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    Gitana Crew Packs Their Round The World Bags




    Patience and concentration
    For several days, the succession of grib files which Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier have been studying with the router and 7th man, Marcel van Triest, have been in agreement that it will soon be time for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild to cast off and set sail. This Thursday, all the lights are taking on a strong yellow hue as they prepare to switch to green. All the members of the five-arrow racing stable have been on the alert for the past few days so as not to let slide this fine opportunity taking shape ahead of the offshore charger’s bows. This Saturday 9 January 2021, the six sailors on this trimaran designed for oceanic flight could well make for the start zone off the island of Ushant with a view to setting sail on this outright round the world record attempt.





    Erwan Israël

    “We’re attacking the start of the 3rd month of standby… It’s a long time, but there have been times where we’ve been certain that nothing interesting would happen in terms of the weather. During that time, we can turn our thoughts to other things and practice some sport. And then there are situations, like those of recent days, where we’re eyeing up a departure and hesitating… That involves a bit of travelling around and a series of PCR tests… And then in the end we don’t leave. These more uncertain periods are a bit less fun. We’re on the alert and it’s more complicated for the nerves, especially with regards family. We say goodbye to the children, but we don’t know if it’s going to be for 3 days… or 40 days. The ideal standby occurs when it doesn’t take too long and an extraordinary window presents itself after a week or a fortnight. Unfortunately, that’s not the way things have played out.

    Right now, there’s a departure situation settling into place with a lot of downwind conditions and N’ly winds generated by a zone of high pressure. That’s giving us a slightly broader target window. However, there’s also a zone of low pressure, which is blocking the way a little at the start. It’s fairly violent, so we’d like it to roll across to the east so we have a clearer passage through to the trade wind. We’d like to set off as late as possible, but waiting around also carries the risk of us ending up in a position where we don’t have any breeze at all on the start line.”




    Morgan Lagravière

    “It’s my first standby. I’ve never experienced this type of preparation and this waiting period before. It’s a special time, but I’m lucky to be in contact with people who have already had to negotiate this type of experience. It’s part and parcel of such a challenge. For the past two months, we’ve had several situations where we were ready to leave and we even set sail once before quickly turning back. These attempts within an attempt are good training and help us ready ourselves in terms of gear and also on a more psychological level, to ensure we’re in race mode the minute we cast off and bid farewell. These are demanding boats after all and an error is never far away. You really have to concentrate from the get-go. That said, it’s fair to say that as time goes on, the more eager you are to set sail… At that point it’ll be time to go for it, which is fortunate as now’s the right time!

    Since Tuesday evening, a variety of possible options have opened up, with a fairly long window in the North Atlantic, which enables us to wait and see how things evolve in the South Atlantic. We’re going to gradually increase the pressure and finish off the final preparations. The boat is ready to go. She’s loaded with provisions and all that remains is to add a little fresh produce and head towards the start line!”



    Crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild:

    Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
    David Boileau, trimmer bowman
    Erwan Israël, helm trimmer
    Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
    Yann Riou, trimmer media man

    Marcel van Triest, weather router
    Yann Eliès, replacement crew

    Record to beat:

    40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes > Record held by Francis Joyon and his crew (Idec Sport) since 26 January 2017
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    Conditions Favor A Green Light



    A window named desire!


    Lorient, Friday, January 8, 2021 - To take on the Jules Verne Trophy, you obviously need an excellent boat, an equally exceptional crew to drive her at her true potential, as well as a certain composure and nerves of steel to endure the wait for the right weather window. Since Monday, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild has been on the alert, ready to climb aboard and cast off on a 40-day sea passage the moment the Gitana Team’s router, Marcel van Triest, gives the green light. In this way, the lives of the six sailors and all the team have been coloured by the rhythm of the weather analysis and their twice-daily updates. Now, after a five-day wait, the planets seem to be in alignment and everything is coming together for the crew to leave the dock in Lorient tomorrow afternoon. At that point, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, David Boileau, Morgan Lagravière, Erwan Israël and Yann Riou will make for the north-west tip of Brittany with a view to crossing the line offshore of Ushant some time on Saturday 9 through into Sunday 10 January.




