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A Record Number Of Single Handed Rum Runners

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  • A Record Number Of Single Handed Rum Runners

    With less than 40 days to the start of the 11th edition of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe solo transatlantic race, sailors, partners, organisers and journalists gathered at the Maison de la Radio in Paris today for the official presentation of the race.

    For this 40th anniversary staging of the race, a record number of single-handed sailors will take part with 124 boats in six classes expected on the startline in the Bay of St Malo on November 4 for the 3,542-nautical mile voyage to Point-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe.

    The fleet will be made up of both professional and amateur sailors all looking for victory in the “queen of transatlantic solo races”, which is both a technological and sporting challenge, and for some an extraordinary experience or fulfillment of the dream of a lifetime.

    This time the fleet is more varied than usual and the 11th edition gives pride of place to a large representation of amateurs. For the first time in the history of the race the amateur “Rhum” class is divided into two with a monohull division and a multihull division.

    With 53 boats registered, the Class40 fleet also adds its share of amateurs setting out on an extraordinary adventure. Together they make up one third of the total field, and these architects, business leaders, physiotherapists, tobacco experts or firefighters will write a new page of Rhum history as they make their way westwards across the Atlantic.

    There is a large contingent of French Breton sailors (47%), but 20% of the fleet is from outside France with British entrants the most numerous with six sailors including two women. There are also sailors from Japan and Finland; there are two from Switzerland, three Germans, three Americans, three Belgians and one from Sweden. It’s a cosmopolitan fleet that underlines that the magic of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe extends well beyond the borders of France.

    Getting 124 boats safely away from the same startline on November 4 is not going to be easy, so the race organisers have devised a line that will stretch for two-and-a-half miles and will be divided into four parts. The Ultimes – the biggest and fastest boats - will have one section to themselves, then it will be the sector for Multi50s and Rhum Multis, then a section for IMOCAs and finally a segment for Class40s and Rhum Monohulls.

    With 50,000m2 dedicated to the event at the race village at the foot of the walls of the “Corsair city”, St Malo is ready to celebrate this anniversary edition of the race first staged in 1978. The Duguay-Trouin (IMOCA) and Vauban (Class40, Multi 50, Multi Rhum, Mono Rhum, Ultime Use it Again) harbours will welcome this extraordinary fleet, while the large trimarans in the Ultime category will gather at the Maritime Station. From October 24 to November 4, the public is expected in large numbers – there were 2.2 million visitors in 2014 – ready to enjoy this great festival of offshore racing. View the full St Malo schedule here.

    For the first time, it will be in front of the iconic Memorial ACTe in Guadeloupe –dedicated to the memory of victims of trafficking and slavery - that the solo mariners will cross the finish line at the end of the race where the esplanade will vibrate to the rhythm of the race and its heroes.

    The Bas du Fort Marina will be a centre of entertainment while the Guadeloupian culture will be honored in Basse-Terre where the famous buoy off the coast - the last point of the course before the finish - will once again be a focus of suspense as winners in each class are decided. Full the Guadeloupe schedule here.

    The official website,, has been given an anniversary makeover and comes with a new mobile race App which is available today on the Apple Store and Google Play. Having become Official Digital Supplier of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe last June, Niji conceived and developed the new website and App with the team at OC Sport Pen Duick, the race owner and organiser. A clean design, easy access to multi-media content and customisable navigation, provide a new digital experience to enable fans to fully live the race.

    They said:

    Ary Chalus, President of the Guadeloupe Region:
    "After months of preparation by organisers and partners, here we are! From St Malo, more than 120 solo sailors are preparing to challenge the Atlantic and put their tenacity and competitive spirit to the test to reach Pointe-à-Pitre. And in Guadeloupe, it is the whole archipelago that is preparing to welcome the sailors, their teams, organisers and visitors, for the 11th time in 40 years. Because between St Malo and Pointe-à-Pitre, between Brittany and Guadeloupe, this is a true love story that has been built and strengthened over the years, and has been going on for 40 years. It’s time to celebrate four decades of adventure and intense emotions. And we will be at the build-up to race start in St Malo where Guadeloupe will bring the flavors of victory to sailors and visitors through the presence of our companies and cultural events. From 9 November, the finish of the race will be celebrated for the first time on the magnificent esplanade at the ACTe Memorial in Pointe-à-Pitre. With its long seafront, the public will delight in the arrival of the giants of the seas. In all, three villages will celebrate the finish until November 25: the very festive Memorial ACTe, the very educational Marina and the gourmet, Basse-Terre. 2018, the Guadeloupe Region and its partners will meet you in the islands of Guadeloupe! "

    Loïg Chesnais-Girard, President of the Regional Council of Brittany:
    "Forty years of Route du Rhum is 40 years of adventure, technology, solidarity and the support of the general public. The Brittany Region is a partner because it is its role to be alongside those who promote this beautiful image of a conquering Brittany, to the rest of the world."

    Maurice Bourrigaud, Managing Director of the Banque Populaire Grand Ouest:
    "For the Banque Populaire Grand Ouest, being the Main Partner of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, is to be fully part of the continuity of its commitments in the sailing universe. For 29 years, daring, performance and team spirit have been the values ​​we support with envy and pleasure. We are on the side of those who dare, those who change the game. For this legendary race, there is only one word: success is in you!"

    Mathieu Sarrot, Events Director OC Sport Pen Duick: “This 40th anniversary edition promises to be exceptional. What better gift to celebrate this birthday than a set of the best sailors taking part, the most successful boats in all categories and many stories that will enrich the Legend of the Rhum?

    In St Malo, an increasingly ambitious race village of more than 50,000 m2, 124 sailors and exhibitors will welcome the two million visitors expected. An event on this scale had to promote a cause and a responsible movement and we are thus proud to be associated with the Call for the Common World Ocean of Humanity. Finally, Guadeloupe, title sponsor of the race until 2026, is preparing to welcome all the sailors in an iconic setting, the ACTe Memorial. See you in St Malo from October 24 “.

    Claude Renoult, Mayor of the city of St Malo: “The city of St Malo has always been the starting point of this legendary Route du Rhum race. For 40 years we have lived every four years to the rhythm of this great adventure. As a PREMIUM partner, we have a real commitment to this event that mobilises the entire community of St Malo. Inhabitants, tradesmen, municipal agents, elected representatives, we are all ready to welcome you to the 11th edition of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, which promises to be exceptional. Welcome to St Malo! ”
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    53 Class 40's To Start Route du Rhum

    The largest fleet in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 2018 – the solo transatlantic race that starts from St Malo on November 4th – is the Class40 monohull division with 53 sailors taking part.

    This record entry, that makes up almost half the total 123-strong fleet in this four-yearly classic, includes men and women from 10 nations sailing a variety of boats designed within the parameters of what has become an extremely successful class rule.

