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ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest: Arkéa becomes Title Partner of the ultimate solo world tour organized by OC Sport Pen Duick



In Brest, April 22, 2022 - Arkéa, a major player in sports sponsorship already present for several years in ocean racing, today becomes, on behalf of all the subsidiaries of the Crédit Mutuel Arkéa Bancassurance group, title partner of the next two editions of the first solo Ultim world tour in racing organized by OC Sport Pen Duick. It will bring together the skippers of the Ultim 32/23 Class, which brings together the best sailors on the planet, and the most innovative and demanding ocean-going multihulls. An extraordinary human and technological challenge that will undoubtedly put the race and its sailors in the Pantheon of sailing!





Around the world solo aboard an Ultim 32/23: a historic first in racing! There are already five registered for this exceptional race and there will potentially be seven “Giants of the Seas” to set off from Brest, with a solitary skipper on board, who will attempt to complete a circumnavigation of the world from West to East, via the 3 capes (Good Hope, Leewin and Horn). A human and technological challenge carried by the sailors of the Ultim 32/23 Class accompanied by their shipowners and partners. Some sailors have already completed the journey in a multihull and solo: Francis Joyon, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Thomas Coville, François Gabart; notably as part of solo round-the-world record campaigns, but no one has ever done it in a race. Alone, on their giant multihulls, for 40 to 50 days, the skippers will be subjected to extreme variations in weather conditions and will have to deal with wind, waves, swell and ice. Anticyclonic systems, with little wind, as well as depressions, most often causing strong winds, will punctuate the life of sailors on board and influence the trajectory strategies adopted. Sailing around the world is above all a climatic journey: the descent of the Atlantic, the crossing of the Indian and then Pacific Oceans until heading north again up the Atlantic…


First between Brest and the Cape of Good Hope, the route is punctuated by the passage from one hemisphere to the other through the “Doldrums” also called “intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ)”. The atmosphere in this area mixes warm and humid air masses carried by the trade winds of the Azores anticyclone in the North Atlantic, and that of Saint Helena in its southern equivalent. They generate unstable air where white calms and stormy squalls alternate without any real logic, already requiring increased vigilance during this first part of the race to escape this trap as quickly as possible.

Then comes the longest and most difficult part, which consists of taking advantage of the weather phenomena coming from the west to slide between Good Hope and Cape Horn via Cape Leeuwin. This crossing of the two oceans of the southern hemisphere: the Indian and the Pacific, makes up 3/5ths of the solo world tour. It requires sailors to maintain their trajectory on a downwind course while dealing with sequences of disturbances driven by powerful northwest winds, the passage of squall fronts and icy wind shifts, and this without however being absorbed by anticyclonic conditions... A demanding heterogeneity for navigators as well as for machines...


Finally, the passage of the legendary Cape Horn marks the return to Brest, with around 8,000 miles to go to reach the port of arrival. Before that, the competitors will once again have to deal with the Saint Helena anticyclone, the stormy depressions of Brazil, the stuckness of the Doldrums, the trade winds of the northern hemisphere, and potential Atlantic depressions requiring concentration. extreme of the sailors until crossing the long-awaited finish line in the harbor of Brest.


A new challenge for OC Sport Pen Duick, organizer of the biggest offshore races OC Sport Pen Duick, subsidiary and sports events branch of the Télégramme Group, is the organizing company of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, the Solitaire du Figaro, The Transat CIC or the Double Transat Concarneau – Saint Barthélemy: so many races whose reputation is well established. A major new challenge which is in line with the great races organized by the group and which will be carried and amplified by the commitment of Arkéa and the city of Brest, port of records and host of the start and finish of this new oceanic event. This solo world tour called “ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest” will undoubtedly be a large-scale race, unique in its kind and which will highlight values common to the sailors, the organizer, and the partners: emotion, determination and humility.