    A sliding code yellow


    On Tuesday 4 January, the five-arrow team switched to code yellow, a chromatic change synonymous with a possible departure within the next 24 to 48 hours. Since then though, the departure window has been constantly sliding and ultimately it is on Saturday night through into Sunday that the situation looks set to become clearer. “Code yellow is extending but for just reason!” assures Cyril Dardashti, director of the racing stable founded by Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild: “After a period of standby spanning over two months and an initial fruitless attempt, we’re all looking forward to seeing the crew set sail. However, the record we’re hunting down is so demanding that this departure window is crucial. Together with Marcel van Triest we’ve been watching things play out in the right direction since Monday. We’re lucky in that the window in the North Atlantic is a long one, which has enabled us to play for time and let things in the south evolve so we can better position ourselves in relation to the weather sequence we want to hook up with offshore of Brazil. Today things are taking shape and it’s absolutely thrilling to be ready to tackle the Jules Verne Trophy again according to the timing criteria we’d set ourselves.”





    Exiting the Bay of Biscay with a NE’ly


    Tomorrow morning, if everything goes according to plan, the Gitana Team will switch to code green. From that moment, everything will link together very quickly for the six sailors, who are preparing to secure the outright round the world record under sail, from loading the bags of personal effects to bidding farewell to their families, to the final weather briefing with Marcel van Triest. It will then be time to cast off, bound for Ushant and Le Créac’h lighthouse. As was the case in late November, during their first attempt, the night-time rendez-vous with this point will be their final contact with the French coast as the 32-metre giant turns her bows southwards: “According to our latest forecasts, we’ll likely set sail with a 15-20-knot NE’ly wind in the area in question on very manageable seas. The wind is set to fill out to 25-30 knots as we approach Cape Finisterre and the descent along the length of the Iberian peninsula will be bracing. However, the advantage of a NE’ly breeze is that we’ll have good seas. There’s a low-pressure system at Cape St Vincent which we’ll be hunting down before gybing towards the Azores High. Below the zone of high pressure, we’ll have to put in another gybe before setting a course for the equator”, explained Charles Caudrelier.

    Though this weather configuration finally seems to be playing out as the crew wants after weeks of waiting, the descent towards the southern hemisphere will be far from restful as the timing is tight: “With this weather window we’re aiming for a sub-5-day time to the equator and a sub-12-day time to Cape Agulhas. If we were solely aiming to break the record to the equator, our departure timing is not the best, but it’s a compromise to ensure we have the best possible window in the Atlantic as a whole. For now, the latter seems quite favourable with a route that isn’t too extreme in the south, but we’ll have to adjust our trajectory again during our descent as that’s still a long way off and there’s time for things to evolve before then”, concluded the co-skipper of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.
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    The Quest Begins In Mere Hours



    Take-off imminent for the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in the Jules Verne Trophy
    all images © © Y.Zedda / Gitana S.A


    Lorient, Saturday, January 9, 2021 - The pontoons of Lorient La Base were positively buzzing this afternoon. After a final scan of the weather charts and models, the Gitana Team took the decision this morning to switch to code green and set sail once more on the quest for the Jules Verne Trophy. Despite the wintry weather, there was a generous Breton sunshine this Saturday 9 January and the emotion was palpable, as reflected in the eyes of the six sailors just hours before they launch off on this attempt to secure the legendary round the world record under sail. The crowds were out in force to give them the send-off they deserve. After two months on standby, punctuated by a first attempt which was cut short after the boat collided with a UFO and several potential weather windows that ultimately didn’t play out as the team would have liked, it’s all system go now for the two skippers, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, and their four crew. Indeed, everyone is raring to go and fully committed to an express circumnavigation of the globe aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the first giant designed for open ocean flight. The challenge is an extraordinary one, because the bar has been set very high thanks to a reference time to beat of 40 days 23 hours and 30 minutes, which has been held since January 2017 by Francis Joyon and his crew on Idec Sport. It is between 23:00 UTC tonight and 03:00 UTC tomorrow that the men of Gitana Team are set to cross the start line, offshore of Ushant, and set in motion the stopwatch for their sprint around the world.




    The art of a departure


    After a final weather briefing on shore and via a remote link to Marcel van Triest, router and 7th man, the six sailors from the five-arrow racing stable headed down to the 32-metre trimaran shortly after 14:00 UTC, eager to set sail on the quest for the title of the fastest sailboat around the world. Choosing the day and time of departure in relation to weather forecasts deciphered and analysed with surgical precision is a rather special art, peculiar to the Jules Verne Trophy. With regards this little game, which involves selecting the best launch window, the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild have been impatient to get going, but have learned to put up with the delay. However, the moment has now come and with a clear weather sequence across the whole of the Atlantic, they’re finally in the starting blocks and ready to set sail on this furious race against the clock. “We set off right at the start of standby, but we knew that the situation wasn’t ideal. Since our return, we’ve seen and observed six windows, which ultimately closed. As such, we’re especially happy to be going for it now with a weather configuration which, though still a little uncertain in terms of the low-pressure systems in the southern hemisphere, is providing us with a great opportunity”, explains Franck Cammas.



