Charles Caudrelier waited around three days in the vastness of the South Pacific before picking up speed and rounding the infamous Cape Horn on Tuesday after 30 days, 4 hours, 38 minutes and 20 seconds at sea. The 49-year-old Frenchman continues to lead the Arkea Ultim Challenge, the solo race around the world, by around 3,000 nautical miles.
In the end, however, he had to slow down so as not to take any risks with his ultimate trimaran, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, when passing the southern tip of South America.
Gale-force winds put the brakes on Caudrelier
In the meantime, gale-force winds swept south along the Chilean coasts. The Edmond de Rothschild routers had therefore looked for a favorable weather window and finally gave their pilot the green light for Tuesday. While Caudrelier now heads north again in the Atlantic towards the start and finish port of Brest, the next pursuers, Armel le Cléac’h on the Banque Populaire XI and Thomas Coville on the Sodebo Ultim 3, soon reach Point Nemo, the most land-locked place on earth in the middle of the South Pacific.
Since passing the Cape of Good Hope 19 days ago, Charles Caudrelier has steadily extended his lead in the premiere of this high-speed race around the world. He plowed through the Indian Ocean on his foiling trimaran in a new solo record time of 8 days, 8 hours, 20 minutes and 36 seconds. And even when he was in the lead ahead of South America, the pursuers were unable to close the gap.
Chasers were unable to take advantage of Caudrelier’s wait-and-see approach
Armel le Cléac’h had taken cover east of Australia to avoid a southerly storm and carry out minor repairs. Thomas Coville took a two-day break in Hobart, Tasmania, to repair damage to the pulpit and the front trampoline. Both returned to the race track almost simultaneously. While the Banque Populaire XI had traveled a wide arc north around New Zealand, Coville resumed the pursuit after his break.
The duo drive in high-speed mode with a gap of around four race days. Both are pushing through the South Pacific north of a storm front, where they find good winds and moderate sea conditions. After the resumption of the race, her average speed is consistently well over 30 knots. It is quite possible that the 24-hour record for solo sailors will be broken in the coming days.
Charles Caudrelier at the helm, on the other hand, is battling heavy waves in Patagonia and will still have to overcome a number of obstacles in the remaining 7,000 nautical miles up the Atlantic.
7,000 miles still waiting for Caudrelier
“Caudrelier has around 35 knots of wind and heavy seas, although it should ease in the lee of Patagonia. The passage of Cape Horn marks the left turn, the turn north towards home and the release from the Southern Ocean, although there are still large areas of low pressure to overcome,” explains Fred Lepeuterc, Deputy Race Director.
“Charles has to climb all the way north through the different latitudes, overcome the high pressure area of St. Helena, the doldrums and the north-east trade winds and cross the low pressure areas to Brest. He still has a complex route ahead of him and has to pass through many weather systems,” says Lepeutrec.
There are still 7,000 nautical miles to Brest. Around 15,000 nautical miles are already in the wake of the leader. With a comfortable lead behind him, Caudrelier already emphasized that he did not want to take any unnecessary risks in the Arkea Ultim Challenge. According to the Frenchman, he does not have the record for a solo round-the-world trip in mind. He is fully focused on bringing the boat safely to the finish line and winning.