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

  1. #11
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    Helo Rescue After Lightning Strike Adds To Damage Total




    A helicopter rescue after a boat was struck by lightning is added to the toll of damage on La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe this Tuesday afternoon, but in general the 3,542 mile race to Guadeloupe has settled in to a more usual normality as weather and sea conditions eased slightly.





    Solo skippers who had been forced into Breton havens for technical repairs returned to the race course this morning. The notable exception is the IMOCA Open 60 contender Vincent Riou.

    The PRB skipper who won the 2004-5 Vendée Globe and the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre with Jean Le Cam this time last year decided to abandon his Route du Rhum as soon as it became obvious that he could no longer achieve his goals.

    A combination of damage to his mainsail track mounting and the fracture of a ballast tank wall away from the hull bottom meant his chances of adding the classic Route du Rhum to his list of ‘successes’ are dashed. He is one of 16 of the 91 starters to have now abandoned the race.

    Pierre Antoine, skipper of the Multi50 Olmix, had to be airlifted off his boat early this afternoon. He raised the alarm this morning after he sustained damage to his main hull in an electrical storm. He was around 120 miles north of Cape Finisterre. As requested by race direction Class 40 leader Sébastien Rogues diverted to the rescue zone and stood by until the uninjured skipper was safely in to the Spanish rescue helicopter.



    Speaking after his dramatic rescue Antoine explained: “In fact the lightning struck the top of the mast. I later found the bulb from the masthead down on the ground. It came down through the mast right to the bottom. The boat is made of wood so it left a hole in the wood and right through the electrical cables which had caught fire. I thought first of all it was just alight, so I tried to put it out with the extinguisher, as I didn’t think there was any hole. When I went inside the boat, there was already 50 cm of water and she was beginning to go bow down. After that, the water just kept rising. I found bits of wood floating around. It’s the sort of thing that never happens. It’s crazy. Luckily I wasn’t inside the boat, seeing it had burnt everywhere. I could have been sitting in front of the computer. I can’t imagine what would have happened… The screens exploded and everything turned to dust…”

    Routine, what routine? On this second full day of racing skippers are trying to recover a little, to establish something of a routine but remain dog tired and groggy. There is also the emotional toll, knowing the dramas and retirals which have taken place. It is not easy to stay at maximum focus. In the Bay of Biscay and off Cape Finisterre the racing conditions remain tough, but mostly manageable. Winds have been averaging 20-25kts but with big gusts to 35kts. Between the leaders and the fleet back markers La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe race now extends to nearly 1000 miles. The super fast Ultimes are due to pass Madeira this evening, relishing sunshine and trade winds sailing while the back of the Class 40 fleet and the Rhum class are still be subjected to more Atlantic low pressure system weather, strong winds and challenging seas.



    TRACKER


    For the leading duo in the Ultimes there is the prospect of steadily improving conditions. This morning race leader Loick Peyron said that he could anticipate ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. But over the first 24 hours he was on the edge of exhaustion and had dropped off asleep momentarily several times when he was in control of his giant Ultime Maxi Solo Banque Populaire. As the seas evened out this afternoon the acceleration is noticeable, the leaders averaging 27kts. Peyron leads Yann Guichard on Spindrift 2 by 67 miles while the performance of Sébastien Josse on the smaller Multi70 Group Edmond de Rothschild is remarkable, once again a loud endorsement for the former MOD70 design. Josse is more or less even with Spindrift on the afternoon rankings today. They will pass Madeira this evening and then tomorrow have to make the strategic decision when to gybe and head more directly towards Guadeloupe. Thereafter it will be almost directly downwind, time to make hay.

    Francois Gabart, leading the IMOCA Open 60 Class by 43 miles this afternoon, asserted this morning that ‘it is far from easy’. But as he did on his Vendée Globe circumnavigation last year, he has a habit of making it look straightforward. On Macif he has lead since the start line on Sunday afternoon and – having lost Riou, one of his Port La Foret training mates and key rivals – has three times La Solitaire winner Jeremie Beyou in second and Marc Guillemot in third. Tanguy de Lamotte spoke today of his desire to get back on the race course on Initiatives Coeur and he was reported to be nearing completion of his rudder repairs late this afternoon.