    Less than 12 days to the Southern Ocean


    “We set ourselves the goal of making the equator in a sub-5-day time and 11 and a half days to Cape Agulhas, at the gateway to the Indian Ocean. That’s just what we have here, according to the routing at least. The situation isn’t yet completely locked in for the South Atlantic but it’s a good window, perhaps the best we’ve had since the start of our standby”, admits Charles Caudrelier, his far-off gaze already lost to the horizon. “To stand a chance of improving on the time set by Francis Joyon, who benefited from a dream weather sequence to traverse the Indian Ocean and half the Pacific on the leading edge of a low-pressure system with a constant speed of 35-38 knots, we believe we need to have a lead of around two days before we begin navigating our way around the Southern Ocean. For us, exploiting the versatility and speed potential of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild thanks to her foils and appendages could make the difference in the transition phases during the descent and ascent of the Atlantic”, he adds.

    “Circumnavigating the globe by adopting the fastest route possible over a free course, with zero constraints on a technical or human level, is quite a feat. In fact, though it may seem simple, it’s actually extremely complex, particularly in terms of strategy”, stresses Franck Cammas, who has already previously bagged this fabulous record and knows that it is increasingly hard to beat. His time came in 2010 when he had nine other crew members alongside him and looped the big loop in under 50 days (48d 7h and 44 mn). Eleven years later, his competitive spirit more honed than ever, he is returning to this planetary journey which, with its concept of exemplary simplicity and purity, ranks among the highest summits in sailing. “The Jules Verne Trophy has changed a great deal as a challenge over the years. Today, it’s all about sailing eight days faster than ten years ago. With the Gitana Team, our timing is right for competing against the clock by taking on the challenge of flying offshore as much as possible so why not secure a historic and legendary sub-40-day time in the process, because it’s a barrier that has to fall one day,” adds this all-rounder, who was recently voted Sailor of the Decade 2010/2020 by the French Sailing Federation (FFV). “It’s a challenge we at Gitana Team have done a lot of preparation for and it’s very exciting. However, it remains very difficult to achieve, so it’s thrilling to be able to have a crack at it.”




    On the line in the early hours


    It was at 15:00 UTC that Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, Morgan Lagravière, Erwan Israël, Yann Riou and David Boileau, escorted by the members of the team and cheered on by their families and friends, slipped the lines holding the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild to the shore. Aboard the latest of the Gitanas, the six sailors that are a part of this planetary venture, hoisted the sails of the oceanic charger and set a course for the north-west tip of Brittany, which they should be quick to reach. They are due to cross the line offshore of Le Créac’h lighthouse on Ushant between 23:00 UTC this Saturday and 03:00 UTC on Sunday.



    The members of the crew share their pre-departure impressions:


    Erwan Israël: “I’m very content. We’ve been waiting a long time to set sail again after our little escapade in November. We had to repair the boat and then the weather for the Jules Verne Trophy is always the same with potential windows which open and close back up. It’s really satisfying to leave, especially given the fact that we have fabulous conditions for heading out to sea. We’re very happy.”

    Morgan Lagravière: “We’ve been patiently awaiting this departure. These moments are never easy, but I’m very happy to have this weather opportunity opening ahead of us and giving us a chance to live out our dream and our adventure. In a few hours’ time we’ll leave Ushant, set sail across the ocean and we’re unlikely to see any land again for quite some time. It’s no trivial matter and I’m expecting it to be a remarkable journey. I’m keen to make the most of it and to do what we’ve been training for over a number of months with this record in mind and with the goal of improving on Idec Sport’s time. We’re sure to experience a whole range of emotional states during the race, with some positive moments and other times that will be more difficult. After the emotion of the start, I’m eagerly awaiting the first hours of sailing and the first watches as we make the switch to race mode and competitor mode. It’s a process which enables you to make the most of every moment whilst pushing the envelope.”

    David Boileau: “Right now I feel a sense of release. We had quite a quick initial departure, then a return to the dock followed by around a fortnight of repairs to the boat and in the end a long wait with the constant uncertainty of whether or not we would be setting sail during the festive period. Today, we’re happy to be able to take this window. The standby and the waiting are part and parcel of record attempts, it’s the name of the game with these things!”
    .

