Route du Rhum: Records all round?

Published on November 14th, 2014

Heading for second place in the Multi50s Lalou Roucayrol has been struggling with frustrating light airs round the shores of Guadeloupe. Tonight the Multi50 podium will be completed then the 12th day of racing will see the first of the IMOCA 60s to finish Francois Gabart has a good chance of breaking the course record for the IMOCA 60 class at his first time of trying, just as he did when he won the Vendee Globe on his first attempt. On Macif he is approaching Guadeloupe lighter, more capricious breezes.

Both winners to date have established record times for the 3542 miles course from Saint Malo to the finish line in Pointe a PItre. And there seems to be a good chance that Gabart will also break the course record which was established in 2006 by Roland Jourdain at 12d 11h 58m.

Lalou Roucayrol was one frustrated, skipper this morning at around 12 miles from the line at 0700hrs TU. The last miles have been painful for the Multi50 runner up, making 1 to 7 kts but having to work hard for every knot towards the finish. But second step on the podium awaits him.

This Friday three competitors should follow him in. Gabart (Macif) should be crowned in the IMOCA 60 class then Gilles Lamiré (Rennes – Saint Malo Agglomeration) and Yves Le Blévec (Actual), 3rd and 4th Multi50s.

At just eighty miles from the finish Gabart has spent his last night at sea struggling to reach 10 knots boat speed, gybing regularly trying to stay with the wind.
Working a corridor of disrupted trade winds the Class 40 leaders are still having to keep up a high work rate downwind. This has been good for Sapin’s Alex Pella (Thales 2) who, once again, has extended his lead to nearly 80 miles over Kito de Pavant (Oti-Bastide Medical).

Not far behind them is the clear, distinct leader of the Rhum class Anne Caseneuve (ANEO) who is in the middle of the peloton of Class40s, but the the Rhum Class are scattered over 1300 miles. Such is a reflection of their very different boats. Sir Robin Knox Johnston (Grey Power) is now up to fourth.

Beyou in the light stuff, Vauchel Camus under a cloud; they said:

Jeremie Beyou, Master Chef (IMOCA), second: “The approach to the West Indies is a bit complicated! I dont know about the others but for me, it’s complicated. For about an hour the wind has eased completely. I made two or three gybes but now there is a little more wind. I have 4 knots. It is very unstable. I thought it would be like this, getting close to the island but, well, Francois must be slowed too. We’ll see what happens. I got lots of rest when I could because I knew this would be tough at the end. On the one hand I want this to be done, to be finished, but on the other I want the best finish I can have and as we have seen on the Figaro, many times you can come from behind.”

Thibaut Vauchel Camus – Solidaires en Peloton (Class40), third: “Im having a difficult start to the night. I’m under a cloud with no wind.  I did get out of of one cloud where I got stuck two hours.  We have a system of trade winds which is unstable, they are just not established. In terms of performance of the boat, with Alex Pella it has been close. The only difference is that he has been sailng his for two years while with me, it’s been three months. This is my first solo transatlantic race and for him he has done more but, hey, I learn things every day. ”

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