    In the Multi 50 Class there are five boats left racing from 11 starters but the battle off Cape Finisterre today has been engaging while Lalou Roucayrol has profited from the more direct course, closer to the rhumb line on Arkema Region Aquitaine and so has the lead by 44 miles over Yves Le Blevec on Actual and Erwan Le Roux’s FenetreA-Cardinal which are 11 miles apart. The latter went inside the Finisterre TSS while the leader Roucayrol is 100 miles further to the west.

    Class 40’s leader is now Thibault Vauchel-Camus on Solidaires du Peloton, erstwhile leader Rogues returning to full race mode after his SOS diversion to stand by the sinking Multi50. He has dropped to third but past precedents suggest he will be compensated for his detour by a jury decision. On GDF Suez he was third on the late afternoon rankings. Miranda Merron has gained two places to seventh on Campagne de France while her English compatriot Conrad Humphreys spoke of his disappointment at having to pit stop into Camaret yesterday.

    “There were really big waves getting over the Continental Shelf.” Humphreys reported, “I didn’t manage to eat or sleep so it was good to rest up in Camaret while the repairs were being carried out and I’m feeling much better now. It’s just great to be back out and in the race. It’s settled down a bit now and Cat Phones is making good progress towards Finisterre. As for life on board the boat, it’s all about getting into the routine of things and I’ve regained my rhythm. I’ve not had an internet connection so one of my jobs today is to try and sort that out.”

    Then in Rhum Class it remains Sardinia’s Andrea Mura repeating his act of 2010 leading by 45 miles. Sir Robin Knox Johnston lies in 11th place going steadily: “All well aboard.” He reported today, “ Put up more sail this morning. Nice to be showing as much as 15 knots occasionally, but for an older boat she does drive easily on a reach. Not sure of the wind speed as the wind direction and course has given up.”

    They said Listen to audio of Knox Johnston and Humphreys HERE






    François Gabart (IMOCA 60 Macif): "It is far from being simple. There is a lot of wind and the boat is slamming massively. I had between 30 and 35kts. I was not so surprised by the wind but by the state of the seas. The boat was going fast and you really have to make sure you don’t fly off the waves too much. It’s pretty tough physically and the breeze will build again after Finisterre. It has been a difficult start to the race but I enjoy the competitive part of it. It fulfils that part of me. Certainly it falls in line with what I wanted and planned. I am glad to be where I am but I am sorry for Vincent (Riou) I thought he was pushing me hard and would muscle through. The drum on the small headsail furler exploded and so that took me a long time on the deck last night to fix.”

    Kito de Pavant (Class 40 Otio - Medical Bastide): "The conditions are tough, muscular with a particularly difficult first night and winds to 40 knots. The sea is big. It is a little more downwind now at 90 degrees to the wind and with a mean wind speed at 30 knots. It is fast and wet. Just now it is not exactly comfortable but we hope it will be better tomorrow. "





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  2. #12
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    Route Du Rhum : Peyron Still Ahead Of Record!




    Route du Rhum leader Loick Peyron reported this morning that he had just enjoyed his first hot meal after two and a half days of the race, a 'cassoulet' bean stew on the moonlit 'terrasse' of his giant Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII. But as he stripped out his overall lead to nearly 150 miles this afternoon, the legendary French allrounder is increasingly leaving his opposition struggling with their soup course.





    Some current routings even suggest the leading margin of Peyron - whose best Route du Rhum finish from six attempts over 28 years is fifth - may extend to 200 miles by late this evening.

    After passing Madeira last night, conditions have eased off significantly for the leading Ultime class skippers who are dicing with the lighter airs generated by the Azores high pressure which now centred to their north and northwest.

    Their balancing act, such as it is, is to avoid sailing too far north and being swallowed into the sticky lighter winds whilst also trying not to venture too far to the south, where the breeze is stronger but more miles are inherently added to the distance to sail as it becomes the less direct, longer route.





    Tracker






    As they point their bows more directly towards Guadeloupe and the finish line, some 2400 miles ahead, if the balance of this equation is their only worry then the magnificent seven Ultime soloists might spare a thought or two for the other skippers of the four other classes.

    Most are about to suffer another spanking from an Atlantic low pressure system which will bring very strong, gusty winds - forecast to be worst off the notorious Cape Finisterre, off Spain's NW corner.

    It has not been a good day for some of the pre-race favourites. Sebastien Rogues, Class 40's outstanding skipper these past two years, has had to abandon his quest to add the Route du Rhum title to his list of honours. A mainsail rip this morning made the decision for the GDF SUEZ skipper, compounding concerns about a failing spreader fitting which supports his rig, and wind instrument issues. He is heading to Spain.





    As per the pre-race tipsters' beliefs Rogues had lead the race for the first couple of days. So also did Yves Le Blevec in the Multi50 class on Actual. He was also expected to be a top contender. WInd instrument and electrical problems have required Le Blevec to pit-stop into Cascais.

    But what should have been a fast, simple fix became a double stop. He set off again this late morning only to have to return back again and at 1630hrs this afternoon was reported to be making ready to leave the Portuguese marina for the second time.

    He was more than 360 miles away from a close duel between Class leader Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema Region Aquitaine) who is 15 miles ahead of Erwan Le Roux (FenetreA-Cardinal).

    The IMOCA Open 60 Class sees the leaders closing progressively to the Azores with 40 miles separating leader Francois Gabart (Macif) from third placed Marc Guillemot (Safran). Tanguy de Lamotte rejoined the race on his Initiatives Coeur on Tuesday evening.




    Eight skippers have now abandoned in Class 40 and 31 were left actively racing today. The leaders left Cape Finisterre behind this morning and are into more manageable conditions, time to recover energies and focus on strategies for the immediate future. Kito de Pavant (Otio-Bastivo Medical) leads Thibault Vauchel-Camus (Solidaires en Peloton) by nine miles but Yannnick Bestaven (Le Conservateur) has made a spectacular rise to third 20 miles off the lead whilst Spain's Alex Pella holds on to fourth.

    Briton Miranda Merron said today she is delighted to be still in the race, lying in ninth on Campagne de France. "I have been having problems with my autopilot and am on back-up. I have given it enough time for the moment and am going to give up on it for the meantime. It is something to do with the masthead unit. Luckily before the race I got someone who knows what the are doing to look at all this and the back up system is much simpler now. But the rest is down to guesswork. I am contemplating a sail change which really does cost time and energy if you get it wrong at all", she told Race HQ in Saint-Malo today.




    They said:

    Yann Elies, Ultime Paprec Recycling: "We have a high pressure system which is trying to swallow us. Whenever I feel I am getting away from it my speeds drop again as the winds fall. Last night I had electronics problems and had to slow down. I lost time messing about inside the boat trying to fix it. LIttle techncial problems are losing me 15 mins here, 30 mins there. I have not really had the time to recharge my own batteries to be serene and focused as I am on the Solitaire du Figaro."

    Lalou Roucayrol, Multi50, Arkema Aquitaine: "I have just cleaned up the boat and dry as much as I could because we took a bit of a pounding these first three days. I am doing what my router Eric Mas says and we wanted to be in the west. Now there is a ridge to manage we'll see what happens there but we are better positioned here to take on the ridge. The boat is good. I feel fatigued and have not eaten much and have not had much sleep.

    François Gabart, IMOCA, Macif: "It's pretty clear in my head from the start. I followed the strategy I had for the first few days. These will be the more difficult times as I get to the ridge first in the lead and the others behind will have more for longer."





    Sébastien Rogues, Class40, GDF SUEZ: " I am extremely disappointed but very touched by all the support I have had and continue to have. I thank my family and all the workers at GDF SUEZ, my team, my partners who have always supported me. I am disappointed but will not forget this rich, intense experience."