An extraordinary race and sailors! Few of them are able to take up the challenge of this race, and this is what makes them atypical human beings, with exceptional physical abilities. These sailors will put their immense physical and mental abilities to the test, forced by the race format to face extremely difficult conditions and their own limits. It is the “lonely” effect facing one of the most hostile elements on the planet, which will reinforce in each of the skippers involved their aura of hero and which will allow the general public to measure the height of the feat that they will realize.


Arkéa, the continuation of a historic commitment to ocean racing Arkéa is committed to local stakeholders and the real economy in order to support events at the heart of its territories. It was therefore important to support, through this partnership, the launch of a new major sporting event which promises to put Brest and the entire region at the forefront. Arkéa wishes to be a creator of links and it was obvious for the Group with strong regional roots to be alongside the metropolis of Brest, the Brittany Region and the Department of Finistère which are major partners and supporters of the Group.

Arkéa uses its know-how in communication and event promotion to support daring projects aligned with its commitment values. THE ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest 2023 promises to be the race of all superlatives: it is a brand new race which offers for the first time a world tour in the Ultim class, non-stop and solo. It is also an event which is resolutely part of a sustainable approach which corresponds to the group's commitments for a positive ecology in the face of tomorrow's transitions.

This partnership on the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest 2023 is a continuation of the sponsorship of the Imoca Paprec-Arkéa, which will set off for the Vendée Globe in 2024, as well as in line with the Excellence Racing Sector. wide, set up by the Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne federation on the “Figaro” calendar. Arkéa thus supports, on land and on the oceans, all the players who share the same passion for sailing and the sea.


Brest, the “Port of Records” which lives up to its name “Brest Métropole Océane”, “Brest Port des Records” and today “Brest port of departure and arrival of the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest 2023. A list of names which affirms the strong commitment of this territory of Finistère and the Brittany Region towards sailors, the open sea and the most advanced technological challenges. The Brittany Region, through its commitment to this new challenge, highlights the Breton human and technological resources which participate in the construction of these “sea giants”. This race also makes it possible to promote the entire local economic fabric of Finistère which, thanks to its shipyards and their human resources, also participate in the realization and success of the future ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest. Finally, Brest and its famous harbor, have an exceptional body of water and aim to become much more than the record-breaking port by hosting this unique and extreme race. This is one more event which will allow them to be among the ports most involved in major French ocean racing events.


They said :


Julien Carmona, President of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa: “Arkéa supports sporting events which resonate with its humanist and cooperative values and with its taste for innovation. The past and future of the group are closely linked to Brest and its metropolis. It was therefore only natural for Arkéa to join forces with local stakeholders to support the launch, in Brest, of a new Ultim class race. We also aim to step up our support for the maritime economy in its transitions in the face of the challenges of today and tomorrow. This new partnership between Arkéa and OC Sport Pen Duick is therefore an integral part of this commitment. »


Cédric Malengreau, Managing Director of the Arkéa* subsidiary: “Arkéa’s commitment to this new Ultim class race illustrates our passion for sailing and the sea, while echoing our support of the Imoca Paprec-Arkéa which will participate in the Vendée Globe in 2024. The ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest 2023 represents an exceptional sporting event for our region and we are proud to be able to support its launch alongside local institutions. This major event is eagerly awaited by sailing enthusiasts and offers everyone the opportunity to experience an extraordinary adventure. »

*Arkéa is a subsidiary of the Crédit Mutuel Arkéa group. It provides the group's subsidiaries with a set of means and services for communicating and promoting their activities, based on a strong, value-creating brand.


Hervé Favre, President OC Sport Pen Duick: “Last December, we were very happy to be able to announce Brest as the departure and arrival port for the 2023 Ultim Solo World Tour.

Today, we are proud to announce that the Crédit Mutuel - Arkéa group has become the title partner of this already legendary race and has named it “ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest”. Having such a partner at our side, historically committed to offshore racing, and with whom we share the same values and commitments, reinforces our ambition to see further in this exceptional sport that is offshore racing, in its most entrenched areas. extremes.


