Holcim-PRB, the current leader after four stages of The Ocean Race, rearms. While trying to recover from the accident suffered during the fourth stage (the mast snapped off the coast of Brazil on April 27), the crew of the boat that sails under the Swiss flag does not want, nor can it, waste time because they only have one point ahead of their main rivals, 11th Hour Racing Team, second, and Team Malizia, third. All the teams focus their objectives on stage 5, which will go from Newport to Aarhus and is that it will have a double score. For this reason, Holcim-PRB wants to leave as few things as possible to chance and, in view of this stage, has carried out a Flash signing: Charles Caudrelier. The current skipper of the Gitana Team won The Ocean Race 2017-18 and now joins the Holcim-PRB project.
Of course, the Swiss team is in a countdown continues because You must arrive in time for the start of stage 5 on Sunday the 21st of this month. Kevin Escoffier is well aware that time is tight and that meticulously planned logistics cannot cause setbacks. The good news for Holcim-PRB is the recovery of the new Lorient mast and it arrived on US soil last Wednesday and it is currently being handled by the team of experts. The IMOCA ship is still on board a cargo ship, although it is expected to arrive in Newport next Wednesday. The team will then have just four days to prepare it for the race. The challenge remains achievable and the energy of each team member is fully dedicated to this goal. Kevin Scoffier is in Newport following the evolution of all this and already has a clear the crew for stage 5, in which Charles Caudrelier stands out and will also be Abby Ehler, Sam Goodchild and Yann Riou as reporter on board.
Escoffier and Caudrelier know each other well and it is that they coincided in the Dongfeng Race Team, who won the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. “My idea was to gather the core of the crew. Sam Goodchild will return after sailing in his IMOCA and has rested a bit. Abby returns in excellent shape and as motivated as ever. As for Tom, he has embarked on his own project, he was no longer available and so, I called Charles Caudrelier, who will be the navigator on board. I chose Charles because he is someone I know very well, who is highly motivated and has a lot of experience in The Ocean Race. We communicate well together, and he can contribute a lot in terms of performance on the boat. I think we both have a passion for technology and performance. We are also totally dedicated to the sport, and that is something I really appreciate. We started working on the weather and discussed pilot setup, polars…” commented Kevin Escoffier.
Abby Ehler and Sam Goodchild have already competed in two legs of The Ocean Race aboard Holcim-PRB, including the third leg in the Southern Ocean. Both are excited about a return to the blue and green monocoque. Abby’s experience with three previous circumnavigations and Sam Goodchild’s extreme motivation will undoubtedly be valuable assets for this leg.. “They are two very good sailors who have already impressed me with their qualities and skill in the previous stages. For me they are one of the pillars of the crew. Together we have completed three quarters of the circumnavigation in terms of mileage” added the Holcim-PRB skipper.
The fifth stage of The Ocean Race, of 3,500 nautical miles, will be intense and the double points will put the crews on even more alert. The fleet will return to Europe and Escoffier explained that “I hope it will be cold. It is a section that we do not do often. I have already made several transatlantic crossings in this direction, but always to reach France. Going to Denmark will take us through the north of the British Isles. That completely changes the game in terms of weather strategy, and that’s a new thing for me. We’ll have to play around the edge of the ice, not far from Newfoundland. It will be a very interesting stage”.
Lastly, Charles Caudrelier spoke of his ‘signing’ to Holcim-PRB and confirmed that “I am very excited. Naturally I am excited to experience the atmosphere of The Ocean Race again, which is a race that has also left a mark on my career as a sailor, but I am also delighted to join Kevin and his team. Kevin and I have a strong bond; he was a key member of my team during our 2018 win with Dongfeng Race Team and it’s fantastic to be able to support him now with reversed roles. My schedule with the Gitana team fits perfectly as Maxi Edmond de Rothschild is currently undergoing maintenance ahead of a busy second half of the season and a solo round-the-world run beginning in January 2024. The stage from Newport to Aarhus is an important milestone in my opinion because the return to Europe can give the impression that the end is near, but the race is still far from over before Genoa.