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Thread: Perfect 10? The Tenth Route du Rhum is Off and Running

  1. #1
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Perfect 10? The Tenth Route du Rhum is Off and Running

    As the tenth edition of the legendary Route du Rhum solo Transatlantic race to Guadeloupe started off Saint Malo, France this Sunday afternoon under grey skies and a moderate SSW’ly breeze. The perennial question of just how hard to push through the first 24-36 hours at sea was foremost in the minds of most of the 91 skippers.

    When the start gun sounded at 1400hrs local time (1300hrs CET) to mark a spectacular send off for a 3,524 miles contest, which engages and entrances the French public like no other ocean race, breezes were only 15-17kts. But a tough, complicated first night at sea is in prospect, a precursor to 36 hours of bruising, very changeable breezes and big unruly seas.

    Such conditions, gusting to 40kts after midnight tonight, are widely acknowledged to be potentially boat or equipment breaking. But the big ticket reward for fighting successfully through the worst of the fronts and emerging in A1 racing shape, will be a fast passage south towards Guadeloupe. Such an early gain might be crucial to the final result.

    The converse is doubly true. Any trouble or undue conservatism might be terminal as far as hopes of a podium place in any of the three classes.

    In short, the maxim of not being able to win the race on the first night, but being able to lose it over that keynote, initial period, has perhaps never been truer.

    The routing south is relatively direct, fast down the Iberian peninsula with a fairly straightforward, quick section under the Azores high pressure which shapes the course. The Ultimes – the giant multis – are expected to be south of Madeira by Tuesday night when the IMOCA Open 60s will already be at the latitude of Lisbon and the Class 40 leaders passing Cape Finisterre.

    Vincent Riou, Vendée Globe winner who triumphed in last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre two-handed race to Brasil, said of the forecast: “I carried out statistical studies, set up 140 different routings using ten years of files in my pre-race analysis and I can’t recall a single example of the weather being as favourable for the IMOCAs as what seems to lie ahead‏.”

    The change in weather from the idyllic Indian summer conditions which have prevailed through the build up weeks to gusty winds, heavy rain showers and cooler temperatures could do nothing to dampen the extraordinary ardour displayed by the crowds which so openly embrace the Rhum legend. From all walks of life, from babes-in-arms to the elderly, they descend on Saint Malo and the nearby beaches and promontories to see the start and the opening miles.

    Lemonchois Leads
    It was fitting then that the tens of thousands who braved the deluges and the breeze were rewarded when it was the owner of the race record, Lionel Lemonchois, winner of the Multi 50 Class in the last edition and overall winner in 2006, who passed their Cap Fréhel vantage point, 18 miles after the start line leading the whole fleet on the Ultime Prince de Bretagne.

    Thomas Coville on Sodebo lead the Caribbean-bound armada off the start line dicing with the more nimble, smaller Multi70 of Sidney Gavignet Musandam-Oman Air which also lead for a short time. The fleet’s ultimate Ultime, the 40m long Spindrift (Yann Guichard) was seventh to Fréhel, clearly needing time and opportunity to wind up to her high average top speeds. Coville has the potent mix of tens of thousands of solo miles under his belt as well as an Ultime (the 31m long ex Geronimo of Olivier de Kersauson with new main hull and mostly new floats and a new rig) which is optimised for solo racing.

    The favourites to win each of the different classes seemed to make their way quickly to the front of their respective packs. Vendée Globe victor François Gabart established a very early lead in the IMOCA Open 60s on MACIF, ahead of PRB (Vincent Riou) and Jérémie Beyou (Maitre-CoQ). In the 43 strong Class 40 fleet Sébastien Rogue quickly worked GDF SUEZ in to the lead. He remains unbeaten and won last year’s TJV. Defending class champion Italy’s Andrea Mura was at the front of the Rhum class with his highly updated Open 50 Vento di Sardegna.

    Spain’s highly rated Alex Pella was second in Class 40 on Tales 2, Britain’s Conrad Humphreys 20th on Cat Phones Built For It and Miranda Merron sailing Campagne de France in 22nd.

    The key international, non-French skippers made solid starts to their races. Self-preservation was key priority for 75 year old Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on Grey Power, who said pre-start that his main goal was to get safely clear of Cape Finisterre, before pressing the accelerator.

    He is in good company not least with ‘junior’ rivals Patrick Morvan, 70 and Bob Escoffier, 65 all racing in this Rhum class which features race legend craft as well as sailors. Two of the original sisterships to Mike Birch’s 11.22m Olympus – which stole victory by 98 seconds in the inaugural race in 1978 – are racing in this fleet replaying the fight against the monohull Kriter V which finished second.