    The Class40 record for the 3,542-nautical mile course to Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean was set by the Spanish yachtsman Alex Pella with a time of 16 days, 17 hours and 47 minutes in 2014. The best in the class this time will be looking to challenge that, though only the very latest designs sailed by experienced solo ocean racers are likely to do so.

    With the exception of the Mini-Transat – a solo transatlantic race sailed in smaller boats - no single ocean race has seen so many entries in one class as this Class 40 fleet for this, the eleventh staging and 40th anniversary edition of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.

    The 53 contenders who will take the same startline on November 4th, include no less than three former winners of La Solitaire du Figaro (Kito de Pavant, Nicolas Troussel, Yoann Richomme), not to mention sailors who have already participated in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe (Sam Goodchild, Nicolas Jossier, Claire Pruvot, Halvard Mabire) or those who have raced in the Transat Jacques Vabre or The Transat (Maxime Sorel, Antoine Carpentier, Louis Duc, Arthur Le Vaillant, Aymeric Chapellier, Bertrand Delesne, Loic Fequet, Arthur Hubert, Hiroshi Kitada, Robin Swamp, Miranda Merron, Olivier Roussey, Phil Sharp).

    Class40s have been taking part in the four-yearly Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe since 2006 when Britain’s Phil Sharp won the division in a time of 18 days, 10 hours. But since then advances in design have seen this course record come down by a day in each subsequent race. In 2010 Frenchman Thomas Ruyant reached Point-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe after 17days and 23 hours, while Alex Pella took another day off that in 2014.

    Of course, the weather conditions in the English Channel, the Bay of Biscay and the north Atlantic in the days immediately after the start will have a significant impact on race time. But it is clear from recent races that the newest boats in the class are capable of going quicker still with daily distances of over 350 nautical miles now possible – quite something for 40-foot monohulls.

    This reflects the increasingly radical design profiles of the newest boats which, despite conforming to class rules limiting sail area, displacement and draft (three metres), are looking more and more like the fastest IMOCA class boats – the 60-footers that race in the Vendée Globe solo round-the-world race.

    Within this category at the head of the fleet are 15 skipper-boat combinations that are performing closer and closer to the 60s, even without the use foils or canting keels which are not permitted in the class rule. At the head of this group is the British sailor, Phil Sharp (Imerys Clean Energy) who not only won in 2006, but with his two-year-old Manuard-designed boat has been regularly on the podium and winning races including the Round Britain Race and the Normandy Channel Race.

    Alongside him are two French sailors in brand new – and formidable-looking - Lombard designs: Louis Duc (Carac) and Yoann Richomme (Veedol). They are both highly experienced and their big and powerful hulls make them among the favourites to reach Guadeloupe first.

    Then there is a group also sailing Samuel Manuard designs who will be contenders that include Nicolas Troussel (Corum), Maxime Sorel (V & B), Arthur Le Vaillant (Leyton France), Luke Berry (Lamotte-Module Creation) and Aymeric Chapellier (Aina-Childhood and Future). Other boats to watch out for will be those from the board of Guillaume Verdier ​​sailed by the likes of Kito de Pavant (Made in Midi) or Antoine Carpentier (Custo Pol). In short, this is going to be an extremely competitive division in which sailors in closely-matched boats will fight it out, hour-by-hour across the Atlantic.

    The class includes three female sailors in the French women Morgane Ursault-Poupon (Fleury Michon Bio), Claire Pruvot, in an as yet unnamed boat, and the British veteran Miranda Merron (Campaign France). There are also three contenders from the Caribbean - Dominique Rivard (#Marie Galante), Carl Chipotel (Pep 'Gwadeloup!) And Rodolphe Sepho (Dream wide).

    Here are the thoughts of Emmanuel Le Roch who will sail Edenred: "Since I was a child, I wanted to participate in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. I nearly did it in 2006 in a multihull but then, a year ago, I had the opportunity to buy a Class40, a division where there is good competition for a reasonable budget. I got hold of a boat in good condition based in La Trinité where I work in a boat rental company. This is a 2010-vintage Pogo S2 that took part in the Rhum with Damien Grimont in 2014. Of course, I have no chances to actually win but I want to get to the other side with a decent performance. I have already done more than 5,000 miles at sea on Edenred and I have done quite a lot of solo sailing ... "
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3
      The Humble Joyon

      Oct 26, 2018 | News

      Despite these hundreds of thousands of miles in the wake of his exceptional career, drawn on all the oceans of the world, and after already 6 participations in the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, it is a Francis Joyon full of humility and modesty who moored yesterday to the pontoons of the great multihulls of the Ultimate Class in Saint-Malo.

      Modesty in front of this incredible plateau of 123 skippers and face to the thousands of lovers of the sea and the race offshore attracted by this great transatlantic dream, and humility before the work to realize, a crossing of the ocean, alone with the soundbar maxi trimaran IIDEC SPORT. Always as perfectionist and refractory to any delegation of work, except perhaps to his small group of preparers, Francis can not help but meddle personally with these thousand and one technical or logistical details that will take, past the gun of the November 4, a vital importance, for himself and for the performance. The pre-departure stand-by promises to be busy and rich in new encounters.

      Incorrigible touch to everything!
      " No ! I am not jaded! The man of the greatest records, who no longer counts his crossings of the Atlantic in and out of the race, arrives in Saint-Malo inhabited by the same passion, the same desire, the same doubts that 28 years ago when, on board his unlikely catamaran jigsaw puzzle of odds and ends, he lined up for his first rum experience. " I think I take this job too seriously! He amuses himself; " I can not help struggling to put my nose in the slightest details. To each of my "rums", I try to do better, to push my preparation a little further than the previous one. "

      Passion intact
      " My passion is intact. That's why I keep aligning myself with these races. The Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe is full of mystery, unknowns. This generates an impatience that I do not control, which is the expression of my passion for this activity. No one knows what really awaits us when we are alone aboard our machines, watching the earth move away. It's an impatience, a thrill that we do not get tired of. "

      Curious about others ...
      Francis Joyon remains faithful to himself, unable to calculate, but always curious about others. " I always enjoy meeting new people and interacting with enthusiasts. I will try to preserve myself a little this week, to return every day a little more in the skin of a loner, but the atmosphere of Saint-Malo I like, because it has many beautiful encounters in power. "
      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        Gitana Flys Again


        Of the six Utims engaged, three are "flying". With the Gitana Team, Sébastien Josse was one of the first to fly offshore. Before this one-week sprint alone, the skipper of "Edmond de Rothschild" admits that the three pilots "miss flight hours. We are pioneers ".

        Since the foil worries in the Transat Jacques Vabre, what have you changed on the boat?

