On January 7, qualified sailors will attempt a challenge which has not yet been achieved in the world of sailing: a solo round-the-world race on a giant Ultim multihull. Preparations are stepping up all the time as the competitors are now preparing to compete in two races. This week is the bite sized, sprint, the 24H Ultim, a short, intense warm up for the Transat Jacques Vabre – Normandie Le Havre.
The countdown is on. Between the ULTIM teams, each day, each time they go sailing, each briefing and debriefing is all about the one, sole objective: preparing for the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest.
But in saying that, as it is all such a new and gigantic challenge there is a certain air of trepidation and excitement.
“Since no one has ever competed on a race like this it’s difficult to know exactly what the preparation should be like,” explains Tom Laperche (SVR-Lazartigue).
“We are all getting ready to climb a mountain that is even bigger than anything we have done before,” says Armel Le Cléac’h (Maxi Banque Populaire XI).
“It seems incredible to say that what we are going to try is actually even possible,” smiles Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim 3). Since the end of the French holidays, the skippers and their teams have been busy. They have all put their multihulls back into the water and are making many training sails and sessions – sometimes together – in order to optimise the settings and look after all the smallest details
This week they compete on the 24H Ultim (speed runs and a 500 miles loop two handed). It is a good way to check in before the Transat Jacques Vabre – Normandy Le Havre. The boats can be seen up close and personal on the quays of Le Havre from October 20 to 29 before the big start and the 7,000 miles (3,780 km) to travel to Martinique.
Then it’s straight back to France for the final preparations for the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest.
The six competitors of the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest
Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild)
Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim 3)
Tom Laperche (SVR – Lazartigue)
Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire XI)
Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim 3)
Éric Péron (ADAGIO) – subject to qualification