    First to return to Saint-Malo with a technical problem- needing to repair his rigging – was the Class40 of Jean Edouard Criquioche, Région haute Normandie, who had to turn round after just 45 minutes on course. And the Portuguese skipper in the Rhum class Ricardo Diniz was also reported to be heading back with trouble with his diesel.

    Order at Cap Fréhel

    1 - Lionel Lemonchois (Prince de Bretagne) / 1st Ultime
    2 - Sidney Gavignet (Musandam - Oman Sail)
    3 - Thomas Coville (Sodebo Ultim')
    4 - Loïck Peyron (Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII)
    5 - Sébastien Josse (Edmond De Rothschild)
    6 - Yann Eliès (Paprec Recyclage)
    7 - Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2)
    8 - Yves Le Blévec (Actual) / 1st Multi50
    9 - Francis Joyon (Idec Sport)
    10 - Erwan Leroux (FenêtréA - Cardinal)
    11 - Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema Région Aquitaine)
    12 - François Gabart (MACIF) / 1st IMOCA
    13 - Vincent Riou (PRB) 14 - Loïc Fequet (Maître Jacques)
    15 - Jérémie Beyou (Maître Coq)
    16 - Marc Guillemot (Safran)
    17 - Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée)
    18 - Bertrand De Broc (Votre Nom Autour du Monde)
    19 - Tanguy De Lamotte (Initiatives-Coeur)
    20 - Armel Tripon (Humble for Heroes)
    21 - Erik Nigon (Vers un monde sans sida)
    22 - Pierre Antoine (Olmix)
    23 - Andrea Mura (Vento Di Sardegna) / 1st Rhum
    24 - Sébastien Rogues (GDF SUEZ) / 1st Class40‏

    Follow the race on
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  2. #2
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Big Multis Through The Lens Of Thierry Martinez

    A nice selection of aerials from the lens of Thierry Martinez!

    Click on link for more!

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  3. #3
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Soldebo Ultim' Collides with Cargo Ship and is Damaged,

    Sunday, November 2 at 2330hrs CET (2230 UTC) CROSS informed the race management of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe that the 31m Ultime trimaran Sodebo Ultim' had collided with a cargo ship,

    Solo skipper Thomas Coville was unharmed. The trimaran was sailing under 3 reefs and ORC, progressing at a speed of 15/18 knots in gusty winds with 30 knots of wind from the SW.
    In the collision the trimaran has lost the front section of the starboard float back to the crossbeam. The middle hull also seems to have been damaged. Sodebo Ultim' is heading towards the port of Roscoff reaching under reduced sail, working on the port hull. Coville was making 12kts and as he approaches the Brittany coast the seas should east with the wind dropping slightly. He is due to arrive in Roscoff later this early morning and his shore crew are travelling there.

    François Angoulvant airlifted off Class 40 Team Sabroa SBR40.
    This Sunday evening at 2325hrs CET (2225hrs UTC) CROSS Corsen received alert signals from both beacons on the Class 40 Team Sabrosa SBR 40 of Francois Angoulvant which was racing in La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.
    Race Direction tried to contact the skipper by means of various satellite phone links without success.
    Simulteneously the CROSS scrambled an NH90 SAR helicopter from 33F Squadron and the Ploumanach SNS 098 lifeboat was sent to the area.
    At 0040hrs CET (2340hrs UTC) contact with the overturned hull of the boat was made and the skipper was safely lifted off. He was immediately taken to hospital in Brest for medical examination.

    Maitre Jacques Damaged
    Around 2300hrs CET (2200hrs UTC) the starboard float broke of the Multi50 Maitre Jacques which was lying in fourth place in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. Solo skipper Loïc Féquet is safe aboard.

    He was sailing close to the coast preparing to pass the tip of Brittany. He is not in any immediate danger but Maitre Jacques cannot be manoeuvred and he is awaiting a tow to the nearest port, the tug should be in the area around 0200hrs CET.

    Loïc Féquet, skipper of the Multi 50 Maitre Jacques reported: "There were 25 to 28 knots and big seas, but I was not attacking. In fact I was under double-reefed main and staysail. I did not hit anything. It broke in exactly the same place as last year *. The float is new"
    Féquet has secured his boat. He is about 7 miles (13 km) from the coast and reported to be drifting northwards at two knots. The skipper is inside the boat awaiting help.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  4. #4
    Was the Cargo ship okay?

    Would have figured alarms would have sounded if Colville was napping?

  5. #5
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    above amage: A. Courcoux/ Yachts and Yachting

    Below images:

    Some looks at the damage
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  6. #6
    I am convince Thomas Colville is cursed.

  7. #7
    Shite. AIS not working?

  8. #8
    Can only find french narrations of the incident.


