Quality IMOCA Open 60 fleet for La Route du Rhum

Published on October 11th, 2014

Current and past champions of the non-stop solo round the world race, the Vendée Globe, will feature highly in the IMOCA Open 60 class in the upcoming Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe which starts from Saint Malo on Sunday 2nd November. They will face a crop of established IMOCA Open 60 skippers as well as newcomers to the class who are lower on the learning curve.

Among the top contenders on the solo Transatlantic race from Saint Malo to Guadeloupe will be Francois Gabart, the youngest ever winner of the Vendée Globe who triumphed at his first attempt. 

This will be Gabart’s first attempt at the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe but his last race on his successful IMOCA Open 60 MACIF.

Past Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou, on PRB, who won the last Transatlantic sailed a year ago, the two handed Transat Jacques Vabre from France to Itajai, Brazil, represents one of Gabart’s strongest and most experienced rivals. Jérémie Beyou on Maitre Coq, has already won the Transat Jacques Vabre but has yet to finish on the podium in a solo IMOCA Open 60 Race. But Beyou is hungry and very much on form right now having won La Solitaire du Figaro-Eric Bompard cachemire for the third time, the peak of offshore one design solo racing during the summer.

IMOCA Open 60

Sixty feet or 18.28 m of power and performance, the IMOCA Open 60s are built for solo or shorthanded racing on the world’s oceans and have raced on the legendary solo Transatlantic, the Route du Rhum, since 1994. These highly developed and specialised ocean racing boats are or have been raced by some of the biggest names in ocean racing.

All those who will race in the IMOCA Open 60 class this time aspire to succeed Roland Jourdain who won the last edition of the race in 2010. IMOCA is the class organisation which was established in 1991 and which sets the class rules which govern the similarity of the boats but which allow a broad scope for design differences. It is an Open rule which means key dimensions must be adhered to and otherwise designers have very much a free rein.

By the end of 2014 keels and masts will be standardised to reduce the level of breakages which were occurring in the class, but as yet the Route du Rhum will be raced by IMOCA Open 60s which are built before the new prescriptions, but PRB, Macif and Initiatives Cœur have all been modified accordingly. All will battle hard across the Atlantic and a close race is once again expected in this class where the leading adversaries are regular rivals, well known to each other.

Others who have the potential to win or reach the podium include Marc Guillemot on Safran who has also won two handed across the Atlantic, Italy’s Alessandro di Benedetto (Team Plastique-AFM Téléthon), Tanguy De Lamotte, Bertrand de Broc (Votre Nom autour du Monde) and Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée) all make strong solo entries as does newcomer Armel Tripon (For Humble Heroes).

Background: The 10th edition of the Route du Rhum is a 3550 nm singlehanded race from Saint-Malo (France) to Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe). Held every four years, the 2014 race starts November 2, and is open to multihulls and monohulls split into several classes according to their overall length. Almost 80 competitors are registered in five boat classes for the 2014 Route du Rhum. http://www.routedurhum.com/

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