        Both foils were broken. It was purely mechanical, it was hard to keep them in place. The foil in the wind had such impacts in the water that it generated 2 millimeters of play. Whenever it hit the water, it's like putting a hammer on it. And it's delaminated like that.

        The development of these machines seems long and complicated ...

        Put a boat like this one in the water and go on a crew reduced two months later, it's hot. Plaster was wiped in terms of focus, knowledge of the boat. We were in the red. The timing of the races pushes us to accelerate our preparations but it is rare that with such prototypes, we go racing a few months after the launch.

        And today, where are you?

        It's still the same boat but it's a boat that we had time to develop. The development of such a trimaran is two years. After two years, we can consider that the boat will be mature, that the team will be mature, that the skipper at maturity. After a year, it's already great. Technically, we have passed a course. But the size and complexity of these boats, that makes everything long, long ...

        The capsizing of "Banque Populaire IX", another flying multihull, what inspires you?

        It's multihull, so we know it can capsize. When you do multi, it's omnipresent. We know that it can happen. We, at the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre, we almost went there twice with Thomas Rouxel. So yes, we have this in mind all the time. Even if it is bigger, it has more inertia, that there is on our current trimarans more security than on the MOD70 or, worse the 60 feet Orma. Flying or not flying, this is not the subject. You can get upside down without flying.

        You say that today's flying trimarans are less snappy than the MOD70s?

        In terms of driving and driving yes, that's for sure. And MOD70 are not comparable to Orma. In 60 feet Orma, I think they all had the ball in the belly as soon as they had to do solitaire.

        There are three flying trimarans at the start. Do you think the three skippers have enough flying hours to go solo?

        Clearly no. Me, I have five days alone with no one on board. Either my qualification plus another navigation equivalent to my qualification. Real solo, where when you sleep, you know you have no one on the bridge. Where, psychologically, you're stressed. There, you can not count on you, on your ability to react. When we sleep, we do not sleep soundly because we know that there is nobody on the bridge. You are on a wire and you have to play on this thread.

        To go to sleep, you must calm the game to not fly?

        Flight must not be equated with instability. When we fly, we fly flat. First, we fly by not being cradled. Speed ​​can be stressful, but you have to get used to it. When you fly at 42 knots, you're not two fingers to capsize. The boat will land or go into archimedean mode, it will go down to 35 knots and that is where there may be a risk. He may have a moment of rest and, there, we will have to react. This is the phase where the boat will resume grip, that's where it can be complicated. Every time we go out to sea alone, we know that we take the risk of getting upside down.

        Instead of flying very high, we can see that the boats are flying at low level. It is voluntary ?

        We call it "skimming", we touch the water. Thus, we have more stability, less untimely dropouts. Basically, we break the figure of less high. We do not have the right to enslavement, so we try to fly like that. The day we will be able to adjust our four appendages in one second, we can fly higher.

        Flying on a Route du Rhum that lasts seven days is one thing but do you think it is reasonable to do it around the world and in race moreover?

        It's a good question. There is the time of the development, the time of the grip, these are incompressible durations. It takes experience and nobody has experience on these boats. Whoever spends the most time on the water is the one who will be most confident. If there are two Ultimate who are upside down on the Route du Rhum, it is certain that we will have to rest the question of the world tour.

        In Saint-Malo, on November 4th, Sébastien Josse will be in the shoes of a favorite, an outsider?

        I do not watch the set. I am told about the Champions League in the Ultimate but it is the Virtual Champions League because the boats have never sailed together. The skippers do not all have the same experience, not all the same level, not the same experience. The question "who is the favorite of the Route du Rhum" bother me a little because we are not there. We are trying to accumulate hours of solo sailing on a flying boat. We are pioneers, it will be a first. Nobody has this to his credit. And the guy who will manage his boat well, manage the flight, maybe even without flying, will win the Route du Rhum. We all have the potential to win even the old boats. There are three fabulous boats that can write history. Or not. So let's take it all with tweezers.

        During the preparation courses, we saw that Gitana 17 was quite comfortable ...

        Yes but it is not at all representative of what we will live alone. We will not all be equal to manage our stress at 45 knots alone, we will not be in the same state of fatigue. When you are on an internship in Port-la-Forêt, there are five people on board, everyone settles it to the little onions, we are all fresh and ready, we do ten maneuvers in 24 hours ... The Route du Rhum, it's not that. There is the night before, the exit of the Channel at night with 25 knots of southwest, the intense maritime traffic, etc. But hey, the stage showed that we had worked well, the boat was reliable, we start going fast, we still have under the hood.

        Do you have pressure from your sponsor?

        Not at all. There is no pressure because we are going into the unknown. We're going into something we do not know. Before looking at the set, to know how my opponents are going, I first want to know if I know how to control this kind of boat and if I have enough hours of flight. And the answer today is that no one has enough hours of solo flying. Only after the Route du Rhum will we begin to build this experience of offshore flight alone. That's just the base. Yes, the Route du Rhum is a fabulous race, it's the 40 years of the transatlantic race, we all want to hang on to our track record but we have another challenge because we are at the limit of what the we can do alone. At the time, when we saw Alain Colas leave on machines disproportionate, we wondered if they would arrive on the other side.

        Do you already feel the pressure?

        Yes, everything will be stressful: the start of the pontoon, go to the starting area, wait for the start, start with all the competitors. From November 4th until the arrival, there will be stress. I think I have enough experience, common sense or coolness to handle all this. Before thinking of going fast, you must not take a boat before Ouessant. Until Ouessant, it's hot. We can capsize at Cape Fréhel. Remember, in 60 feet Orma, Franck Cammas had capsized the Seven Islands. You can go to 40 knots but if you take a tire or a cargo ship, well ... So priority to the day before, it will be necessary to be vigilant. There is no question of betting on the entry performance. We tend to trivialize what we do, we are told about a record, crossing the Atlantic in five days with our flying boats. Okay, very good but that's theory. Practice is something else and we do not have it.

        To get to the other side is the assurance of a good place?

        Of course, but I'm not going to go "two ris-stays", that's not the way I want to sail. The boat has to go to 40 knots and I will go to 40 knots. After, there are different ways to go to 40 knots: with confidence, I have some. Up to a certain wind and sea state, I know that I can spread safely. And there is going to 40 knots in over-revving and there is the danger. Because, if there is a grain of sand at that time, it can be the accident or the exit of road which will cost you 100 miles. And there, the guy who is not over-revving, he doubles you.
        Last edited by Photoboy; 10-26-2018, 09:44 AM.
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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        • #5
          Relaxed And Ready

          1 Nov 2018 | News

          After a brief stay at his home in Locmariaquer, with his family, Francis Joyon found his boat, wisely docked in front of the ferry terminal of Saint-Malo. He thus really enters the countdown that grazes the hours to the starting gun on Sunday at 14 hours.

