Home » Caudrelier wins solo circumnavigation – environmental groups criticize the race

Caudrelier wins solo circumnavigation – environmental groups criticize the race

by admin
Caudrelier wins solo circumnavigation – environmental groups criticize the race

The Frenchman is only the fifth sailor to circumnavigate the world alone on a trimaran – but not non-stop. It is uncertain whether the offshore regatta will take place a second time. Because the huge racing machines threaten the large sea animals.

Arrives in Brest with a huge lead: the Ultim Challenge winner Charles Caudrelier.

Alexis Courcoux / Imago

The organizers had imagined it differently. In the end, even Charles Caudrelier, the undisputed leader of the Ultim Challenge circumnavigation, had to make a stopover lasting several days – because of a storm over the Bay of Biscay and waves eight meters high. The Frenchman waited for better weather conditions in the Azores.

This meant that all participants who were supposed to sail around the world non-stop in the regatta, which was held for the first time, had to make an involuntary stop. One even had to give up.

The race is only exciting during the first few days

The regulations allow pit stops that must last at least 24 hours. All six sailors had to interrupt their trip, the co-favorite Armel LeCléac’h even had to interrupt it twice. They called at places like Cape Town, Recife, Hobart and Rio de Janeiro, where members of the shore crews got their trihulls back into shape.

Only Caudrelier was spared from major accidents; his stop of almost four days in the Azores was due to bad weather. Tom Laperche was unlucky; his collision with an unknown object damaged his trimaran so badly that he had to give up the race. The Benjamin in the sailing field was the eventual winner’s only serious competitor; The duel between the two at the top was only somewhat exciting in the first ten days.

See also  Premier League Table | Newcastle and Brighton, in search of the 'impossible' challenge

So the regatta wasn’t really a race at all. After Laperche’s retirement and the other sailors’ accidents, Caudrelier was a whole weather system ahead of his nearest competitor and continuously expanded his lead.

The Breton finally headed towards an unchallenged victory, although he had to achieve it with anxiety. “My boat isn’t perfect,” he reported from on board. «I live with the sword of Damocles. I only have one fear, and that is that it (the racing) will stop.” The man who says he gets seasick when things get hectic relied on safety with his team. He was able to afford that thanks to the huge lead. As he approached Cape Horn, where the weather was stormy, Caudrelier hit the brakes. His 32 meter long trimaran, which can easily fly at 35 knots on the foils, bobbed along at 5 knots for hours.

The stop in the Azores then presented the Frenchman with the problem of getting back into racing mode after four days in a bed, with warm showers and sensible meals. And the sailors were also challenged over the last 1,200 miles; the foothills of the storm “Louis” made sailing considerably more difficult.

As if there had never been bad weather before Brest, Caudrelier crossed the finish line after 50 days and 19 hours under a beautiful sunrise. He completed a total of 29,000 nautical miles and his average speed was just under 24 knots.

He clearly missed the record time set by François Gabart, who only needed 42 days for his solo circumnavigation. But on the sections to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Leeuwin he achieved the best times. Caudrelier is only the fifth person to circumnavigate the world solo on a trimaran – but not non-stop. Despite the involuntary stop in the Azores, the competitors were between 3,000 and 5,000 miles behind when he reached the finish line.

Just one day before returning home, the skipper celebrated his 50th birthday. The number 5 seems to suit the father with two children: at the age of 40 he completed the first Ocean Race, which he won as skipper five years later. And now, again five years later and at the age of 50, he achieved his most valuable victory on his first solo trip around the world.

He benefits from the fact that he has one of the most solvent sponsors in sailing behind him, Edmond de Rothschild. As a family, the bankers have been committed to offshore racing and record-breaking trips with maxi trimarans for over twenty years. With Gitana you have one of the best racing teams in the scene. And they want to continue to rely on the maxi trimarans; A few months ago it was decided to build a new racing giant.

See also  NCAA: Caitlin Clark breaks women's basketball scoring record

Criticism of offshore regattas is increasing

However, it is uncertain whether there will be a second edition of the race for the sailing monsters. Preparations for this “regatta of the century,” as the organizers called it, took more than ten years. But now the concerns predominate: the costs of building and maintaining a racing trimaran over several years, which costs up to 40 million euros, are enormous. And if there are only three or four competent participants, there is a great risk that only one will make it through and the others will be thrown back without a chance due to accidents – or even have to give up. In such a case, the tension is gone and the course of the race has been decided.

Celebrates his arrival in Brest: Charles Caudrelier.

Arnaud Pilpra / Imago

In addition, the Ultim Challenge and other offshore regattas face danger from another side: After three of the six racing machines collided with flotsam, various environmental organizations came forward and criticized the event. The probability is very high that the skippers collided with whales. Criticism also came from within our own ranks. Four years ago, the organization La Vague was founded by former top sailors. Its goal is to combine offshore racing with ecological concerns. La Vague calls driving through the habitats of large marine animals “Russian roulette”. The solution for offshore racing is very simple: “limiting the speed, limiting the size of the foils and the sailboats”. If these demands are implemented, the Ultim racing machines with their razor-sharp foils would no longer have any place on the world‘s oceans.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy