Route du Rhum: Guillemot completes IMOCA top three

Published on November 15th, 2014

November 15, 2014 – His swansong race on the IMOCA60 Safran sees Marc Guillemot finish in third place in the IMOCA 60 Class just as he did four years ago on the same boat. Jeremy Beyou finished last night in second place on Maitre Coq. Guillemot arrived in Pointe a Pitre extremely tired having suffered many technical problems, especially towards the end after his autopilots failed and he had to hand steer for much of the last four days. It is the second time in a row he has finished third in the IMOCA 60 class.

Marc Guillemot crossed the finish line of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe at 14:59:20hrs UTC November 15 to secure third place in the IMOCA 60 Class. His elapsed time for the 3542 NM course is 13d 1h 59m 20s making an average of 11.28kts. In reality he sailed 4056 NM at an average of 11.28kts. His delta behind the IMOCA class winner Francois Gabart is 21h20m25s.

It is ‘Marco”s fifth Route du Rhum (4th in 1998 in the ORMA, 2nd in 2002 in the ORMA, 7th in 2006 in the IMOCA, 3rd in 2010 in the IMOCA). His course again showed his tenacity and drive for his final race on this boat in the colours of Safran. Even with a number of technical problems he stayed tight in the top trio. He arrived in Pointe a Pitre in a state of considerable fatigue having had no pilots for the final 72 hours. And, weirdly, it is the third time that he has arrived in Pointe a Pitre on the 15th November.

For the remainder of La Route du Rhum fleet the winds are becoming a little more stable which is to the good of Spain’s Alex Pella who leads Class40 on Tales 2. His runway towards the finish line in Guadeloupe becomes slightly more straightfoward in easier Trade Winds as his leading delta now amounts to 10% of the remaining mileage, now around 80 miles ahead of Thibault Vauchel Camus (Solidaires en Peloton) and Kito de Pavant (Otio-Bastide Medical) who are locked on the same mileage to the finish line.

For Guillemot the moments arriving in Pointe-a-Pitre were bittersweet. He left Saint Malo wanting a win for his final race in the colors of Safran on a boat which broke new ground in 2007, as the first of the collaboration between Guillaume Verdier and VPLP which went on to also produce the Vendee Globe winner and runner up. After having to retire from the Vendee Globe within the first few hours when his keel broke, Guillemot was determined to have a winning finish to his seven year relationship with his boat and racing in Safran’s colors. But a whole series of technical issues left him on the back foot, always dealing with problems:

Marc Guillemot: “This race really did become a battle, not the kind of fight I had expected. I had to struggle with the boat and all the technical problems I had. And it seemed like all the problems were linked, a downward spiral if you like. I really questioned at 950 miles from here, what do I do? I have no more power, I was no longer really in the race. But you have to fight on, little by little you deal with the problems. You learn how to manage them and keep racing. And so in the end I feel like I fought well.

So well done me! I think in the end I have had a good race, managing all the situations. With this boat I have had problems but rarely ones that force me to retire. I do like to see that I finish races. This is my fifth Rhum and my fifth finish. So I am not unhappy. At the start it is the result, the finish that matters and in end the conditions are beautiful and you have the satisfaction of finishing.”

“This is a boat that is so good, so beautiful, well built, well thought through by all those who participated: the architects, and Verdier VPLP and the Safran team. This is a great boat that still has a long career ahead of him. It will be seen in other colors in other races. This is a bit of me this boat. It is not completely the end of my association with Safran: there is a new skipper happens, a new boat, which may be in need of my services. If this is not the case, I would go somewhere else because I want to sail, I don’t want to be on shore.

I have dirty hands for 950 miles before the finish. Four times a day, I recovered oil in to the engine and replaced it with a small can of Coke. And each time that gave me 20 minutes of charging before the engine stopped. At times I had the face of a mechanic with oil everywhere.”

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