the ice exclusion zone. The program then for all, a long speed edge to Cape Town, where the fleet is expected in a dozen hours between Wednesday and Thursday.


    Here is the word of the board sent this Tuesday, November 19th by Ronan Gladu, media man aboard Actual Leader.

    "The news is good on Actual Leader! Finally, finally, we doubled this depression, even if the wind remained strong for 24 hours, the sea has only calmed down. Stress came down and sleep was restorative

    Yves & Alex can be proud of their performance, they have stayed well in the game Now that the weather is in our favor, we go back well! The head of the fleet abuts in the Saint Helena anticyclone, obliged to make a great detour and a lot of maneuvers.For us, it's 'red carpet', flat sea, we continue to go straight ahead with the wind of the depression. to repair the net, we are well aware of being lucky, "of success" as they say.

    We are all the more aware of this because of Sodebo's misfortunes. It can happen to us, anytime, to be smart at more than 30 knots. So, big thoughts for Thomas, Jean-Luc, Martin, as well as the entire Sodebo team: you will fix it quickly in Cape Town and come back stress, I'm sure, the race is still long!

    Since yesterday, we are in the "Roaring Forties" ... How I'm going to fart grave! Not yet enough to "piss against the wind" like a Cape Horrnier ... but maybe what to do a little pee "upwind a bit unbridled" ?!

    Whaha, anyway yesterday, passing near the island of Gouth, it was magic. Even though we only saw a small piece of rock in the distance, through the clouds ... we had the right to a sunset! The sun, we had forgotten that one. As a bonus, all around the boat, hundreds of birds, including some albatrosses: great show!

    Negative point of these 40th ... It quails, severe. The apparent wind bites hard, Alex took out the hood. Inside, carbon is not a very good insulator, let alone with open hatches. Suddenly, I jealous the sleeping bags of the space of Yves and Alex, inner toupee, outdoor gore-tex. It must be said that I am frozen in my m .... "10 °" of "sports supermarket"!
    At the same time, it's my fault: Sandrine, the team manager, had offered me the same, I should have accepted. Apparently, we are lucky to have wind from north, otherwise I would have turned into ice cube. And then with summer, we will quickly find the heat back. So much for today, the morale is at the top, the machine launched full ball at 30 knots by 42 ° south ... "

    Photo: Ronan Gladu / Actual Leader
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2019 Brest Atlantiques Blasts Off started by Photoboy View original post