Europe 1 with AFP // Credits: LOIC VENANCE / AFP 9:46 a.m., February 27, 2024

Charles Caudrelier crossed the finish line of the Ultim Callenges in Brest this Tuesday.

The navigator wins the first solo round-the-world race in a trimaran.

The Finisterian completed an almost faultless round the world aboard his Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, despite the difficult weather conditions. 

After 50 days at sea and more than 28,000 miles (51,000 km) traveled on the seas of the globe, Charles Caudrelier crossed the finish line of the Ultim Challenge in Brest on Tuesday, winning the first solo round-the-world race in a trimaran .

At 8:37 a.m., accompanied by a magnificent sunrise and many boats coming to congratulate him, he wrote a new page in the history of navigation.

“It’s a great moment for all of us, for the team, for Charles, for our shipowner,” said Cyril Dardashti, general director of the Gitana team, on Tuesday.

The Finisterian, father of two children and already winner of the prestigious Route du Rhum in 2022, completed an almost faultless round the world aboard his Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, despite the difficult weather conditions encountered on his route.

“He has been monstrous since the start of this course. We had no doubt about it. He has done something incredible. He is showing his peers that he is a great sailor,” Dardashti stressed. 


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The skipper - who celebrated his 50th birthday on Monday - crossed the line, 50 days 19 hours 7 minutes and 42 seconds after leaving Brittany, only about eight days more than the record held by François Gabart since 2017 (42 days 16 hours 40 minutes 35 seconds), carried out against the clock and not in a race.

“I felt like I was becoming a machine”

During his journey, Caudrelier kept the best solo sailors at bay: Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire), victim of numerous damages, Thomas Coville (Sodebo) and his eight world tours, Anthony Marchand (Actual) and Eric Péron (Adagio).

Everyone left aboard Ultim, the largest racing multihulls in the world, measuring 32 meters long by 23 wide, capable of filtering through the water at crazy speeds.

“It’s weird, but I had the impression of becoming a machine, a robot connected to performance, a kind of killer who doesn’t let go of a nautical mile,” said Caudrelier, “totally connected” to his boat .

Only Tom Laperche (SVR-Lazartigue) resisted his frantic pace for a while.

Approaching the Cape of Good Hope, however, the youngest member of the fleet was forced to abandon after a collision with an unidentified object.

Manhandled by the weather, but spared by bad luck, Caudrelier waited several days near Cape Horn, crossed after 30 days of course, then stopped in the Azores, in the last stretch, to let a storm pass.

Departing after a three-day stopover, rested and well-shaven, Charles Caudrelier finished the journey in slow motion, much more obsessed with victory than with his time around the world, while preserving his tired boat as much as possible.

“Funny race” 

“He showed reason and wisdom to preserve his boat until the end,” said Pierre Hays, race director, on Monday.

His first pursuer, Thomas Coville (Sodebo), expected Thursday in Brest, praised this weekend in an audio from the edge of the historic performance of his opponent and the originality of the situation.

“Funny race where the first has the opportunity to stop, go to the hotel and wait for a good window and like a good sailor to leave at the right time,” he noted.

“But I know he will manage well, well done!”, he simply added.

The feat achieved by Charles Caudrelier is a rarity.

Since Alain Colas in 1974, only eight sailors have completed a solo round-the-world trip on a trimaran, a much more fragile and risky support than the Vendée Globe monohulls.

And no one had ever done it before in a race against other highly motivated opponents.