          With its 6 editions disputed since 1990, it is with a certain phlegm that the skipper of maxi-trimaran IDEC SPORT contemplate the frenzy that has seized the basins of Saint Malo. Always surrounded by his faithful Corentin (his son), Pic (Sébastien Picot), Antoine Blouet, and David Leven, it is in full zenitude that he awaits the arrival of his "historic" teammates, Bernard Stamm and Gwénolé Gahinet and Quentin Ponroy, who will come Saturday to support him during the crucial last hours to the starting line.

          " I feel surprisingly serene. I have every confidence in my boat and its assets. This Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe will be the first confrontation between the new generation of so-called "flying" boats, and the oldest one to which belongs IDEC SPORT. It's a bit of the quarrel of the Moderns and the Ancients, Horatii and Curiaces. I remain convinced that the human factor is preponderant on this transatlantic. That's why I worked a lot this summer on the repetition of heavy maneuvers. The maneuvering times are much longer than on my old boat. This must be taken into account in road choices. All these maneuvers are time consuming. We are more than double the recovery torque, so the boat's efforts are doubled compared to the former IDEC. "

          " I followed the races of Groupama 3 and Banque Populaire VII in 2010 and 2014. They had followed more direct routes with as few maneuvers as possible. This will not necessarily be my case, because if the road is short, it is worthwhile to multiply the maneuvers. "

          Phlegmatic, Francis slowly begins to look at the weather files of the departure. Christian Dumard and Gwénolé Gahinet will constitute his ground support cell, authorized for the organizer on this Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe. "They are two great professionals who are very complementary. They know each other very well, and Gweno is familiar with the boat. "

          The co-holder of the Jules Verne Trophy aboard IDEC SPORT Bernard Stamm and Quentin Ponroy will be on board on Sunday to support Francis Joyon in the last minute maneuvers. With Gweno and Bernard Stamm, "I almost reunited the crew of the Jules Verne Trophy" plays Francis.
          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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          • #6
            20 For The 4th

            20 IMOCAs competing in the Route du Rhum: a class that is rapidly expanding

            On Sunday 4th November in Saint-Malo, 20 monohulls from the Imoca Class will be lining up at the start of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, the first solo event in the IMOCA Globe Series, the class's new world championship. A record number of entrants and an exceptional and varied line-up confirm that the class is thriving and continually developing.

            More good news: at least seven new boats will be lining up in the next Vendée Globe with the latest announcement coming from the Japanese sailor, Kojiro Shiraishi.

            2018 Route du Rhum: the second event in the IMOCA Globe Series, the first sailed solo

            The Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe is going to be very competitive and interesting to follow, as it is the first solo event in the IMOCA Globe Series. The IMOCA class world championship includes eight events with various weightings over the period 2018-2021. The winning skipper of the IMOCA Globe Series will be crowned world champion in 2021.

            Before the Route du Rhum, one double-handed race has taken place: the Monaco Globe Series, which was won by Paul Meilhat and Gwénolé Gahinet.
            This IMOCA Globe Series world championship aims to satisfy the enthusiasm of the sailors on their way to the 2020 Vendée Globe. It was necessary to offer a strong race programme to the class and maintain the interest between two editions of the solo round the world race, which marks the pinnacle of the IMOCA calendar.The events in the IMOCA Globe Series are also identified in the Notice of Race for the Vendée Globe as qualifiers and will be used to select competitors for the 2020 race. What this really means is that those sailors who qualify and cover the greatest distance in races on the official calendar will obtain their ticket for the Vendée Globe.

            An exceptional line-up for the Route du Rhum

            This is the seventh time that theIMOCA fleet has taken part in the Route du Rhum. With twenty sailors competing in the 11th edition, there have never been so many of these monohulls since they first took part back in 1994. As a comparison, there were nine IMOCAs in the previous edition in 2014.The line-up is extremely varied with in particular three women setting off and five European nationalities represented (France, Britain, Germany, Switzerland and Finland). Among the twenty skippers competing in the 2018 Route du Rhum, ten were at the start of the 2016-2017 Vendée Globe. The ten others are new projects, which proves how there is a strong replenishment rate in the IMOCA class.

            Another fact that stands out with this edition of the Route du Rhum is the presence of ten IMOCAs fitted with foils, which represents exactly half of the fleet.

            Already seven brand new boats aiming for the 2020 Vendée Globe
            Only one IMOCA boat from the latest generation is registered for the Route du Rhum, Jérémie Beyou's Charal, which was launched on 21st August. But for the 2020 Vendée Globe, at least six other new monohulls will be lining up. Four skippers have already made their project official: Charlie Dalin, Sébastien Simon, Alex Thomson and Armel Tripon. The Japanese skipper, Kojiro Shiraishi will also be present in 2020 with a new generation IMOCA. He will be setting sail around the world aboard a sistership to Jérémie Beyou's Charal.

            Provisional schedule for the 2018-2021 IMOCA Globe Series:
            . Event 1: Monaco Globe Series(1st- 8th June 2018): double-handed, weighting of 2 (victory went to Paul Meilhat and Gwénolé Gahinet on SMA)
            . Event 2: Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe(start on 4th November 2018): solo, weighting of 4
            . Event 3: Valencia Mediterranean Globe Series(Spring 2019): double-handed and solo, weighting of 3
            . Event 4: Fastnet Race(5th August 2019): double-handed, weighting of 1
            . Event 5: Transat Jacques Vabre(start in October-November 2019): double-handed, weighting of 3
            . Event 6: The Transat(start on 10th May 2020): solo, weighting of 4
            . Event 7: New York-Vendée(start in June 2020): solo, weighting of 4
            . Event 8: Vendée Globe(start on 8th November 2020): solo, weighting of 10


            REMINDER: Previous winners of the Route du Rhum in the IMOCA category:
            - 1994 : Yves Parlier (Cacolac d'Aquitaine)
            - 1998 : Thomas Coville (Aquitaine Innovations)
            - 2002 : Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher)
            - 2006 : Roland Jourdain (Sill & Veolia)
            - 2010 : Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement)
            - 2014 : François Gabart (Macif)
            Last edited by Photoboy; 11-01-2018, 09:25 AM.
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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            • #7
              Technological dimension, physical commitment, rhythm of life on board: three days before the start of the 11th edition of the Route du Rhum, November 4 in Saint-Malo, here is all you need to know to better understand the race off- standard that awaits Armel Le Cléac'h aboard the Maxi Banque Populaire IX.

