Antoine and Hélène were on the podium in February!
Every month, we invite you to discover who the participants in the EXCESS Challenge were who reached the podium! This exceptional virtual record allows all the "finisher participants" of the course to win by drawing lots for a catamaran worth €300,000!
On 28th February, "virtual skippers" Antoine and Hélène finished the record course in 2nd and 3rd place respectively, behind Joanna Chmarzewska. Placed third in January, Joanna reached the top step of the podium in February thanks to her boat Sail Away with a time of 2d 12h 37'. The race committee congratulates these 3 competitors and is inviting you to discover the tricks that helped them to get on the virtual podium of the EXCESS Challenge!
What did you think of the course?
Antoine: The route looks like the ideal course I’d like to do on board my own Excess catamaran. The coasts are magnificent, the waters are ideal for swimming, the harbors are welcoming for visitors... all this makes me dream. However, this is a speed record so there's no way we're hanging about, en route!
Hélène: This route is a real challenge. In order to achieve a good time, the wind must be exactly right for the route to be covered. Good weather windows are short. You mustn’t let yourself slow down too much, to avoid falling behind the other challengers.
Your best strategy?
Antoine: The challenge isn’t over, so I'm not going to say everything now, but what really counts is to respect the fundamentals of sailing. This means choosing the right time to start, using the right sails and steering the most efficient headings.
Hélène: Wait for the best weather window and leave yourself a little margin, just in case. You must constantly make sure you have the right sail and heading. It's particularly difficult at night, so I had to do watches, just like in the real life of a sailor! I also defined the catamaran's polars based on the boat's performance during my first attempt. The polars proved very useful for my second attempt!
Any difficulties encountered?
Antoine: Approaching Cannes, a small zone of high pressure (which means little wind – Ed.) came through my path. I made a mistake in strategy by trying to cross it rather than bypass it. I won't make that mistake again.
Hélène: The south-east and east coast of Corsica was a particularly difficult passage, due to a very unstable wind. The weather window was perfect for my departure from Barcelona, but not good for passing through this area in good conditions. I had to make another attempt, taking this problem into account.
What did you prefer?
Antoine: This game is very precise: the weather maps change every hour and the positions are accurate. We're very close to reality here. It’s possible to approach the coasts and even see yourself advancing in real time skimming past the ports. It feels like you’re really there! The rivalry between participants is interesting. I still have a little hope of taking first place from Sail Away: that’s a hell of a competitor! I noticed that the boat could do almost 14 knots when the wind was strong enough. If the conditions allow, it must be possible to complete the course in less than 60 hours!
Hélène: Trying to win a virtual record by following real conditions is a lot of fun! As I’ve never sailed in the Mediterranean, I am sure that my new knowledge of weather in this area will improve my sailing skills. The hope of winning an EXCESS catamaran is exciting and I’m sharing this excitement with my whole family. We have always dreamed of having a boat that is both seaworthy and comfortable to take us on adventures outside Sweden.
If you too want to be one of the best "virtual skippers" in the EXCESS Challenge and try to win a catamaran worth €300,000
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