ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE - Brest: first solo round-the-world race aboard an Ultim 32/23!


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

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

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

Solo around the world aboard an Ultim 32/23: An historic first in racing!

Five world-class skippers are already registered for this exceptional race and there will potentially be seven ‘Giants of the Seas’ that set off from Brest to attempt to complete a circumnavigation of the world from West to East, via the 3 Capes (Good Hope, Leewin and Horn). It will be a human and technological challenge carried by the sailors of the Ultim 32/23 Class supported by their owners and partners.

While well-known sailors such as Francis Joyon, Dame Ellen MacArthur, Thomas Coville and François Gabart have already completed the course solo in multihulls and solo, none have ever done so 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. The anticyclonic systems, with little wind, as well as the depressions, most often the source of strong winds, will dictate the life of the sailors on board and will influence the strategies adopted.

The race around the world will start with the descent of the Atlantic, followed by the crossing of the Indian Ocean and then the Pacific Ocean, before 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. The atmosphere in this area mixes hot 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 calms and stormy squalls alternate without any real logic, requiring increased vigilance on this first part of the race to get out of this trap as quickly as possible.

Then comes the longest and most difficult part, which requires the skippers to seize the weather phenomena coming from the west to glide 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 three-fifths of the solo round the world trip. It requires sailors to maintain their trajectory on a downwind train while coping with sequences of disturbances driven by powerful north-westerly winds, passages of fronts with squalls and icy wind shifts. A demanding mixture for sailors as well as for machines.

Finally, the passing of the mythical Cape Horn marks the ascent to Brest, with around 8,000 miles still to go before the finish. The competitors will once again have to contend with the Saint Helena anticyclone, the stormy depressions in Brazil, the Doldrums, the trade winds from the northern hemisphere, and potential Atlantic depressions requiring intense concentration right until the very end, as the skippers cross the long-awaited finish line in the harbour of Brest.

A new challenge for OC Sport Pen Duick, organizer of the biggest offshore races

OC Sport Pen Duick, a subsidiary and the sports event branch of the Télégramme Group, is well known for organising leading offshore races including the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, the Solitaire du Figaro, The Transat CIC and the Transat en Double Concarneau – Saint Barthélemy.

The ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE - Brest is a major new challenge and one which the company will bring its years of expertise in the sector to organising, supported and amplified by the commitment of Arkéa and the city of Brest.

This solo round the world race will undoubtedly be unique and will highlight values ​​shared by the sailors, the organiser, and partners: emotion, determination and humility.

An exceptional race and sailors!

There are few sailors who can step up to the challenge of this race, and this is what makes them exceptional. These sailors will test their own physical and mental capacities as they face extremely difficult conditions and their own limits. Facing some of the most hostile and remote environments on the planet, the race will no doubt create the greatest heroes of ocean sailing.


Arkéa, the continuation of an historic commitment to offshore racing

To support events in the heart of its territories, Arkéa is committed to local players and the economy. Through this partnership, and the launch of this new major sporting event, it was therefore important to put Brest and the entire region at the forefront. Arkéa wishes to create links and it with its strong regional roots, it was a natural fit for the Group to work 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 bold projects aligned with its values. The ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE - Brest 2023 promises to be a multi-faceted race: it's brand-new and will see the Ultim class and its skippers race around the world race non-stop and solo for the first time. It is also an event that will have a sustainable approach embedded within it, corresponding to the group's commitments for a positive ecology in the face of the transitions of tomorrow.

This partnership on the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest 2023 is an extension 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 Filière Excellence Course in wide, set up by the Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne federation on the Figaro calendar. Arkéa thus supports, on land and on the oceans, all players who share this same passion for sailing and the sea.


Brest, the “Port of Records”, lives up to its name

‘Brest Métropole Océane’, ‘Brest Port of Records’ and now ‘Brest, start and finish port of the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE - Brest 2023’. A list of names that confirms the strong commitment of this territory of Finistère and the Brittany Region towards sailors, the open sea, and the most advanced technological challenges.

