North Sails NEWS


Second Major Offshore Victory For Gitana’s Edmond de Rothschild

📸 Yann Riou

This article was published at 0400 on Friday December 6th. At this time, MACIF & Actual Leader had not finished. You can track them here.

The 2019 edition of the Brest Atlantiques was known as the “flight of the giants,” with four super -charged Ultim trimarans driven by talented sailors and powered by North Sails 3Di. The race cast off on November 5th from Brest on a 14,000nm journey and has now reached an ending with three of four teams making it to the finish line. The winner, Gitana’s Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, crossed the finish line in the morning on December 5th, making this the second major offshore victory for the team this year, first being the Fastnet in August where they claimed multihull line honours. Covering a total of 17,084 nm at an average speed of 24.57 knots, and only 28 days to finish the race, skippers Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, and media team member Yann Riou kept their Ultim on the edge as much as possible, racing as fast as they could with a clean and clear strategy to snag the lead on the fleet.

📸 Yvan Zedda

They didn’t have the lead until they crossed the Robben Island course off of Cape Town and worked hard to eliminate maneuvers and reel in Sodebo, who was at that time 13 hours and 53 minutes ahead. Battling the unstable tradewinds, Edmund de Rothschild couldn’t follow a course as direct as they had planned but they kept their heads in the game and to find the most optimum route across the Equator that would put them ahead of their competitors. Once they passed the Cagarras Islands, Actual Leader was close on their tail, so they knew they had to play it smart and sail fast to get ahead of the weather systems that were pushing in.

Once Edmond de Rothschild had less than 2000nm to go, they knew they needed to reach the Azores quick so they could catch the front where the conditions were sporty but most ideal for their plan to get ahead of the fleet. MACIF and Actual Leader were still close behind, but now battling each other for second place, giving Rothschild a chance to break free and extend. Unfortunately Thomas Coville’s Sodebo suffered a collision with a UFO, which forced them to make a pitstop in Cape Town giving them no other option but to retire. Before the incident they were well ahead of both Edmund de Rothschild and MACIF, so it was a bit of bad luck that changed the race for the team. As amazing as it truly was, when Edmond de Rothschild made landfall in Salvador de Bahia, their stay would last roughly 13 hours and 40 minutes, and when they got back in the game, it would only take them a solid two days to catch up and take back their lead.

Designed to literally fly offshore, Gitana’s Edmond de Rothschild is built for speed as is the standard for the entire Ultim trimaran fleet. Her sailors also deserve a big round of applause, both being recognized as Sailor of the Year at least once, if not twice as well as winning other major offshore races like the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Jules Verne Trophy, Route de Rhum and the Volvo Ocean Race. Spending time on the Ultim trimaran has given Franck and Charles that competitive edge, knowing how hard they can push the boat and be comfortable taking it to the next level.

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