    Crew of Gitana:

    Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, skippers
    David Boileau, trimmer bowman
    Erwan Israël, helm trimmer
    Morgan Lagravière, helm trimmer
    Yann Riou, trimmer media man

    Marcel van Triest, weather router
    Yann Eliès, replacement crew

    Record to beat:

    40 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes > Record held by Francis Joyon and his crew (Idec Sport) since 26 January 2017.
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    Gitana 17 Jules Verne Trophy Attempt 2021



    TRACKER

    The Quest Has Begun!


    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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    A Nocturnal Departure




    Jules Verne Trophy, 2nd round
    With the precision of a metronome it was at 2 hours 33 minutes and 46 seconds that the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild set off on Sunday January 10 on a new Jules Verne Trophy record attempt. With a northeasterly wind of around twenty knots and in a manageable sea, the six sailors left the island of Ouessant by its way and saluted the Créac'h one last time, emblematic lighthouse of this crossing of the line. Having left their base in Lorient a few hours earlier, just before sunset, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, Morgan Lagravière, David Boileau, Yann Riou and Erwan Israel had to wait a few hours offshore to adjust their starting window as best as possible; precise timing, skilfully calculated with their onshore weather router Marcel van Triest, a real 7th man on board. Because in a record like the Jules Verne Trophy, every minute counts! It must be said that with their time of 40 days 23 hours and 30 minutes, Francis Joyon and the Idec Sport crew have set the bar very high. To break the record and become the 10th crew to inscribe its name on this monument of ocean racing, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild will have to be back off the Brittany point before February 20 at 2 hours 3 minutes and 15 seconds. By then, nearly 22,000 nautical miles are ahead of the bows and a high-speed planetary adventure awaits them. To break the record and become the 10th crew to inscribe its name on this monument of ocean racing, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild will have to be back off the Brittany point before February 20 at 2 hours 3 minutes and 15 seconds. By then, nearly 22,000 nautical miles are ahead of the bows and a high-speed planetary adventure awaits them. To break the record and become the 10th crew to inscribe its name on this monument of ocean racing, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild will have to be back off the Brittany point before February 20 at 2 hours 3 minutes and 15 seconds. By then, nearly 22,000 nautical miles are ahead of the bows and a high-speed planetary adventure awaits them.





    Second attempt and second nocturnal departure


    It would seem that moonlit departures are all the rage for the sailors on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. On 25 November 2020, for Gitana Team’s first attempt at securing the Jules Verne Trophy, te start line was crossed in the intimacy of a pitch-black night, at 02:26 UTC on the dot. A month and a half on, history is repeating itself. Under the cover of darkness, at 01 hours 33 minutes and 46 seconds UTC, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their four crew once again set the stopwatch in motion for this planetary adventure aboard the first maxi-trimaran designed to fly in the open ocean.
    It’s worth noting that in late November, the six men had to interrupt their passage down the North Atlantic following damage to the giant’s port rudder and foil after colliding with a UFO (unidentified floating object). Back in Lorient by early December, they were able to count on the reactivity of the shore crew to make a rapid repair and return to standby before the festive season. Since then, everyone has been awaiting the right weather window and in recent days the eagerness to get back out on the racetrack as quickly as possible has been evident. .



    A rapid course and some compromises


    “We’ll have a NE’ly breeze of 15-20 knots on the line, with a very manageable sea. However, things will fill out rapidly and the first 24 hours should involve quite a lot of wind and manœuvres, especially around Cape Finisterre, before we can hook up with the trade wind”, explained Franck Cammas briefly. Along the length of the Iberian peninsula, everything will already be about compromise and the crew will have to thread its way along a narrow corridor of breeze to gain southing, whilst ensuring they are neither too close to the coast where the wind could run out of puff, nor too far offshore where they may be subject to heavy seas that do little to benefit speed.
    The real difficulty of this start of the Jules Verne Trophy attempt is to try to pinpoint and then get a handle on the highly decisive weather sequence between the north and south so as to get down to the Southern Ocean as quickly as possible. To do this, the Cammas-Caudrelier pairing and their four crew know that they must be precise in their trajectory if they are to keep pace with the tempo set by the weather pattern. According to the latest routing, the passage times for the first third of the course are promising. The equator is accessible within a sub-5-day time and Cape Agulhas could be in their wake in under 12 days