              The skipper and Life on Board

              Number of Route du Rhum: 3rd participation
              Last results on the Route du Rhum: 4th in 2006 and 2nd in 2010 in IMOCA (Brit Air) (Brit Air)
              Number of hours of sport per week in the months preceding the race: 8 to 10 hours
              Age of Armel during the first edition of the Route du Rhum: 1 year
              Maximum duration of a sleep phase during the race: 20 minutes
              Number of calories burned per day during the race: 4000 to 4500 (ashore, a man needs 2,500 calories)
              Number of hours per day to analyze the weather by the router: 5h : 5h
              Time spent on 24-hour winch columns: 5 to 6 hours
              Time to hoist a sail or take a reef (that is to say reduce the canvas) in the mainsail: 20 minutes a sail or (that is to say reduce the canvas) in the : 20 minutes

              The Giant of the Seas

              Length: 32 meters
              Width: 23 meters
              Height of the mast: 38 meters (which represents the size of the Corcovado statue in Rio de Janeiro)
              Total weight of the boat: 14 tons
              Mast weight: 1 ton (hollow wing-mast that can be tilted for maximum performance)
              The mast section is so large that a man or woman can climb to the top from the inside
              Size of the living area: 5m2
              The 5 winches are very close to allow Armel to have access to all the maneuvers by taking a step or extending the arm
              Number of sails on board: 5 (one mainsail and 4 sails from before) and 4 sails from before)
              Sail area upwind: 590 m2
              The sail area is 800m2, equivalent to 3 tennis courts
              The submerged surface of the appendages (two foils + three rudders) when the trimaran flies: 4m2 + three rudders) when the trimaran flies: 4m2
              Maximum speed of the boat reached so far: 47 knots (85 km / h in training)
              Number of miles flown since it was launched on October 31, 2017: 18,000 (equivalent to 4 transatlantic).
              The construction of this trimaran lasted 22 months, mobilized 100 people and represented 135,000 working hours

              Onboard Food and Equipment

              Number of dishes on board: 8 freeze-dried dishes / 8 sous-vide s / 8 dishes under vacuum
              The first meal on board: a lentil hock and pear crumble
              To cook, Armel has a stove, a casserole, a kettle, a bowl, a mug and a spork (covered multifunctional titanium)
              Quantity of drinking water on board: 30 liters
              From his bed, Armel can access his kitchen, his chart table and all the data of the boat
              A favorite item: the carbon keys that were offered by the CDK shipyard
              Extras: coca and lollipops

              The Race

              Starting line: 3 miles (5.5 km), the biggest starting line since the creation of the Route du Rhum
              Number of competitors: 123 skippers divided into 6 categories (including 6 skippers in Ultimate) )
              Travel distance from St Malo to Pointe à Pitre: 3,542 miles
              Reference time in Ultime: 7 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes and 32 seconds (Loïck Peyron in 2014 on Banque Populaire VII) : 7 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes and 32 seconds (Loïck Peyron in 2014 on Banque Populaire VII)
              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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              • #8
                Breeze On Conditions Expected For Route du Rhum Start

                All is set in the Brittany port of Saint Malo for the start tomorrow of the 11th edition of the Route-du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe solo transatlantic race which features a record entry of 123-skippers who will tackle very rough conditions in the early stages.

                The 3,542-nautical mile race to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe, which takes place every four years, is one of the top races in the professional solo ocean racing calendar and this 40th anniversary edition includes skippers in six classes from 11 countries with a total of 23 non-French sailors taking part.

                The fleet is led by the six-strong ULTIME class of giant foiling trimarans which will be looking to break the outright seven-day race record. It also includes a 20-strong division of IMOCA monohulls and an unprecedented participation by Class40 monohulls, with 53 entered.


                The Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe almost always features rough weather in the early stages as the skippers head out into the English Channel then cross the Bay of Biscay, as they look to sail south to hook into the Trade Winds that will take them to the Caribbean.

                This race looks to be no exception with weather predictions for excellent conditions at the start tomorrow – with 15-20 knots of breeze – but then the fleet will hit a big depression which blocks the way westwards on Tuesday. At that point the sailors will be dealing with winds of 35-40 knots but with dangerous gusts hitting up to 55 knots.


                It is thought that some sailors will choose to take refuge in other French ports like La Rochelle or Roscoff – the rules allow them to do this without penalty – and then set off again once the worst of the weather has passed.

                “For the start of the race we have good conditions with south, southeast winds of 15-20 knots,” said Race Director Jacques Caraës. “The difficulty afterwards is the big depression coming on Tuesday. It’s a huge system so we will do the start anyway but after that it will be very hard for boats from midday on Tuesday.

                “This is normal for November,” he added, “very frequently at this time of year you have a front coming in. Of course the faster boats can try to avoid the system, but the smaller ones maybe have to have a different strategy. It is not a bad thing to seek shelter in another harbour if they need it and we will help them with that.

                The strategy to finish this race is to sail carefully in the really rough weather.”

                French star Jérémie Beyou is one of the leading contenders in the IMOCA fleet in his brand new 60-footer, Charal. After just two months of sea trials this will be the first time this foiling monohull will have faced big winds and big seas.

                “We have had no major problems since we launched the boat so I am not scared about it, but what I know is that when you are racing solo in 40 knots of wind you always have problems in any IMOCA – an old one or a new one – so I am concentrating on it and I will be very focused on not making mistakes. New boat or not, it is the same.”

                British Class40 sailor Sam Goodchild from Falmouth, at the helm of the Netflix-sponsored Narcos Mexico, is looking forward to getting going after the busy build-up in Saint Malo that has seen over a million people tour the pontoons over the last 10 days.

                “The last few days have been crazy,” said Goodchild who will be contending for the win in Class40s. “We have had so many people coming to see the boat and say hello but now I am thinking about the race and getting stuck in. It’s going to be pretty violent in the first few days weather-wise, but if you want to do the Route du Rhum that’s what you’ve signed up for.”

                Fellow Briton Samantha Davies, who is racing in the IMOCA fleet on board Initiatives Coeur, said: “I am nervous, yes, worried no. They are two different things. I think it is good to be worried. We chose to be here. It will be fine as long as nothing goes wrong. You have to know when to lift your foot off the gas. To win you have to finish, so it’s a case of reducing sail early and making sure we don’t have any problems.”

                French superstar François Gabart, who will sail the huge trimaran MACIF in the ULTIME class, is ready for a six-day thrash to the Caribbean in his super-fast yacht now equipped with foils for the first time. "Physically, you have to be able to push yourself to the limit - we will have to, we have no choice,” he said. “It will not be a pleasure, we will suffer, it will be brutally hard but I will get through it. That is the thing we all have in common - this sheer intensity over six or seven days - because it will be such a fast race. And I will be putting myself in the match from the start.”