    Sir Robin Knox Johnston (Rhum Class, Grey Power): " My only "damage" so far is that the wind instruments have failed, but that is where I have an advantage over the younger skippers in that I grew up when we did not have such luxuries. So, as I look at the latest position reports, it is good to see we are slowly reeling in the boats that got ahead of us earlier. We have the speed on a reach,so it will now come down to tactical decisions as to where to choose to make the crossing of the Atlantic, and every competitor is thinking about that right now. At the end of the day, we all race within our classes, but I think we must all be watching with admiration the progress of the Ultimes. 20 years ago Peter Blake and I thought a 92 foot catamaran was big and fast, and it was at the time. We averaged 15 knots around the world with a crew of 8. Loick Peyron is now averaging close to 30 knots single handed! That is progress. One wonders at what the watchkeepers on the Merchant ships make of it, as they see AIS targets coming towards them, or overtaking them at the speeds we now make in yachts. Banque Popular must appear like a new secret navy weapon"



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  3. #13
    I think Loick is happy not to be on Happy at this point.

  4. #14
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Parts is Parts




    Céline Tallegas found and photographed the front section Thomas Colville's starboard ama after it washed ashore in Brittany earlier today. It was later picked up by Colville's team.

    Any reward for Céline?







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  5. #15
    Gotta be worth a pretty penny!

  6. #16
    Clean break right at bulkhead. How did it not go from bad to worse for Colville?

  7. #17


    Nice compilation video!
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  8. #18

    Route do Rhum November 6th Update




    Early this afternoon (Thursday) about thirty miles off La Coruña, Bob Escoffier, the 65 year-old skipper from Saint Malo, was airlifted to safety by the Spanish Navy from his modified Sydney 60ft monohull Guisnel Grouo which was racing in the Rhum class of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.

    Bob Socffier's boat had been taking in water due to an unknown reason. He was transferred, safe and in good health, to the Spanish base in Vivero. Escoffier was engaged on his fourth race participation and has also completed three successive Transat Jacques Vabre races between 2001 and 2005. He was a late replacement for his daughter Servane who pulled out of the race in early September for medical reasons. His helicopter evacuation is the third such rescue after those of François Angoulvant who lost the keel of his Class 40 during the first night of racing and that of Pierre Antoine whose Multi50 was struck by lightning. The drop out rate has always been closely monitored on this four yearly passage from Saint-Malo to Guadeloupe. The usual average rate of skippers abanding is around 30 per cent but has been as high as half the fleet in editions such as in 1986 and 2002. So far there have now been 21 abandons with 70 skippers still racing in the five divisions.






    Loick Peyron can feel satisfied with his work to date on Maxi Solo Banque Populaire VII leading across the theoretical midway point of the race today with a margin hovering still around 170 miles to the finish line in Pointe-a-Pitre. With 1700 miles to go his delta has held steady at 10 per cent of the distance to the finish. In light, poorly established trade winds today, Peyron should lead Yann Guichard’s Spindrift out of the light winds zone and extend away again. On deck it is summer, 25 degrees with gentle breezes with a full moon at night. In the three cornered battle of the Multi70s Sebastien Josse eased clear of Sidney Gavignet again today but Yann Eliès struggled in a very light zone, conceding distance to his two rivals and was 140 NM behind Gavignet’s Musandam-Oman Sail this evening.

    Off Finisterre this evening conditions are forecast to be tough for the ten Rhum class racers and the back markers in Class 40 as a new low pressure sweeps across Biscay. Gusts up to 55kts are predicted with big, bad seas.




    Tracker



    IMOCA 60
    François Gabart increases the gap. Looking in the mirror from time to time to monitor three times La Solitaire du Figaro winner Jeremie Beyou, Francois Gabart carries on with his near perfect race. Beyou came back at him yesterday but Gabart is 45 miles in front again this afternoon with Marc Guillemot in third 77 miles behind. They have been sailing through a high pressure ridge but tonight their breezes veers NW and it will be a chance to set gennakers again. And while their worst weather is behind them, Tanguy de Lamotte (Initiatives Coeur) had 30kts was upwind and big in








    Multi50
    Game One. The skipper of FenetreA-Cardinal, Erwan Le Roux warned he was hunting down long time leader Arkema (Lalou Roucayrol) and has pushed hard these last 24 hours closing the gap between the top two boats to just six miles. They now race head to head less than 19 miles apart on the water though Le Roux is significantly quicker this late afternoon. Five of the 50 foot multis are still racing.