    A whole team in their wake


    Whilst the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was preparing to cast off to the applause of a public who had come out in force despite the wintry atmosphere reigning on Saturday afternoon, Cyril Dardashti, the director of Gitana Team, made no secret of his delight: “We’re launching off on our second departure this winter and we’re very happy that this window is opening up to enable the crew to get out on the water and show what they’re made of. It’s been a month since the boat was repaired and we’ve been preparing to snap up a favourable opportunity. Taking on the Jules Verne Trophy is one of the main objectives in our programme. Together with Team Verdier, we devised and designed this boat for this type of major record with the goal of experiencing offshore flight. It’s a real pleasure to truly fulfil the brief. The times planned by Marcel van Triest and the routing are good to both the equator and Cape Agulhas, the crew and the boat are ready to go, so it’s safe to say that we couldn’t ask for more! The guys are keen to get going and our owners, the shore crew and all the associates of the Edmond de Rothschild Group are behind them. For the boat to set sail and pit itself against this fabulous record is just what we were all waiting for!”




    Sailors’ impressions


    Franck Cammas: “We’re delighted to have this fine window opening ahead of us. It’s our second attempt and we’re approaching it with a great deal more hope than the first. Added to that, the conditions are in our favour for this nocturnal, moonless yet star-studded departure. It’s sure to be chilly, but we’ll very soon hook up with warmer latitudes. Everything’s going to play out very quickly. I hope that we’re going to be successful, even though it’s a lengthy adventure taking shape ahead of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild’s bows. After the start, we have 24 hours with quite a lot of breeze and some manœuvres, especially around Cape Finisterre, before we hook onto the trade wind. It’s really nice to find ourselves in the thick of the action as a crew. Fingers crossed that we’ll make it back to Brest as soon as possible after fully completing our big lap of the planet.”

    Charles Caudrelier: “It was a bit of a long wait. At Christmas, when the window closed back up, we were a bit worried. We could have set sail two or three days ago as the North Atlantic was very good, however the South Atlantic remained very average. We’ve tried to combine the two, which isn’t easy as there is still a degree of uncertainty. Again it’s not perfect, but we’re into January and we’ve rarely had such a good window. Our first attempt had the benefit of enabling us to get out sailing together in some boisterous conditions. Today, we’re more than ready and the team has done a fantastic job with great attention to detail. Beyond the performance element, we’ve made gains in reliability and that is essential for beating this record, which will be very hard to achieve. For the past week, our impatience to get going has become ever greater. We’ve been observing, analysing and shifting the departure slot every day. This will be my third crewed round the world following on from two Volvo Ocean Races, but the first one in record mode. It’s a whole new adventure and I’m delighted to get the opportunity to experience it and I realise just how lucky we are to be able to live out our dreams.”

    Yann Riou: “On a personal level, I find this is more pleasant than the first departure; the weather’s good, it’s daytime, there’s a big crowd and our nearest and dearest are here so it’s really lovely to be leaving today. That said, it’s still a bit tough to bid farewell to your family when you set off on a round the world. However, I’m very happy to be stepping aboard this magnificent boat once again. I have a dual role in this Jules Verne Trophy as I’m both a sailor and a media man. Start days, like those related to the intermediate passage times for example, are very busy days. After sending off the departure images to enable you to get a real insight into the passage across the line in the middle of the night, I’ll be able to gradually get into my role as crewman and take up my watches! I cannot wait…
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    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.








    TRACKER
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  8. #8
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Shifting Into Overdrive




    At the gates of the trade winds

    Departing from Ouessant on the night of Saturday 9 to Sunday 10 January, at 2:33 '46' ', Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their four teammates continue their rapid descent from the North Atlantic towards the equator. With nearly 2,000 miles covered in two and a half days, at an average speed of 31.4 knots, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild are perfectly on the pace and even offered themselves, at the 6 p.m. check-in, a lead of 139 miles on Francis Joyon's record. This third day at sea was marked by a weather transition along the ridge of the Azores anticyclone and the six sailors had to deal with very variable winds and far too light for their liking to gain south. But rest assured, from next night the change of scenery will be radical.

    A transition zone along the ridge

    In the week preceding the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild's departure for the Jules Verne Trophy, the choice of the window and the precise timing to set off from Ouessant fueled many discussions within the team's weather unit. The one that was favored represented the best compromise to obtain a correct descent of the North Atlantic but above all a good connection in the South Atlantic to catch the depressions which spin towards the southern seas. The weather situation experienced by the crew of the flying maxi-trimaran for 24 hours, namely weakening winds which require a lot of maneuvering to constantly adapt the heading and the speed to the variations in force and direction of the flow, is directly linked at this time slot at the end of the departure window.

