Armel Le Cléac’h, 3rd in an exceptional round-the-world race!

Monday, 4 march 2024

The skipper of the Maxi Banque Populaire XI crossed the finish line of the ARKEA ULTIM-Challenge in Brest at 21:31 on Sunday, March 3, 2024.

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Armel Le Cléac’h, who arrived third in this exceptional round-the-world race, the first solo circumnavigation event in an Ultim-class trimaran, sailed into Brest after racing for 56 days, 8 hours, 1 minute, and 31 seconds. The skipper, who covered a greater distance than the other competitors after setting out from Brest (32,290 nautical miles), demonstrated his resilience and self-sacrifice up to the very end. 

Armel shared his feelings about these eight weeks at sea, which were as intense as they were rewarding both for him personally as well as for the entire support team: “With every round-the-world race, you can always find a previously unsuspected way to overcome problems. This was my 4th single-handed race and the 4th time I reached the final podium. It would have been nice to have finished higher up but, considering what we’ve been through, I consider this result to be a small victory in itself.” He had to draw on hitherto unimagined resources and show steely resolve just to keep going, surpass himself and never yield, whatever the cost. Although he admits to “digging deep to tap all his reserves of energy,” Armel never gave up.

If Armel was able to complete this round-the-world race, he owes part of his achievement to the total commitment of Team Banque Populaire. The ability to make two stopovers and repair the boat in just over 24 hours each time is an impressive feat in itself. 

The experience amassed during the race will be invaluable when it comes to making the boat just a little bit better. There’s another round-the-world race scheduled for later this year, the crewed Jules Verne Trophy next winter. But before that, Armel and Team Banque Populaire are gearing up for another exploit of a completely different nature: the “Ocean Relay”, a segment of the Olympic torch relay that will take the Olympic flame across the Atlantic from France to the French West Indies with a crew of celebrities. In a nod to this occasion, Brest will be the starting point for this new adventure, starting on June 7 later this year.