                The starting gun will be fired at 14.00hrs local time tomorrow (Sunday) when all 123 yachts will cross one of the longest segmented startlines ever set up in the history of sailing, at three nautical miles. A huge spectator fleet of craft, ranging from large passenger vessels to small motorboats and yachts, is expected to gather to watch the sailors as they head off into the Atlantic.

                While records could be broken in most of the classes, Caraës says that past races show that there will also be a large number of retirements as boats suffer gear failure. In past editions up to 30% of the starters have typically not made it to the finish. “My main hope is that everybody is safe,” he said. “That is the most important thing. For race management it is essential for us to keep in contact with all the boats – that’s why we will run a watch system to monitor them 24 hours-a-day – and they can be in contact with us all the time.”

                Caraës added that he is delighted by the support being shown for this race by the sailing public in France and around the world. “For us it is important to see all this enthusiasm around the race and the huge numbers of people everywhere. It is an incredible race, one of the most famous races, and the different classes have attracted thousands of people to the various marinas in the build-up – it has been a beautiful spectacle.

                “We are also delighted with the participation of skippers from outside France. It is important to internationalise the race and we have more and more foreigners and that is a really good thing for us.”

                The Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe is owned and organised by OC Sport Pen Duick, a subsidiary of the French media conglomerate the Télégramme Group.
                " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                • #9
                  Gabart Leads The Parade

                  Let's go ! The 122 competitors * of the 11th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe stormed the ocean. Crosswind, in about fifteen knots of south-east and a beautiful sea, they started at 2:00 pm under the sun, offering a breathtaking spectacle. Just 34 minutes after kickoff, the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was leading the cape of Fréhel, dropping more than 30 knots on his foils. There remains a little less than 3542 miles to run with a first difficulty tonight: the passage of a depression off Ouessant.


                  After 12 days of celebration in Saint-Malo - over 1, 3 million people in the village! -, the goodbye this morning on the hold of launching had airs of departure in the combat. But at 2 pm, the cannon shot from Pont-Aven, the official flagship of Brittany Ferries by Brune Poirson, Secretary of State to the Minister of State, Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, Roxana Maracineanu, Minister Sports, Ary Chalus, President of the Guadeloupe region and Claude Renoult, the Mayor of Saint-Malo, freed the sailors from the pressure of departure. This time, they are really alone, focused on the first hours of sailing in the English Channel. These will be fast, like the first minutes of racing at more than 30 knots at ULTIME. Crosswind, in irregular south to southeast flow, the 120 miles to Ouessant, at the tip of Brittany, should soon be erased. The ULTIME are expected in the early evening

                  ULTIMATE: threesome at 30 knots average

                  In this category, a good fight is appearing tonight between MACIF, Maxi Banque Populaire IX and Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the three most successful multihulls on paper. Under high mainsail and J2, François Gabart signed the prettiest start, before Sebastien Josse pressed the accelerator pedal to slip into the lead Fréhel. But soon after the mark, a roll of gennaker a little slow aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild allows MACIF to take over and Maxi Banque Populaire IX to interfere in the top three. Behind, Idec Sport and Sodebo Ultim 'cling. More than 30 miles behind, Remade Use it again logically struggles to keep up the pace with a speed at least two times lower than the leaders. And by the time we close these lines,

                  Armel Tripon leads the way in Multi50

                  In these conditions of navigation - flat sea, 15 to 20 knots of crosswind - the Multi50 also made the show, recalling that they were formidable gear. First to draw on the line, the skipper of Réauté Chocolat leads the way in front of his five competitors. A little tense this morning before leaving Saint-Malo, Armel Tripon entered right away in the match. But his rivals are not very far to start with Thibault Vauchel Camus (Solidaires in Peloton - Arsep), Erwan Le Roux (WindowsA-Mix Buffet) and Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema).

                  IMOCA: The time of the foilers.

                  At 100 ° from the wind in a cool medium at 20 knots, the edge was ideal for foilers. A little behind, Jérémie Beyou did not hesitate to demonstrate the potential of Charal between the line and Cape Fréhel, returning meter after meter on PRB. But Vincent Riou, also in great form and author of the best start finally pocketed the Cape Frehel Banque Populaire Trophy in one hour 08. On this ideal edge, the two foilers were right Boris Hermann (Malizia II , Principality of Monaco) which completes this podium at the first score. Party under small gennaker, Alex Thomson was a bit greedy and could not keep up the pace in a swinging wind. The tenors of the class - SMA, UCAR-St Michel, ... - were in ambush. At the door,
                  Find the reactions before the departure of Yann Eliès, Paul Meilhat, Stéphane The Directed, Fabrice Amedeo, Damien Seguin

                  Class40, the big explanation is launched

                  Start Class40
                  It's an impressive line-up of Class40 that started at 14 o'clock on the starting line. Under the wind of the fleet, Antoine Carpentier (Beyond the seas) was immediately the fastest, seizing a leadership he kept until Fréhel. In his wind, the innumerable favorites of the class were exploding. Nicolas Troussel (Corum) sent his gennaker early to glide at a good pace, despite a chop more and more chopped, wind Kito De Pavant (Made in France). In their South, and within a few hundred yards, the pack of postulants clung to the rhythm of the leaders.
                  Find the reactions before the start of Kito de Pavant, Phil Sharp, Sam Goodchild, Romain Rossi, Halvard Mabire, Antoine Carpentier, Nicolas Jossier

                  Rum Multi: A Guadeloupean Fréhel!

                  David Ducosson, at the helm of his 50-foot trimaran Air Antilles - Caseneuve - Maxi Catamaran, makes a no-fault between Pointe du Grouin and Cap Fréhel. Author of a formidable start, in the back of a certain Loïck Peyron (Happy) who, defending title, crossed first the starting line almost in the shot, the Guadeloupe quickly gave the power the wanted sailboat, designed and built by Anne Caseneuve. He seized his head resolutely that he never left, allowing himself more than 15 knots average, to talk to the best Imoca at the passage under the famous cape. Equally impressive, Fabrice Payen (Team wind standing) also armed with a trimaran 50 feet, the heeled at Fréhel, and the favor of always sending delicate gennaker in the breeze, was in first place in the class. Jean François Liliti, the pharmacist of Trévières in Calvados, on his powerful catamaran built in his Norman garden, is a surprising third.