Through its commitment to this new challenge, the Brittany Region will highlight the human and technological resources of Brittany and its contribution to the construction of these giants of the seas. This race also makes it possible to promote the entire local economic fabric of Finistère which, thanks to its shipyards and their human resources, will also contribute towards the success of the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest.

Finally, Brest and its famous harbour, has an exceptional body of water and aims to become much more than the port of records by hosting this unique and extreme race. This event will further enhance its position as one of the most important ports in the major events of French offshore racing.

They said:


Julien Carmona, Chairman of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa:Arkéa supports sporting events that resonate with its human and cooperative values ​​and with its taste for innovation. The group's past and future are intimately linked to Brest and its metropolis. It was therefore only natural for Arkéa to join forces with local players to support the launch, in Brest, of a new Ultim class race. We also aim to increase our support for the maritime 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 race in the Ultim class illustrates our passion for sailing and the sea, while echoing our support for 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 communication and promotion of their activities, based on a strong and value-creating brand.

Hervé Favre, President OC Sport Pen Duick:Last December, we were very happy to be able to announce Brest as the port of departure and arrival of the 2023 Ultim Round the World Solo Tour. Today, we are proud to announce that the Crédit Mutuel - Arkéa group has become the title partner of this already legendary race and is christening it ‘ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest’. Having such a partner by our side, that is historically committed to ocean racing, and with whom we share the same values ​​and commitments, reinforces our ambition to go further in this exceptional sport that is ocean racing.

Arkéa will accompany 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 materialized without the confidence of all the players and owners of the large ocean-going trimarans and the Class 32/23. We would like to thank them warmly. And so, we look ahead to 2023, a year that promises to be filled with emotions, sea spray and extraordinary sporting exploits!”

Edouard Coudurier, Chairman and CEO Groupe Télégramme: "The Groupe Télégramme and its subsidiary OC Sport Pen Duick are very pleased to welcome the Crédit Mutuel - Arkéa group, as the title partner of the first Ultim 32/23 solo round-the-world race that will start from Brest. All the conditions are now met, and the teams of the Télégramme group are fully committed to make this great event a sporting, human and media success.

The Télégramme Group is pleased to contribute to strengthening Brest, headquarters of the Crédit Mutuel Arkéa group, as a reference port for major maritime challenges, as well as the Ultim 32/23 class, within the framework of a long-term partnership of which the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest will be the highlight.”

Loïg Chesnais-Girard, President of the Brittany Region: “Once again, Brittany will participate in the writing of a new page in the history of nautical races by inaugurating the first round the world in an Ultim. It is always a source of pride to launch these new challenges and a privilege to witness them first-hand. The rivalry between these ultra-fast giants of the seas promises an exceptional spectacle and unprecedented competition, which will also highlight the technical prowess made possible 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 able to unite the players in our territory. I commend the commitment of the Arkéa group to be by 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 ambition and long-term work to make Brest, and its harbour, the most beautiful in the world, the start and finish port of the Ultims, to welcome these exceptional boats. I have no doubt that the public will fully support, and that this event will become a beautiful and popular festival.”

Maël De Calan - President of the Departmental Council of Finistère: “The Departmental Council is proud to support water sports and the sector of excellence represented by ocean racing in Finistère. Already present with the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race, La Solitaire du Figaro, the Transat double-handed 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 Round the World will be a human and technological challenge for the teams that will take part in it. Sailing such machines alone will require approaching this race with great humility and pragmatism, to successfully complete this adventure and eventually 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 has materialized thanks to the commitment of OC Sport Pen Duick, who will 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 unite the skippers and owners 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 the private and public economic actors who allow this new race to see the light of day and help us faithfully to promote our sport and its values. I wish a great success to the ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest 2023 and a beautiful sea to the participants.”

Patricia Brochard, President of the Ultim 32/23 Class: “The Ultim 32/23 Class has been nurturing this ambition to see its fantastic machines circle the planet, racing and solo, for years. This extraordinary project is now a reality. We rejoice because it was a long road to get there. Territories of the Great West, title partner now and each of us, with the organizer OC Sport Pen Duick, can now aim towards a single objective: its success. Everything is in place to achieve this.”


Brest Métropole
Région Bretagne
Département du Finistère
Brasserie de Bretagne