    “We tried to leave Ouessant as late as possible in the window for two reasons. The first, to avoid the strongest of the depression at the level of the Iberian peninsula and the second, to take advantage of a good sequence in the South Atlantic to be at the rendezvous with a depression leaving Latin America and taking the direction of the South Seas. It is the point of passage which essentially motivated our timing of departure. " However, but the story was clear from the start, this configuration could present some drawbacks, the main one being the movement of the ridge of high pressure over Gitana 17.




    “The conditions have been very unstable since our passage through Madeira and the day passed in a rather weakening wind - between 12 and 20 knots - with big changes of direction and passages of squalls. We can feel the ridge spreading out in our wake and in our West, " confided Charles Caudrelier, before recalling: " Our choice is not the most optimal for the time at the equator because we started at the end of the window. . But the equator is not our priority, it is the Jules Verne Trophy our objective. "

    By doing a series of gybes and sparing no effort, the six sailors on board nevertheless managed to fully exploit the potential of their machine and maintain good speed. A reason for satisfaction as the day sets on this record third day, especially as the gateway to the trade winds of the Northern Hemisphere is not very far. A much more powerful northeasterly flow will soon blow through the sails of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. As of next night, the pace will seriously accelerate aboard the latest Gitana for Cape Verde. Santo Antão, the northernmost island of the archipelago, should be doubled tomorrow, Wednesday January 13, at midday.



    TRACKER


    *******************************

    Slowdown around the Canaries

    After 48 hours at sea and nearly 1,700 miles sailed since the start, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is setting its bows off the Canary Islands this morning. At nearly 32 knots on average from Ouessant, the six sailors on board strive to exploit all facets of their weather window and spare no effort to lead the 32-meter giant to the equator as quickly as possible, as in witness the gybes yesterday during the roundabout of Madeira. Although the wind weakens as it approaches the Spanish archipelago, the anemometer has fallen below 20 knots since last night, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their four teammates still have a slight lead on the record, 117 miles on the clock. from 8h.




    Escape to the South

    As imagined on the models, the high pressure ridge continues its course eastward and gradually extends in the wake of the latest Gitana. In permanent contact with their onshore router, Marcel van Triest, the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschildhave been exploiting the slightest variation in the wind since yesterday at the end of the day in order to reach the south as quickly as possible while trying to maintain a fairly westerly trajectory for the rest of their descent towards the southern hemisphere. Indeed, the temptation would be great to privilege only gliding and pure speed but on this part of the course, the positioning is of capital importance since it already conditions the crossing point of the Doldrums and above all, to in the short term, the angle at which the Gitana Team crew will be able to attack the northeast trade winds.

    For this record-breaking third day, the program will focus on negotiating the windfall of the Canaries, which just like Madeira yesterday is a subject as it extends southwards, and the management of the trajectory for the next "check- point ”, that of the Cape Verde Islands off Mauritania.




    Message of the night from Yann Riou

    “Yesterday, we passed quite close to Porto Santo but at the time of bypassing Madeira the visibility was less good because the island was totally lost in the clouds with a lot of stormy development. I still managed to do my first drone flight which I will try to process and send to you in the morning. The wind has eased over the past few hours as we approach the Canaries. It's a paradoxical feeling because after a quick and fairly invigorating start to the record, this temporary calm is not unpleasant, especially for the rest quarters. But overall we prefer when things go faster and the boat whistles, that's what we're here for! "

    Position of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild on January 12 at 7.45am: - Advance on the record: 117.6 mn - Speed: 22.7 knots - Course: 190


    The numbers to remember:
    Line crossing: January 10, 2021 at 2h 33 '46' '
    Deadline for arrival to break the record: February 20 at 2h 3' and 15 ''


    **************************

    In the Atlantic rhythm

    At the 19h check-in on Monday, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild had covered 1,313 miles over the ground since leaving Ushant on Sunday at 2:33 am. This distance, achieved at an average speed of 32.7 knots, shows that the crew of the 32-meter giant has perfectly entered the high pace imposed by a record such as the Jules Verne Trophy. After a tonic phase passing Cape Finisterre, where the sailors had to deal with a good flow of over 30 knots and a chaotic sea, the conditions calmed down on Monday afternoon as they overflowed the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira . Charles Caudrelier, Franck Cammas and their four teammates are 65 miles ahead of the record.