                  Surprise point in Mono Rum

                  The hierarchy is respected and Sidney Gavignet (Coffee Merry) prancing happily in the lead. After a daring line crossing at the bottom of the committee boat, at the extreme south of the line, he kept on widening the gap and held the dredge high to Sébastien Destremeau on his 60-foot ex Imoca (Alcatraz IT Faceocéan). Another favorite of the class, the Italian Andrea Mura (Vento di Sardegna) is at the rendezvous, just a few cables from the duo of leaders. We note the excellent behavior throughout the 17 miles of this segment "show" of the race, Jean Marie Patier on his red cigar (Formative Network), very comfortable in the hood raised by the passage while power previous competitors.
                  Find the reactions before the departure of Sydney Gavignet and Luc Coquelin

                  At what time in Ouessant?
                  Given the current speeds, here is the approximate time of passing the head of each category in Ouessant:
                  - ULTIMATE: 20 hours
                  - Muti50 and IMOCA: 23 hours
                  - Class40 and Multi Rum: 2 am
                  - Mono Rum: 5 hours in the morning.
                  The minimum low that awaits the boats in Ouessant is prolonged by a Thalweg which should slow the progression before catching the winds of North West to darken in the Bay of Biscay.
                  " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                  • #10
                    A Brisk 24 Hours For Route du Rhumsters


                    The majority of the 123-strong Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe solo transatlantic fleet has enjoyed a brisk first 24 hours of racing as they head west into the Atlantic.

                    But while most have settled into the race without major problems, there have been early difficulties for a minority of competitors.

                    Among them are some of the most closely followed boats, including that of Seb Josse and Thomas Coville in the ULTIME class and Jérémie Beyou on board Charal – the newest boat in the 20-strong IMOCA fleet.

                    Those sailors apart, the opening stages have seen the fleet make rapid progress from the start off Saint Malo on Sunday where hundreds of thousands of people came out to watch, as the sailors made the best of fresh south-southeasterly winds in the opening stages of their 3,542-nautical mile voyage to Guadeloupe.

                    Once passed Ushant the choice was whether to head north around the Traffic Separation Scheme at the tip of Brittany or go south and, in the IMOCA fleet, Alex Thomson on Hugo Boss led the way on his own in the north.

                    The move has paid handsome dividends for the British skipper as he continues to lead the division going into day two from Vincent Riou on PRB and Paul Meilhat on SMA.

                    Behind the IMOCAs the battle at the front of the Class40 fleet has been as competitive as might be expected with a tight leading group separated by just a few miles on the water, led by Yoann Richomme on Veedol AIC.

                    Britain’s Phil Sharp in seventh place on IMERYS CLEAN ENERGY has already had to deal with his first technical failure when an internal ballast tank inspection hatch failed, sending 500 litres of water into the boat. Sharp bailed it out and has made running repairs.

                    In the wake of the Class 40s the amateur Rhum Multi and Rhum Mono classes have been making good progress with a handful of boats – among them Loïck Peyron on the small yellow trimaran Happy – choosing to head for shelter in Brest and other Brittany ports to ride out the storm forecast to hit the fleet tomorrow.

                    In his first message from on board, the irrepressible Peyron wrote: “Hello, Happy here. The departure from Saint Malo was beautiful, sailing through the rocky waters surrounded by dolphins and all sorts of lighthouses. We then hit choppy seas.

                    “The Bay of Biscay is grey,” he continued, “but there is a little blue sky on the horizon and a little ray of sun which helps with my viewing through the sextant. I will head as quickly as possible to the shelter of the north coast of Spain before the storm falls on Happy, who for the moment is very happy."

                    The first boat to hit difficulties was Josse’s ULTIME, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, which came to a sudden stop from 25-30 knots of boatspeed just before dawn in the Bay of Biscay at about 135 nautical miles northwest of La Coruna, Spain. The Frenchman went on deck to discover a large part of the forward section of his starboard float had broken off.

                    Cyril Dardashti, Managing Director of Josse’s campaign, said this was a hugely disappointing blow for Josse who had been tipped as a possible race winner. "We don’t know if he hit something,” he said.

                    “It is the windward float. He was well into the rhythm of the race and had no technical problems on board at all. It was all going well. The technical team is already heading to (La Coruna) ready to help secure the boat. But Seb is calm and safe; he is in no immediate danger but the seas are building.”

                    Next to hit trouble was Josse’s fellow countryman Thomas Coville whose Sodebo Ultim’ developed structural problems in one of its forward beams. This has forced Coville also to head to La Coruna to assess the damage with his team.

                    While Gabart now leads, he is being chased by Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire who made a short pitstop off Roscoff but is now back to just 18 miles behind with Francis Joyon on IDEC Sport only another seven miles back in third.

                    Gabart, who is already well south of Cape Finisterre, summarised his progress in what he called “pretty rough seas” during the first night. “We had a small depression to get round with strong wind from the southwest and big waves early in the evening. Then came a transition area with a bit of a lull when the depression went through, so it was not that simple.”

                    For Beyou, meanwhile, his first race on board the brand new VPLP-designed Charal, which sports large foils and an innovative hull design, has not gone as he might have wished. After sailing at the front of the fleet in the early stages, Beyou slipped back in light airs overnight but then reported steering problems which have effectively stopped him in his tracks.

                    “I am not getting out of the low, it's a bit (bad),” said Beyou just before he discovered problems with his steering. “I saw Vincent Riou for a while but he got away at the end of the night. That's a bit of a pain. The boat was good at the start. For sure there have been one or two little problems to fix, but nothing big. I am going to grab some sleep and work out how to get out of here.There are big, cross seas and I have just seven knots of wind.I don't really see when we get out of this bad bit.”

                    In a happier mood was Britain’s Samantha Davies on Initiatives Coeur in seventh place. “Things are going well but this first little depression was a bit more complicated than we first expected,” she said. “It is hard to get going through these confused seas with not so much wind. We can't go very fast. I have to really work on the plan for the next 48 hours.”

                    In each class the Brittany Ferries 24-Hour Trophy has been awarded to the skipper that achieved the greatest distance during the first full day at sea. The winners were Gabart in ULTIMEs, Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema) in Multi50s, Thomson in IMOCAs, Luke Berry (Lamotte Module-Creation) in Class40s, Sidney Gavignet (Café Joyeux) in Rhum Monos and Pierre Antoine (Olmix) in Rhum Multis.

