Route de Rhum: Peyron’s Party Awaits
Published on November 9th, 2014
(November 9, 2014) – After nine editions over 32 years, Pointe-a-Pitre , the finish city for La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, has shown it knows how to throw a welcome party to the heroic finishers of the classic, four yearly 3542 miles solo race from Saint Malo.
And this Sunday afternoon around the humid, sticky heat of the race village docks the bands the dancers and thousands of locals, many of whom have grown up with the race, were warming up, making ready to greet Loick Peyron who is on course for an historic victory, and a possible new race record. It will be some welcome.
Peyron is predicted to cross the finish line around 0230hrs TU/0330hrs CET/2230hrs local. To beat the established race record of 7 days and 17 hours he needs to break the line by 0619hrsTU/0719hrsCET/0219hrslocal time.
At 1600hrs TU this afternoon Peyron, on the 31.5m trimaran Maxi Solo Banque Populaire, was 178nm miles from the finish line, averaging 23kts. His nearest rival Yann Guichard on the 40m Spindrift 2 is over 240 miles in his wake.
For Loick Peyron whose 49th passage of the Atlantic this race will complete, his 18th solo, winning the Route du Rhum would add to a remarkably full collection of sailing honours. In 2011-12 he skippered the 14 man team which currently holds the all out non-stop around the world Jules Verne Trophy record aboard Banque Populaire V, the trimaran which is ironically finishing second to him, as Spindrift 2. He has won the Transat three times, the Transat Jacques Vabre twice. Adding to the B2B race back from Brazil in 2007 this will be his seventh Transatlantic win solo or two up. He was second in the 1990 Vendee Globe after rescuing fellow competitor Philippe Poupon and won the 2011 Barcelona World Race round the world with Jean-Pierre Dick. He has raced in the last two America’s Cups, in 2013 with Atrtemis Racing and in 2010 with Alinghi.
Peyron has lead since the first night of the race and has scarcely put a foot wrong, supported by routers Marcel van Triest and Armel Le Cleac’h – who should have been sailing this race as solo skipper.
The fight at the front of Class 40, in which there were 43 starters, continues with no let up. Spain’s Alex Pella is credited with a slender lead over Kito de Pavant this evening, the two racing side by side, 10 miles apart, as they move into the second week of racing.
Pella, racing the Botin designed Spanish owned, designed and built Tales 2 in which he finished second in last year’s Transat Jaques Vabre, continues to show slightly superior reaching speed and has stayed sightly south of de Pavant. And in recent days the duo have emerged 24 miles ahead of Yannick Bestaven. And both the two leaders were around two knots quicker this evening.
Pella who has a second and third to his credit racing the Mini Transat in 2003 and 2005 has stayed largely away from the Class 40 circuit, training solo from the boat’s base in Santander. He finished fourth overall in the last Barcelona World Race with compatriot Pepe Ribes . He was bubbling with enthusiam when he spoke to race control this morning.
The lead of the Rhum class has swung back in the favour of Anne Caseneuve on the trimaran Anero. Andrea Mura, longtime leader, has strayed too close to the centre of the high pressure zone and ran out of breeze. The leader Anero is racing in among the Class 40 fleet.
So while the race winner is expected in Guadeloupe this evening, the first of the Rhum Classe fleet still has more than 2000 miles of the 3542 miles course to sail. Portuguese skipper Ricardo Diniz (Parisasia.fr) has left La Coruna this morning and so he still has 3000 miles to sail.
Mura, on the optimised Open 50 Venta di Sardegna, who won the class in the last edition has lead for most of the time so far. But the Azores high has proven problematic for the Italian skipper who has lost nearly 100 miles in 24 hours.
The racing behind is good too with an engaging mix of monohulls and multihulls mixing it up. Willy Bissainte on the Pogo40 Tradysion Gwadloup is third in ahead of some of the larger monohulls like the ex Kriter VIII of Wilfred Clerton (Cap au Cap Location) and Sir Robin Knox-Johnston (Grey Power) and the little tri of Jean-Paul Froc (Berto Group). Finland’s Ari Huusela (Neste Oil) lies eighth.
How to follow finishes
Before crossing the finish line that lies about 350 metres off the Point de la Verdure (By Gosier) competitors have to round the island to port (leaving it on their left side) and then leave the Basse-Terre buoy to starboard. From that mark it is 24 miles to the finish.
To follow progress, the tracker on the event website is updated every six minutes once the boats are within 20 miles of la Tete a l’Anglais (the N Point of Basse Terre). This is for all the competitors. Thereafter the press conference (in French) will be streamed live as will the key finishes.
There is a prize from the CCI Guadeloupe which is awarded for the best time in each class between the Basse Terre mark and the finish.
Report by Event Media