Arkéa will support us alongside the city of Brest, the Brittany region and the department of Finistère, to organize this incredible race. The ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest could not have come to fruition without the trust placed by all the players and owners of large ocean trimarans and the Class 32/23. We would like to thank them warmly.

So let's head to 2023, a year that promises to be full of emotions, sea spray and extraordinary sporting exploits! »


Edouard Coudurier, Chairman and CEO of Télégramme Group: “The Télégramme Group and its subsidiary OC Sport Pen Duick are very pleased to welcome the Crédit Mutuel - Arkéa group, as title partner of the first Ultim 32/23 solo world tour at departure from Brest. All the conditions are now met, and the Télégramme group teams are fully committed, to make this great first a sporting, popular and media success. The Télégramme Group is delighted to contribute to strengthening Brest, the headquarters of the Crédit Mutuel Arkéa group as a reference port for major maritime challenges, as well as the Ultim 32/23 class, as part of a long-term partnership of which the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest will constitute the high point”


Loïg Chesnais-Girard, President of the Brittany Region: “Once again, Brittany will participate in writing a new page in the history of nautical racing by inaugurating the first Ultim world tour. It is always a pride to launch these new challenges and a privilege to witness them from the front row. The rivalry between these ultra-fast sea giants promises an exceptional spectacle and an unprecedented competition, which will also highlight the technical prowess enabled by this cutting-edge sector, combining technological development and high-level sport. »


François Cuillandre, mayor of Brest and president of Brest Métropole: “I am proud to see that sport and more particularly offshore racing, which is part of our identity, is capable of uniting the players in our territory. I salute the commitment of the Arkéa group to be at our side for this great project. This is an important announcement for Brittany and for our territory. As mayor of Brest and president of Brest Métropole, I know that the people of Brest will be very proud to welcome the best skippers in the world and the start of this new great adventure of racing around the world. It is of course a privilege for our territory, but it is above all the result of an ambition and long-term work to make Brest, and its harbor, the most beautiful in the world, the port of departure and arrival of the Ultims, the reception port for these exceptional boats. I have no doubt that the public will respond, and that this event will become a great popular celebration. »


Maël De Calan - President of the Finistère Departmental Council: “The Departmental Council is proud to support boating and the sector of excellence represented by offshore racing in Finistère. Already present in the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race, La Solitaire du Figaro, the double-handed Transat Concarneau - Saint-Barthélemy (formerly Transat AG2R la Mondiale) and the ProSailing Tour, we continue to mobilize to bring the values of sailing. We are delighted to provide financial support to the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE - Brest. »


Jean Luc Denéchau - President of the French Sailing Federation: “The Ultim World Tour will be a human and technological challenge for the teams participating in it, leading such machines solo will require approaching this race with a lot of humility and pragmatism, to successfully complete this adventure and possibly emerge victorious. This race around the world will allow us to experience great moments and share extraordinary exploits with the public. I am convinced that the French will follow this sporting event with great attention. Once again, these exceptional sailors will uphold the values of our sport.

This course is a challenge, both for the sailors and for the organizers. and can come to fruition thanks to the commitment of OC Sport Pen Duick, which will have to build an extraordinary event and thanks to the Utim 32/23 class, whose mission is to define a framework and rules allowing boats to race together and to bring together skippers and the major shipowners who sponsor them.

The French Sailing Federation will support the class and the organizer in setting up this world tour, and we would like to thank the partners and private and public economic players who allow this new race to see the light of day and help us faithfully to promote our sport and its values. I wish great success to the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest 2023 and good seas to the participants. »


Patricia Brochard, President of the Ultim 32/23 Class: “The Ultim 32/23 Class has been nourishing this ambition to see its fantastic machines circling the planet, in races and solo, for years. This extraordinary project is now a reality. We are happy about it because it was a long road to get there. Territoires du Grand Ouest, title partner from now on and each of us, with the organizer OC Sport Pen Duick, can now only aim towards one goal: its success. Everything comes together to achieve this.”

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