Fastest Offshore Racing Projects Ever Built, Ultim 100ft Foiler Trimarans will converge in a solo round the world in 2023
The Ultim class has announced the first solo race for giant multihull yachts - the Solo Ultim World Tour.
This will probably be the toughest ocean sailing race ever held.
Solo skippers will have to cover a distance equal to the difficulty of the Vendée Globe, but they will do it in 100-foot trimaran with a complex of scions, capable of sailing at 45 knots, with a constant risk of capsizing in a split second.
The new solo round-the-world race will feature six of the world's fastest ocean-going vessels, including record holders Armel Le Cleac, Charles Codrellier and Thomas Coville.
It is not surprising that this race has not been born for a long time.
It is now called the Solo Ultim World Tour.
It will be organized by the experienced OC Sport Pen Duick in collaboration with the Ultim 32/23 class and will start in autumn 2023.
The concept was first put forward about 15 years ago, just as the infamous Orma trimarans were in their last days.
For the emerging Ultime class, a calendar was compiled that included a solo and crewed round the world race, as well as a solo round the world race scheduled for December 2019, then called the Brest Oceans.
However, in 2018, during the Route du Rhum - a transatlantic race with a reputation as a kind of killing derby - four large trimaran were seriously damaged.
Banque Populaire IV by Armel le Cleaque capsized and crashed in the middle of the Atlantic, while Maxi Edmond de Rothschild lost 10 meters of one float, Sodebo also suffered structural cracks on one float, and Macif lost the foil and rudder.
History seemed to be repeating itself - in 2002 on Route du Rhum, only three of 18 multihull yachts were able to complete the race, and the capsizing and dramatic rescues during the race led to many sponsors leaving the Orma fleet. It was clear that the Ultim class was not yet ready for solo racing around the world.
However, the class changed tack.
Instead, a multi-stage race with two coxswains around the Atlantic was held in 2019 - the Brest Atlantiques.
Although several boats were damaged - Macif turned the rudder in Rio, and Sodebo broke off the right rudder after a collision with a whale (the collision caused so much damage that the stern of the starboard float filled with water and later also broke off), three of the four boats passed the distance, and did not there were no dramatic rescues.
Applications for participation in round-the-world races
Even more remarkable, new yachts continued to appear.
Banque Populaire ordered a new Ultim for le Cléac'h, and although François Gabart's previous sponsor Macif withdrew from the construction, his new Ultim, codenamed M101, was completed and it received new support from the French cosmetics group Kresk (now called SVR-Lazatigue).
Combined with the new Sodebo for Thomas Covil in 2019 and a healthy used giant trimaran market ripe for optimization, the world's largest and most daring ocean racing fleet is now attracting more competitors than the last Volvo Ocean Race (seven competitors in the latest). Volvo, six participants in the Solo Ultim World Tour).
At the moment the following participants of the round-the-world race have been confirmed: Banque Populaire XI, skipper Armel Le Cleac; Maxi Edmond de Rothschild with Charles Codrellier (who will return to Ultim after being modified outside the class rules to try to set a world record); Sodebo by Thomas Kovil; François Gabart in his new SVR-Lazartigue; Actual, skipper Yves Le Bleveck, and also a member from Brest Ultim Sailing, ex-Actual, whose skipper has not yet been announced.
These sailors are the absolute elite of ocean racing.
Among the five confirmed skippers alone, there are two Vendée Globe winners, two singles circumnavigation records, two Volvo Ocean Race victories, at least two Jules Verne circumnavigation records in a crew and many other endeavors.
The host city of the start and finish has not yet been determined, although negotiations are underway with the city of Brest, which has shown great interest in hosting the regatta since the inception of the project and hosted the Brest Atlantiques Race in 2019.
The current multihull solo circumnavigation record is 42 d 16 h, set by Gabart on his previous yacht Macif in 2017.
Solo Ultim's world tour is likely to take about 40-50 days as they hit the road with suboptimal projections to set the record.
However, the biggest question will be whether they can go the distance without damage.
Building on the experience of the 2019 Brest Atlantiques Race and Route du Rhum regatta, all teams are innovating to avoid collisions and make their trimarans more durable in the event of a collision with objects.
The new Banque Populaire features reinforced structures, sacrificing extremely light weight for strength.
Sodebo is experimenting with scion mounts designed to absorb shock, and all major applicants are testing collision avoidance systems like the Oscar to try and identify objects in the water.
Charles Codrellier, co-skipper of the solo yacht Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, said: “This solo round-the-world race on Ultim is a dream I never dared to hope for in my career.
I've always been attracted to the Vendée Globe regatta, but here, at the helm of the fastest boat on the planet and in flight mode, it's just the ultimate challenge.
Sailing such a yacht alone on such a challenging global track is an extraordinary adventure that I am proud to share with the Gitana crew and Maxi Edmond de Rothschild.
I have been thinking about this world tour for two years, it is this goal that motivates me and makes me move forward every day. "
Thomas Kovil, skipper of Sodebo Ultim 3, commented: “I am honored to be part of this group of sailors.
Sodebo and I have been thinking about this race since 2007 when we started building the first Sodebo Ultim trimaran.
There were many twists and turns in the history of this round-the-world race.
She lives up to 20 years of commitment and excellence in sailing.
This is the race that will sanctify the life of an athlete and a sailor. " Armel Le Cleaque, skipper at Banque Populaire, added: “Our boats are magical and I am delighted to be able to share them with the public in an aura of great adventure. I can't wait for everything to start! "
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