    The Finisterre shaker

    The conditions that prevailed along the Iberian Peninsula were one of the important factors in the choice of the starting slot for this second record attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy, as Marcel van Triest underlined: “With Franck and Charles, we chose to go back from a North Atlantic window for two main reasons. The first was to avoid the strongest of the cartridge along the Spanish and Portuguese coasts. Already yesterday it was rather energetic and engaged for the crew, so if we imagine it with 10 knots more it was not very reasonable to start a round the world. " But more than the wind, it was the disorganized sea and the generated waves that handicapped the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild the most in her progress. In one of them, surely tougher than the others, one of the cap's front windshields cracked slightly. Nothing serious, but this misadventure quickly repaired by the boat captain and crew member David Boileau lets imagine the violence of the elements as they passed the northwestern tip of Spain. Despite this, the crew gave themselves a nice first boat speed yesterday afternoon of 49.2 knots, the boat's record, to start their planetary loop as it should!




    At the edge of the ridge
    Saturday in Ushant, Sunday in Spain, Monday in Madeira… each day his destination on the Jules Verne Trophy route. But for the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, this is not the time for tourism. The six sailors have a timing to respect and a meeting not to be missed in the South Atlantic! On board the latest Gitana, the shifts take turns every two hours to make the most of the potential of their formidable flying maxi-trimaran. Since the start, the weather has required many gybes. And it's not over ! Indeed, in view of the latest routings transmitted by Marcel Van Triest, others are to be expected in the coming hours. Remember that a jibe requires the entire crew on deck to optimize the time spent and the slowdown allowed.






    Currently the wind of the Portuguese archipelago is very important. On the wind files, we can see the scars more than 230 miles to the south and the zone of weak winds almost reaches the neighboring Canary Islands. Suffice to say that in this configuration, the passage to the wind of Madeira was not an option but an obligation. However, the path taken by the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is not the simplest because of the high pressure ridge moving eastwards and which from tomorrow will have blocked the route to the South and the trade winds in the hemisphere. North.
    “It's a fairly classic diagram starting from the back of a window. The depression which was located on the Iberian Peninsula is evacuated by moving towards the east and the ridge follows it. Therefore it is heading towards us. In terms of positioning, but also by anticipating for the rest of the descent towards the equator, you try to be as westerly as possible to get the seesaw when the wind will turn right (from North to North-East) ” , detailed the Gitana Team weather router.



    Illustration of Von Karman's Vortices

    As always at sea, it is a compromise to be found. The desire would be to win in the South so as not to come and burn your wings too close to the ridge of high pressure, but you still have to win in the West so as not to fall into the winds of the Canaries or through the Cape Verde Islands.
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    Hauling the mail!

    Avoid the UFO's!

  10. #10
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Reeling In The Miles

    Trade wind flight at last




    The efforts deployed by the men of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild since leaving Ushant on Sunday are bearing fruit on this fourth day of the record. To exploit the chosen weather window as best they can, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their four crew have had to link together a series of gybes, extending the course which will lead them down towards the equator. Since this morning though, they’ve been making headway in the trade wind and have got nicely into the groove on port tack so as to exploit the true potential of the five-arrow flying maxi-trimaran. At 17:00 UTC, the latest of the Gitanas had again clawed back some miles in relation to her virtual adversary and boasted a lead of 115 miles.




    In the doldrums from tomorrow morning

    Every passage through the doldrums is unique and like no other. Just hours before they take on the first of this Jules Verne Trophy, since the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild will likely feel the first signs of it at 6° North, Franck Cammas shared his impressions with us: “We’ve had a bit of a long transition between Madeira and the trade wind, but since last night we’ve finally made it into the trade wind system and we’re going to have a good 24 hours of calmer sailing. Late tonight, we’ll enter the doldrums, a quite complex zone where we’ll have to do some manoeuvring. We’ll need to be patient I think, as you can end up in some wind holes. Unfortunately, I reckon we’ll attack that section late tonight or even in the early hours of the following day. It’s always a bit better and easier to negotiate it during the day as you can see the clouds coming and you can anticipate their arrival a little.”

    For now, the six men of Gitana Team are benefiting from a well-established NE’ly breeze in excess of 20 knots to pick up the pace. These conditions are particularly favourable for the 32-metre giant, which has managed to shake off the effects of the wind shadows created by the volcanic islands of Cape Verde and has since lengthened her stride. The average speed of 36.5 knots recorded in the last four hours bears witness to this.

    After those 4 days, Franck Cammas, one of the skippers aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild and David Boileau, boat captain and crew, reveal all about the change of mode. Indeed, in a matter of hours, the men tear themselves away from land and pull on their sailor’s garb. What is their experience and how do they deal with this switch from landlubber to sailor?

