It was not planned, but Armel Le Cléac’h’s world tour will pass through Brazil. Launched like five other skippers in the Arkéa Ultim Challenge-Brest − the first edition of the race around the world solo and aboard giant trimarans − the Breton will have to make a forced stopover in Recife to repair his sailboat Maxi Banque Populaire XI . His team announced it in a press release on Sunday January 14.

“We made the decision to stop with Armel, following the incident that occurred after the storm which deprived us of a large gennaker and, what’s more, tore the balcony off the boat. It was unthinkable to attack the South Seas without this important safety element for maneuvering at the front of the boat,” explained Ronan Lucas, the team director, in the evening.

In 4th position at the time of the announcement, Armel Le Cléac’h will take advantage of the break to rest and leave with a boat in good condition. But he will concede a lot of delay in the operation. Because even if the repairs are carried out in a few hours, the stopover must last at least 24 hours according to the race regulations. “We are all a little disappointed by this mishap even though we had not experienced a single incident in the Transat Jacques Vabre,” testified Ronan Lucas. Accompanied by Sébastien Josse, Armel Le Cléac’h won the transatlantic race in the fall.

Tom Laperche in the lead after a week

The boat is expected in Recife between Sunday night and Monday by part of the technical team. This is the first technical stopover for one of the six sailboats entered in this round-the-world race between multihulls, which left Brest on January 7.

Sunday at 6 p.m., the race was still led by a duo. Tom Laperche’s SVR Lazartigue thus occupied first place, 50 miles ahead of Charles Caudrelier’s Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Further back, the Sodebo Ultim 3 helmed by Thomas Coville completes the trio, 400 miles behind.

For the moment, all the skippers are still in the race despite the difficulties that the six ships have faced. In the middle of the weeks, the skippers were confronted with gusts recorded at 50 knots (92 km/h), rough seas and thunder. “Physically, it was very athletic. We have passed this big, slightly stressful trap, and we are continuing the road towards better conditions,” explained Armel Le Cléac’h on Thursday, thinking at that moment to have passed these difficulties without damage.