  9. #9
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    Ill fortune was in no way selective as it struck a wide cross section of the La Route du Rhum-Destination fleet over the first 24 hours of the 3,542 miles Transatlantic race which started from Saint-Malo, France on Sunday afternoon, bound for Guadeloupe.

    Difficult sea conditions, squally winds which pumped up to 45kts and periods of poor visibility took a heavy toll across the five classes with dozens of skippers among the 91 starters forced to stop or abandon their race.

    Most high profile early casualty is the 31m Ultime trimaran Sodebo Ultim’ of Thomas Coville which struck a cargo ship last night around 2330hrs UTC, losing the starboard float right back to the crossbeam. The solo round the world ace who was considered to be one of the pre-race favourites to win into Pointe-a-Pitre was unhurt and arrived in Roscoff at a little after midday today, disappointed and shaken.

    Covillle recalled: "Today I feel like I have been a victim in a car accident. I feel like a truck collided with me, a motorcycle at night. It really basically is that. I was coming away from TSS, the area we avoid because of the maritime traffic, and I was going really fast. That evening I had had a small problem on the bow, so I decided to basically speed up and try and catch up with Loick (Loick Peyron, Maxi Banque Populaire VII) but was sailing along quite comfortably. An engine alarm went off, a battery charge reminder, so I went back inside because I was surprised that after eight hours I would need to be recharging. There was nothing wrong so I went back and there I saw on it on my screen ... You can imagine that on our boats we do not have a lot of visibility, that it is dark, there were squalls and lots of rain and that basically we sail like aeroplane pilots or like traffic controllers, using the radar.

    I could see that there were two cargo ships close to me. I was sailing in wind mode, which basically means you sail taking into account the variable winds and waves. If I am sailing at 25 knots and the container is at 18 knots, we had a closing speed of 40 knots. Basically the two miles was covered in one minute and thirty seconds. I get out on deck having started the engine and manage to get the right gear and it is just when I look up and see this big black wall cross in front of me and I hit it 1.5 metres or maybe 3 metres from the back. We just did not quite pass behind and but for three metres we would have passed OK.”

    Two sistership Class 40s lost their keels just hours apart. Francois Angoulvant had to be airlifted off his recently launched Sabrosa Mk2 by a 33F helicopter just after midnight and taken to Brest for medical observation. Marc Lepesqueux was luckier in that he managed to keep his boat upright when he lost his keel, stabilising it by filling the ballast tanks and he was able to make it into Guernsey.

    The unfortunate duo were just two with problems affecting a dozen different Class 40s. Among them an ankle injury has forced Nicolas Troussel (Credit Mutuel Bretagne) – runner up in the 2010 edition – out of the race. Thierry Bouchard ( succumbed to an injured wrist. Sail or rig repairs are required on Exocet (Alan Roura), Fantastica (Italy’s highly fancied Giancarlo Pedote) and Teamwork (Bertrand Delesne). Double Vendée Globe finisher Arnaud Boissieres reported he was heading for his home port, Les Sables d’Olonne with a combination of problems.

    Conrad Humphreys’ hopes of building from a strong start were compromised when the Plymouth, England skipper had to re-route into Camaret by Brest to replace a mainsail batten car luff box. Sailing Cat Phones he arrived in Camaret just before 1600hrs local time this Monday afternoon and his technical team reckoned on a two hours pit-stop. Two Multi 50 skippers required to be towed to port by the SNSM.

    Loic Fequet’s Multi 50 Maitre Jacque lost a big section off its starboard float, a seeming repeat of a problem suffered a year ago according to the sailor from Brittany who finished second in the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre. And also in the Multi50s Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) broke a rudder and had to be towed to Roscoff where he arrived around 1600hrs CET this afternoon.

    Loick Peyron and the giant Banque Populaire VII (which won the last edition as Groupama) continues to lead the race at the head of the Ultime fleet by a matter of 45 miles ahead of Yann Guichard (Spindrift 2). The battle of the giants was taking on its hotly anticipated centre stage action this afternoon as Guichard continued to march steadily up through the field, now into slightly more moderate breezes but still with big confused seas. He was almost 10 knots quicker than Peyron on the late afternoon poll. The leaders were due to pass Cape Finisterre this evening around 1930-2000hrs. Meantime after holding second for much of the time Sébastien Josse, Yann Elies and Sidney Gavignet are locked in a three cornered battle in the Multi70s with 3.5 miles separating them after 28 hours of racing, between 57 and 60 miles behind the leader.