    Class40
    Thibault Camus Vauchel, leading to the trade winds. After going upwind in headwinds of 15-20kts the leaders are back reaching. The pacemaker remains transatlantic rookie Thibault Vauchel-Camus on the Sam Manuard designed Mach 40 Solidaires en Peloton. Despite being on his first solo race across the Atlantic, the skipper from Saint Malo, is more of a multihull expert from the ORMA and Multi50 world and before that F18 Raids. He leads past Solitaire du Figaro winner (2002) and Transat Jacques Vabre runner up Kito de Pavant on the Tyker Evolution3 Otio-Bastide Medical with Spain’s Alex Pella still nicely poised in third on the Botin design Tales 2.
    Pella reported today: “Everything ok aboard the "Tales II" I finally had the chance to sleep a little on the bunk. I even got in the sleeping bag. Yesterday afternoon the wind went down and I had to repair many things!! This left me once again, a few hours without being able to attend the boat. However, everything's rolling now!! Now upwind!! Very unstable!! Let's see if I go through the correct place... Now "Tales II" is perfect!! Me too!! Except for my hands and feet... due to so much sea water!!”







    Class Rhum
    Battle of Cape Finisterre. Several of the Rhum class skippers have chosen to head to a haven to see out the worst of this weather. Portuguese Ricardo Diniz (Parisasia.fr) was en route in to La Coruña as was Benjamin Hardouin (Krit'R V) who shadowed Bob Escoffier during his rescue. Christophe Souchaud (Solitaire-Rhum) is in Bayona. Finn Ari Huusela (Neste Oil) should avoid the worst of it, being further to the south, but he reported this afternoon: “It’s really heavy here now, I just changed the jib to stormjib and now the main thing is to keep the boat safe through into tomorrow morning!” Second placed Anne Caseneuve (Aneo) has the chance to get south and increase the longitudinal separation with leader Italian Andrea Mura (Vento di Sardegna) who always leads but is now 250 miles further north. But the guts of the battle is a four way tussle between Wilfrid Clerton (Cap a Cap Location) Pierre-Yves Chatelin (Destination Calais), Jean-Paul Froc (Berto Group) and Robin Knox-Johnston (Grey Power).

    ETA Guadeloupe hours
    Ultimate: Monday, November 10 at noon
    IMOCA: November 15
    Multi50: November 16

    They said:
    Yann Guichard Ultime Spindrift 2: “It was never going to be easy. What is good right now is that we have had not had so many manoeuvres and so I have been able to get some rest because the trade winds are not so well set up. There is a little calm bubble that is in front of us and that is why Loick has slowed. But I have managed to get out a bit and escape from Prince de Bretagne and the groupe behind them. The trades are not that strong but there are still gusts. Meantime I try to reduce the manoeuvres and save energy for later.”




    Marc Guillemot, IMOCA, Safran: "Once the wind drops a bit into the trades I have one job to do to climb up the mast to recover and unwind my spinnaker halyard which has a wrap around the mast. It also seems like the halyard ripped off the VHF and AIS antenna and so I am invisible. I can see a pink sail though (Lalou Roucayrol, Multi 50) who is about two or three miles from me.”

    Vauchel Thibault Camus, Class40, Solidaires en Peloton: "I'm really happy. I trusted the race strategy I had for the first 46 hours. I also enjoy the support of some of my competitors like Nicolas Troussel and Sebastien Rogue. The position I have been looking for is good and while I was upwind before I am ready to get the spinnaker up. At first it was quite tough and sporty. We had some surprising gusts more than 40 or 50 knots.”



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  9. #19
    21 out already?

    Route Du Abandon?

  10. #20
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Catphones Dismasted In Route du Rhum



    At 17:30 UTC, British competitor, Conrad Humphreys, Racing on the Class 40 Cat Phones, contacted the race office of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe to report that his boat had dismasted when he was 380nm east of the Azores. Conrad Humphreys is safe inside the boat and he is monitoring the situation. The Race Direction of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe contacted the CROSS (France’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Center). They are keeping the contact with the British skipper to try to get him to the coast as soon as possible.
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