    Franck Cammas : “Obviously the nights no longer resemble those on land”
    “The transitions are always brutal, between the departure where you have your whole entourage around you on the dock and the moment where you find yourself at sea, in a crew, alone or forming a pair; it’s always pretty brutal. And then obviously the environment and the comfort we have on land and what we have aboard is diametrically opposite, so you have to get used to that. We’re quite aware of this aspect and know that the first few days are never the easiest. We await the coming days… Right now, three days out, we’re in the process of really getting into the ambiance and we feel increasingly at ease. On the one hand, there’s the rhythm of the watches, 24/7. Obviously, we no longer have the complete nights you can have on land. You have to get used to waking up quickly or in some urgency when you have to put in a manœuvre. You have to get used to sleeping during the day too, that’s an important element, and then there’s the environment, the noise, the motion, the ability to prepare something to eat… It’s a lot more complicated on the boat, especially during the first few hours where generally we don’t make proper meals… You have to get your head round all these things, for daily life and for your health, and get yourself sorted so you can endure 40 days. One thing for sure is that we won’t have the same rhythm as we do on land!”




    David Boileau : “Hygiene is one of the major differences in terms of life on land”
    “The fact that we spent the first night at sea before crossing the line off Ushant at 01:30 UTC gives us the impression that we set sail the day before. Ultimately, after just two days, you feel like you’ve already spent a lot of time at sea… Your ability to adapt aboard is of varying degrees of complexity depending on the conditions you encounter at sea. In this instance, we’ve had milder conditions at the start than on our first attempt and, on a personal level, I’ve immediately got into a good rhythm. I’ve got my sleep pattern sorted straightaway. I haven’t had a problem getting off to sleep or recuperating. I’ve immediately felt good and relaxed on the boat from the get-go.

    I haven’t yet performed my ablutions since we set sail (laughs). Hygiene is one of the major differences in terms of life on land. We do what we can to stay clean, but you have to contend with the weather conditions and they dictate what you can do. At least I’m cleaning my teeth every day, which is something!”



    TRACKER


    Jules Verne Trophy Info

    Position of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild on 13 January at 16:45 UTC:

    Lead in relation to the record: 115.3 nm
    Speed: 35.4 knots
    Course: 184°

    Numbers to note:

    Passage across the line: 10 January 2021 at 01h 33' 46'' UTC
    Deadline for beating the record: 20 February at 01h 3' and 15''

    **************************


    A Cape Verdean sunrise
    As envisaged by the weather forecasts, the NE’ly wind picked up last night to between 25 and 30 knots between the Canaries and Cape Verde. After a series of lively exchanges with their router Marcel van
    Triest, Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier had left the door open to a more direct passage between the islands, albeit on the proviso that that sun had already risen in order for them to thread their way through the heart of the archipelago. In the end, given their progress, it is with an option via the west that the crew will ultimately round Cape Verde this morning, leaving sufficient room to avoid the effects of the wind shadow created by the volcanic islands in the sails of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Their lead over Francis Joyon’s record fluctuates every time the latest Gitana puts in a gybe or repositions herself to the west, but it has remained relatively stable at around 100 miles for several days.


    Favouring a more conservative trajectory

    On the approach towards the Cape Verdean archipelago, it was tempting to shoot straight between the islands of São Vicente and São Nicolau to target a more direct route down to the equator. However, snaking your way between these volcanic islands is never a trivial matter, particularly with a 32-metre flying maxi-trimaran powered up at full speed. “This passage was debated but ultimately abandoned after assessing the potential gains and the risks. Amidst wind shadows, accelerations, fishermen and the latter’s fishing pots, it’s not easy sailing for boats like ours. The deal was finally sealed by our passage time because it’s still dark so we would have lacked visibility as the nights are pitch black at the moment”, explained Yann Riou in his night message.



    The yoyoing miles

    The decision to pass to the west of the archipelago has cost the crew of the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild two new gybes and with them the logical losses incurred in relation to their virtual adversary. Indeed, during her attempt in 2016-2017, on this long tack towards the equator, Idec benefited from a weather pattern that enabled her to stay on the same tack. The men of Gitana Team aren’t able to enjoy the same configuration or a such a straight trajectory. Overnight, their biggest lead amounted to 177 miles, a figure which had dropped back down to 90 miles at 07:00 UTC. However, there’s nothing abnormal about this situation since the slightest repositioning to the west equates to an almost negative VMG.

    The positive message we can draw from this affair is that despite the numerous gybes racked up over the past two days, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier and their four crew are still out in front and at the 07:00 UTC position report, the 32-metre giant was once again pointing her bows in the right direction on a course to the SSW.

    **************************
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