    Multi 50
    Five seriously damaged but a duel at the front. The Multi50 fleet was hit badly by the harsh conditions. First to be affected was Maitre Jacques of Loic Fequet which suffered a damaged starboard float. His was the first of a series of accidents and damage. Gilles Buekenhout (Nootka) with a broken rudder; Hervé de Carlan (Delirium), damaged a daggerboard; Erik Nigon (Vers un Monde Sans SIDA) has ripped mainsail and Alain Delhumeau (Royan) was dismasted. There were six still on course this afternoon carrying on a spirited fight to continue their race to Guadeloupe. A tight duel is at hand between Yves Le Blevec (Actual) and Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA Cardinal) who were racing just a few hundred metres apart this afternoon off the latitude of Les Sables d'Olonne.

    One Abandon, two damaged, Macif supreme since the start François Gabart has maintained a consistent leadership since breaking the start line first on Sunday afternoon. The lead of the current Vendée Globe champion increased this afternoon, out to 25 miles as his nearest rival Vincent Riou reported damage to his mainsheet track mountings. Two other notable damages include Tanguy de Lamotte on Initiatives Couer who was having to reroute for a pitstop after a shock to his rudder damaged the mountings. And Bertrand de Broc is reported to have abandoned after the hydraulic ram on his pilot failed and he also suffered an injured elbow. The rest close reach on down the Bay of Biscay with a big lateral gap (60 miles) between the trio of Gabart, Guillemot and Beyou in the west and Burton / Di Benedetto in the East.

    Class 40 Sébastien Rogue remains untouchable so far in Class 40 on GDF SUEZ, but Spain’s Alex Pella is keeping the pressure on the race leader, pressing hard on the Botin designed Tales 2. Pella confirmed that he had damaged his preferred genoa during a sail change and anticipates losing some miles. But he expects to be under gennaker by the middle of tomorrow in easier conditions. “The main thing is I am still in the race which is important considering how the conditions have been.” Speaking less than 20 minutes before he was due to leave Camaret Briton Conrad Humphreys said: “I was shattered. We are almost there (close to completing repairs). The showstopper was the broken batten box which means the batten was no longer attached at the front of the main and I did not have any spares. It was a pretty hideous night, the waves were difficult, but I felt I had sailed reasonably well. There was a lot of reef in, reef out and it happened during one of these episodes. I am tired still but I will get back out there and try to stay with the group. That is the important thing. I am annoyed this happened.” Miranda Merron on Campagne de France was up to ninth place this afternoon, just 14.5 miles behind the leader. The English skipper reported: “ Minor issues on board, mainly the masthead wind unit which has stopped working, so no wind info at the moment - back to dinghy sailing. I should be able to plug in the spare wand, but not in this sea state. It will have to wait a few days until conditions improve. Not so good for performance. Anyway, it's sunny today, although rather wet on deck. Can't have it all!”

    Rhum Class: Mura out in front, Sir Robin en forme In the Rhum Class defending title holder Andrea Mura on the optimised Open 50 Vento di Sardegna was 50 miles west of Ushant this afternoon, furthest offshore of the top group with a lead of 19 miles. He continues to clock high average speeds. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston was on robust form this morning when he spoke to Race HQ in Saint Malo on the morning Radio Vacs: “I have seen gusts to 35 knots and am about 37 miles from Ushant. The first night I did see a 40 knot gust at one stage but I was ready for it. I got the third reef in and the storm jib up. We were alright. I am fine, absolutely fine, just looking forwards to getting past Ushant and get away. I always think you start racing at Finisterre but the main objective just now is just to get around Ushant. I am eating properly now after my stomach upset, so I am all good.” Knox-Johnston’s Grey Power was up to 12th in the class, while Finland’s Are Huusela is in eighth on his Class 40 Neste Oil.

    11 abandons

    1. Thomas Coville (Ultime - Sodebo Ultim’) : collision with cargo ship
    2. Bertrand de Broc (IMOCA - Votre Nom autour du Monde) : elbow injury and pilot damage
    3. Alain Delhumeau (Multi50 - Royan) : dismasted
    4. Loïc Fequet (Multi50 - Maître Jacques) : float damaged
    5. Erik Nigon (Mulit50 - Un monde sans sida) : mainsail shredded
    6. Gilles Buekenhout (Multi50 - Nootka Architectes de l’urgence) : rudder broken
    7. François Angoulvant (Class40 - Team Sabrosa SR 40MK2) : lost keel
    8. Marc Lepesqueux (Class40 - Sensation Class40) : lost keel
    9. Nicolas Troussel (Class40 - Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) : injury
    10. Thierry Bouchard (Class40 - : injury
    11.Arnaud Boissières (Class40 – Du Rhum au Globe) : technical problem
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  10. #10
    "Closing speed of 40 knots"

    Lucky to be alive, me thinks.

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