                    Ranking at 1600hrs CET (1500hrs TU) Monday 5/11
                    1 François Gabart (MACIF) 2,973 nautical miles to finish
                    2 Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire IX) + 18.46 miles behind leader
                    3 Francis Joyon (IDEC Sport) +25.96 miles

                    MULTI 50
                    1 Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema) 3,185 miles to finish
                    2 Armel Tripon (Beaute Chocolat) +48.48 miles behind leader
                    3 Thierry Bouchard (Ciela Village) +53.60 miles

                    IMOCA 60
                    1 Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) 3122 miles to finish
                    2 Vincent Riou (PRB) +26.74 miles behind
                    3 Paul Meilhat (SMA) +28.18 miles behind

                    CLASS 40
                    1 Yoann Richomme (Veedol-AIC) 3,249 miles to finish
                    2 Louis Duc (Carac) +2.5 miles behind
                    3 Arthur Le Vaillant (Leyton) +7.17 miles behind

                    RHUM MULTI
                    1 Pierre Antoine (Olmix) 3,255 miles to finish
                    2 Jean-François Lilti (Ecole Diagonal Pour Citoyens du Monde) +3.4 miles behind
                    3 David Ducosson (Air Antilles Caseneuve Maxi Cat) +18.46 miles behind

                    RHUM MONO
                    1 Sidney Gavignet (Joyeux Café) 3,293 miles to finish
                    2 Vento di Sardegna (Andrea Mura) +11.06 miles behind
                    3 Wilfred Clerton (Cap au Cap Location) +31.68 miles behind.

                    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                    • #11

                      Highlights from Day 2 of The Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe

                      "There is a big depression on Tuesday so it is a huge system…it will be hard for the boats."

                      Find out what Jacques Caraës has to say about the weather over the next few days and watch some epic sailing footage here.
                      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                      • #12
                        Damage to Gitana, Coville Make Pit Stop, Thompson Accelerates

                        While he was about 100 miles from Cape Finisterre and was advancing at an average speed of 30 knots in strong winds and 4 meters of swell, the Sodebo Ultim 'skipper dropped a reef in the mainsail. It was around 10:15 this morning and the boat was moving to reaching (crosswind) starboard tack.

                        Thomas Coville then saw a crack in the port forward arm and realized that the arm fairing was damaged. He immediately informed his technical team.

                        Due to the weather forecast, it has been decided to secure the skipper and the boat on their way to the Spanish port of A Coruña where they are expected in the early evening today (northwestern tip of Spain, main port of the province of Galicia)

                        At the same time, the technical team is on its way to welcome the skipper and the boat. From the Lorient routing house, Jean-Luc Nélias (Sodebo Ultim 's router) is in contact with Iker Martinez (Spanish offshore rider) to coordinate logistical and technical support on the spot.


                        With Alex Thomson leading the way and Jérémie Beyou suffering from some worrying steering damage, Marc Guillemot offers us his look as a specialist and gives us his personal analysis of the first day of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe in the IMOCA class.

                        "The sailors are experiencing a rough start to the race. It's not easy for anyone. They have been kept busy for the last ten days in Saint-Malo. Even if from time to time, they manage to get away from all that, tiredness takes its toll and some were not at 100% of their capacity when they set sail. That can cost them dearly at the start of the race, seeing there are complicated weather conditions.

                        Since yesterday, I have been closely following Alex Thomson's trajectory. He was the only one to go to the north of the traffic separation scheme off Ushant. Other skippers may well have considered that option. They needed to take a decision once they had reached Bréhat. Aiming for the north of the TSS involved hoisting the spinnaker instead of the gennaker, and forcing them to carry out extra manoeuvres. With the worry of having to bring down the sail quickly if the wind got up and the danger of finding themselves entering the TSS... I put myself in the position of Alex's rivals. We are sailing well. We can luff up with the sail we have and instead of heading to the north of the TSS, we're tempted to go south. I cannot judge their choices, as it is far too easy to do that from ashore with your feet up. Everyone follows their route depending on how they are feeling, how the boat is and how well prepared they are.

                        Alex Thomson's fine strategic play​

                        In any case, Alex pulled off a good strategic stroke. He took a risk by moving away from the direct route, went on the attack and kept going all the way. Today, he is reaping the benefits of his investment. Hugo Boss was the first to pass to the north of the current low-pressure system, and in particular, he is well placed to deal with the next. Before the day is out, he'll pick up a SW'ly wind and shift to the port tack, which will mean that he is ahead of the big low. He will be able to make headway southwards and westwards and in his choice of route will have more freedom than his rivals, who are sailing further east. If he needs to come around slightly in the heavy weather, he will have plenty of room without having to worry about getting too close to the coast of Spain. To sum up, the further east you are, the less favourable the position to deal with the low.

                        As a sailor stuck in front of my computer screen, I'm watching this Route du Rhum with a great deal of interest. I'm watching in particular the close fight that is going between Vincent Riou and Paul Meilhat for second place. I can see too that Alan Roura has had a fantastic start to his race. It's nice to see that the older boats with some determined and hard-working sailors can keep up with the best in these tough conditions.

                        "Fighting against mountains of water"

                        Conditions are tougher for the leaders, starting with Alex Thomson. Sailing at twenty knots in such heavy seas is no easy matter. I can imagine that Hugo Boss is under the water with Alex inside in his foulies, ready to leap outside if necessary. Given the conditions, he is probably sailing with two reefs in the mainsail and the J3 headsail. Sailing like this requires you to keep cool and remain focused.

                        In the coming hours, conditions will be getting more complicated for everyone. Until they cross the line from the Azores-Lisbon, the sailors will be at war fighting against mountains of water. They are going to have to do their best with the boat and look after themselves, putting the rankings to one side until the race can get going again. The important thing here is getting out of the area of low pressure with a boat that can still perform well. It's going to be hard, but they need to hold on in there. In the IMOCA class, we're looking at professionals, who know how to deal with these conditions. But they nevertheless need to pay attention..."

                        Marc Guillemot



                        Shortly after 4:30 GMT, Sébastien Josse alerted his team manager to major damage aboard the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild. Leading the Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe fleet after an outstanding start to the race, the solo sailor came to a violent halt.

                        Immediately up on deck, he observed that he'd lost part of the bow of his starboard float. It is night time in the area and given the sea state nearly 4.5 metres of swell and wind - 30 knots of northerly -, it's difficult to gauge the extent of the damage for now.

                        Sébastien Josse is safe and sound and together with his shore team and his routing cell he's currently looking for a solution to make terra firma as quickly as possible.

                        Indeed, the most important thing right now is to get the sailor to shelter as a new low pressure system will sweep across the Bay of Biscay over the coming hours.

                        More information to follow.
                        Last edited by Photoboy; 11-05-2018, 12:25 PM.
                        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                        • #13
                          Not a good sign for doing the Jules Verne Trophy if your boat can't make it out of the Bay of Biscay without breaking.


                          • #14

                            Jérémie Beyou on his way to brest

                            Following the damage to charal, Jérémie Beyou succeeded in a temporary repair that allowed him to master the boat and sail to brest. It's 7 Knots, cap at 80.
                            In order to guarantee the safety of the skipper and the boat, the technical team chartered a tugboat from brest tonight with 3 people from the charal sailing team. They should join Jeremiah in the night and stand nearby to accompany the return of the boat.
                            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                            • #15
                              While the foiling technology is awesome, it sure seems to lead to fragile boats.