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Le Cléac’h to pitstop in Brazil for vital repair work

Arkea Ultim Challenge

Yacht Racing Podcast

There is bad news for Maxi Banque Populaire XI skipper Armel Le Cléac’h tonight in the Arkea Ultim Challenge who is having to head to the Brazilian port of Recife to effect repairs to the Ultim multihull’s main hull pushpit and to replace the tack line fitting for the gennaker after damage incurred during a problem with the J-Zero headsail.

With Le Cléac’h and the rest of the six-boat fleet due in the Southern Ocean in a few days time his team say it it is imperative that this part of the boat is functional for the rest of the race. The Team Banque Populaire shore team will also use the minimum 24-hour stop to also resolve a problem discovered on the hydraulics of the boat’s foil system.

Meanwhile, at the front of the fleet, Tom Laperche (SVR Lazartigue) and Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild) are battling it out for the lead as the they accelerate south along the Brazilian coast after crossing the Equator on Saturday evening.

SVR Lazartigue was the first to cross the Equator into the Southern Hemisphere at 18:43:43hrs UTC. His elapsed time since last Sunday’s start line is 6d 6h 13m and since the WSSRC record line at Ushant is 6d 5h 35m 56s. Caudrelier was next to cross some 1h 28m later – was Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild). Caudrelier’s elapsed times are 6d 7h 41m since the start line and 6d 7h 2m 54s since the WSSRC line.

On his 2017 record breaking circumnavigation Francois Gabart’s passage time to the Equator was 5d 20h 45m, the fastest solo time remains Thomas Coville’s 5d 17h 11m and the best ever is that of Spindrift 2 at 4d 20h 07m

With flat seas and favourable winds rotating around the notorious St Helena high pressure system the path looks close to perfect for some super fast sailing for the two French skippers as they head for the Cape of Good Hope at the tip of South Africa.

Le Cléac’h is expected in Recife overnight Sunday January 14 / Monday January 15 and whilst a 24 hour stop will seem an eternity to him as he agonises over the time he is losing to his competitors he will also know that in a race around the world there will be plenty of opportunities to reconnect with the leaders.

More info here.

Main image © Alexis Courcoux