When he brought the giant 31m trimaran Groupama 3 across the finish line off Pointe-a-Piitre, Guadeloupe today (Tuesday)under perfect sunshine and light breezes Franck Cammas (FRA) won the 9th edition of the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale, the 3542 miles transatlantic race from Saint Malo for solo skippers which takes place every four years. Cammas crossed the finish line at 16..h 16..min 47. Secs (CET paris// 15h 16 mins 47 secs GMT,// 11 hrs 16 mins 47 seconds local time) The elapsed time for the course, after starting Saint Malo at 1302hr (CET/paris) Is. 9 days 3 hours 14 mins 47 seconds The average speed over the course on the water was. 20..39 knots for the actual course sailed of 4471 miles. . The course record of 7 days17 hrs 19 mins 6 seconds was set in 2006 Cammas adds his name to the legend of the ‘Rhum’ as successor to Mike Birch, Marc Pajot, Philippe Poupon, Florence Arthaud, Laurent Bourgnon, Michel Desjoyeaux and Lionel Lemonchois
by Colin Merry
“Alarm call at 0500hrs. this morning. but as Pete’s minder last night I was up and about at 0400hrs. in order not to miss the wake up call. Quick slurp of coffee then down to the boat. The rain was easing as we slid into the lock prior to being released to the sea. Even at this hour the lock sides were lined with waving cheering people! ”
”A lot of them looked as though they had been partying all night! Slipping out through the entrance we headed seaward greeted by a magnificant sunrise, a good omen we hoped. ”
“Several hours followed where Pete and Tom got the boat set up whilst I helmed. Normally not a problem for me, but this time it was different. ”
“I have never experienced so much responsibility, and it was getting more crowded by the minute. After nearly four hours and with twelve minutes to go we wished him well and jumped into the waiting rib.”
“Sorry that most of the pics. are of Class40′s but we were intent on following DMS for several miles and naturally we were surrounded by other 40′s. “
After a studied start keeping clear of the mayhem that is a start line Pete broke out the fractional kite and settled into the race.
With the wind easing it was not long before he went up a gear and raised the masthead kite.
Before we broke off the chase he was overhauling a few boats and looked like he was thoroughly enjoying himself! So 3500miles to go and a possible encounter with a hurricane. (there is a cyclone winding itself up out the West atlantic which has been upgraded to Hurricane ”Tomas).
We at C&A wish him and skippers well in their endeavour to be in Gaudalupe first.
by Colin Merry
Crowds flocked to the skippers reception last night. Even a vociferous demo by the French unions (complaining about France’s rise in pensionable age) couldn’t dampen the way in which each skipper was applauded as they mounted the stage. People crowded the whole area stretching back as for as the eye could see!
Some climbing trees and still others clinging to the lamp posts! Everyone was determined to get a glimpse of these brave men and women before they set off on the ”Route de Rhumb”. I was particularly warmed by the reception Pete Goss got as his name was announced and he mounted the stage to what was the loudest applause and cheers all night. The French still hold him in very high esteem to this day.
After the reception Team DMS, the sponsors and guests retired to a pub for some very welcome R&R. I say pub but once inside it became clear that this was a strange hostelry indeed! Dolls and weird bric a brac everywhere.
The bar seats were swings hanging from the ceiling. Oh and did I mention the three piece ensemble that entertained us? They were completely off the wall but good in a ‘different’ sort of way.
Anyway, back to the race. I walked past one tri for the best part of a week before recognising her. None other than Ellen MacArthur’s B&Q!
Gone is the familiar livery and now she is plain white. Turned into a Pizza delivery judging by the logos being applied as I watched one evening.
On DMS we have a constant stream of visitors, Media crew who want interviews. Other skippers. Sponsors and guests. Plus old friends of Pete and Tom’s that reads like a who’s who of sailing. One such visitor was Frederick Meunier, the boat builder responsible for DMS.
Fred’s Tunisia based yard ”MC Tech” has order books full until next May for the ”Akiliria” brand known as the RC2. As we sat and chatted he was looking around at the mods that Tom had made since she left his yard. A testament to Tom’s attention to detail when said he reckoned that she was the best turned out boat in the Class 40′ fleet.
As crowded as our boat was, at times it paled into insignificance compared to the crowds who by now had swelled to massive proportions! It was gridlock on the roads in and around St. Malo and it threatened to become gridlock on the pavements too. Looking out from a high vantage point it seemed that the predicted 1.2 million visitors had all arrived together today! I can’t even begin to envisage what 18,000 people on the water tomorrow are going to look like. Also add to that 100 ribs that will be inside the exclusion zone prior to the start and you begin to get some idea of the huge logistical enterprise that is the ”Route de Rhumb”.
Rookies to legends, the IMOCA class skippers are as one when it comes to being ready to go, they say.
Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry in his daily check-in wrote today how things were hotting up in St. Malo and he spoke of the atmosphere there. “We are now well sorted on DMS. She has now passed all her safety checks and is virtually ready to go. Not so with all the boats though. I see anxious faces on some of the Skippers as they seek to come within the scrutineers beady eye! For others it is a mad dash yet again to the Chandlers for some forgotten item. Or to replace a broken piece of equipment.
Tom (boat captain on DMS) was splicing more spare sheets and making chocks for the spare anchor to sit in yesterday. All done in almost a leisurely way. This air of calm is one that now pervades DMS. The reason being, that Pete and Tom have been working hard with a set plan of objectives for each and every day that we have been here. The hard work has paid off and we are sitting pretty. I myself was spared the job yesterday of donning wetsuit and cleaning the hull as Tom reckons we can do it nearer the start date. Instead I mounted the ‘Argos’ unit on the guard rail and attended to the sponsors flags that we are flying. Then I went food shopping! (someone has to be house mother you know!) Shopping in St. Malo can be fun, as for a short cut you can walk around the city wall when the streets get too crowded. Of course, when on the wall loads of opportunities arise for photography. So I include a few of my shopping shots!
Even on a cold day such as Wednesday the crowds are out in force. Whilst on the wall I grabbed a pic. of the 50′ tri’s lined up like dragonflys. The sheer volume of people is amazing!
Christopher Pratt (DCNS) is the rookie in the IMOCA Open 60 class is keeping up to speed with his sponsor and media commitments. After the talent search programme of his sponsors DCNS – which is one of France’s largest naval defence construction and shipbuilding companies – which he won, there are very many young students from the major colleges visiting the boat to meet the skipper here.
PRB’s visitor programme is very comprehensive. The sponsors of 2004-5 Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou have 300 guests most days to see the boat, and they have been running such a programme since the new boat was launched and sailed her maiden race around Spain in June. On board PRB everything is ready for the start.
Latest launched IMOCA Open 60 is of course that of Michel Desjoyeaux and his team are busy each day with the fine details, while the skipper catches up with his sleep and de-stresses after the remarkably quick six months build of his new boat.
Each afternoon the double Vendée Globe winner catches up with a two hour nap.
And Marc Guillemot, the IMOCA world champion and winner of the last Transat Jacques Vabre is also in great shape, ready for the off. He will be signing copies of the book he co-wrote with his wife after his 2008-9 Vendée Globe.
Jean-Pierre Dick will show Belgian comic actor François Damians over his new VPLP-Verdier design and then Loick Peyron, who JP will pair up with for the imminent Barcelona World Race, will be here this evening.
On Friday Arnaud Boissières will host world match racing tour leader Mathieu Richard aboard Akena Verandas, as well as Christine Janin, the first French woman to climb Everest.
Armel Le Cléac’H of Brit Air has been home with his family and will arrive this evening, whilst Roland Jourdain, the defending champion, is totally chilled out and ready with his new Veolia Environnment. Routing is of course forbidden in this class, and so preparations with external advisors is paramount leading in to Sunday.
Groupama made for a lonely looking boat as she lay all on her own in the outer harbour. This not because she has been excluded. No, they just couldn’t get her into the lock! She is sporting a much smaller rig for this race because the normal rig would be too much for one man to handle.
An indication of the attention to detail that the Groupama team approach their projects is shown in the extent of changes made to the giant trimaran in order that one man (Frank Cammas) can handle this beast. As well as the obvious switch to a lower-aspect rig the boats ergonomics have been re-evaluated and modified with the installation of a hand and leg driven system for the winches and the hydraulic system. This with many other mods. should enable one (very fit) man to manage this 103′ behemoth!
The skippers will all be at the top of their game as they head out
by Colin Merry
Today’s update on the prestart activities for Pete Goss and DMS from Colin Merry had a great suprise. Raphael Dinelli paid Pete Goss a visit prior to Pete’s departure in the Route du Rhum 2010.
With all the safety checks passed we can now get down to the task of stowing all the gear that is going with the boat and removing everything that is not vital to the dockside. Mark Wylie (Eastern Electornics) looks up to his ears in it as he operates no less than three computers at once! But rest assured he is on top of his game, and the installs and glitch sorting are going fine.
We had a most welcome visitor to DMS yesterday in the form of Raphael Dinelli. You may remember that Pete turned back in to the teeth of a massive storm in the Southern Ocean during a Vendee race to rescue him. Since then they have been firm friends and it was touching to see them meet again.
Once again close of play found us winding down in the ‘Bar de Legends’ where we met James Boyd. Editor of www.thedailysail.com and Raphael!
Forgive me for getting on the other side of the lens but I couldn’t resist a couple of pics. with James and Raphael!
Joined by Marco Nannini and Richard Tolkien both Class 40 skippers we spent a pleasant hour talking boats.