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
In this hotly contested fleet where past race honours are shared almost equally through the fleet, it is still Armel Le Cléac’h, the Jackal, who has managed to maintain the lead of the nine boat class for a full 24 hours.
On his southerly option, passing off Lisbon today, after being slowed by calms straying too close to the edge of the high last night Michel Desjoyeaux, had to gybe to the SE to escape but has gybed back to course now and is quickest in the fleet, regaining seven miles on the leaders since this morning.
His deviation cost eighth too Arnaud Boissières. Desjoyeaux is ninth still with a deficit of 169 miles on Brit Air.
Marc Guillemot said this morning that he hopes to repair the hook on the head of his solent jib which has been his problem virtually since the start of the race on Safran.
There was bit of a fright for Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel) during the night when he awoke with a start with his radar alarm going off. Incredibly he was on collision course with sister-ship Safran with skipper Guillemot asleep. De Pavant reacted quickly and passed 50 metres behind his rival, the winner of last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre.
Speaking on the radio vacs this morning Safran’s Guillemot was unaware he had passed so close to his friend and rival.
Guillemot did reveal what his technical issue has been. There is a problem with the hook which locks the head of the Solent to the mast and so he has been unable to use this key sail, instead sailing under staysail. But he hopes to be able to fix this today and resume full power.
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.
The Imoca skippers are due to meet up again in St Malo on 31st October for the Route du Rhum-la Banque Postale and in Barcelona on 31st December for the Barcelona World Race. 9 boats are set to compete in the Rhum and at least ten for the Barcelona.
At the present time, some skippers are finishing off their projects in order to make it to the start line, while others are adding the final touches to their brand new prototypes.
The new projects:
Four major projects are under way at the moment. The most advanced of these belongs to Vincent Riou (PRB), whose new boat has been on the water since the spring, and Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac – Paprec 3), who recently moored up in Lorient at the end of a long delivery trip from New Zealand via the Panama canal. Meanwhile, Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) is completing a race against the clock so as to make the start of the Route du Rhum, before gearing up for the Barcelona World Race. The three sailors have all opted for a Verdier – VPLP design, acknowledging the respective performances of Safran and Groupe Bel. Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) is continuing with the construction of his Kouyoumdjian designed boat at the Decision yard in Switzerland.
Continuing to sail
Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) has traded in his Lombard design, which was beginning to get a bit dated, for the Farr designed boat previously skippered by Sébastien Josse during the last Vendée Globe. Bilou’s aim is to defend his title during the next Route du Rhum. Roland will once again be competing against Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel), who is continuing to optimise his monohull, as well as Marc Guillemot (Safran), who is keen to repeat his performance from the last Transat Jacques Vabre.
For this year’s Route du Rhum, Arnaud Boissières (Akena Vérandas) is now in possession of a boat which once belonged to Vincent Riou, while Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air), winner of the Solitaire du Figaro, will be racing on his Finot designed boat again.
Looking ahead to Barcelona, Dominique Wavre and his new partner Mirabaud will be at the start of the next Barcelona World Race; while Dee Caffari will be teaming up with Anna Corbella (GAES Centros Auditivos).
Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) will also be at the start of the race, aboard a boat previously skippered by Brian Thompson (Pindar). Alex is gambling on the boat’s power and his new boat is certainly a looker.
The Spanish are also intending to be out in force on the IMOCA circuit as several crews are actively preparing for the Barcelona World Race. Alex Pella is teaming up with Pepe Ribes (Estrella Damm) on Loïck Peyron’s former Farr design; Pachi Rivero is partnering Tonio Piris (W Hotels Nova Bocana) on Jean-Pierre Dick’s former boat, while Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez (Movistar) are benefiting from the advice of Michel Desjoyeaux after purchasing the winning boat from the last Vendée Globe.
A few other projects will also be taking part in the next Barcelona World Race and they are discreetly being finalised.
Strategic choices for the future
By opting to register the next three editions of the Barcelona World Race in its schedule, Imoca had gambled on its internationalisation and the complementary nature of single and double-handed races.
They’ve pulled it off! The 2010 Imoca season will comprise over 20 entries in its World Championship.
Naturally, the 2008 Vendée Globe was an exceptional event, with 30 competitors at the start. 18 competitors lined up for the 2004 edition, so we should be able to count on the 2012 edition being just as exceptional.
Between these two round the world races, the Europa Race will go around Europe, starting in Istanbul on July 2nd 2011.
An action-packed season
As they all prepare for the two major events, namely the Route du Rhum and the Barcelona World Race, a number of races have welcomed the sixty foot monohulls, enabling a series of often highly instructive confrontations between boats from different generations.
As usual, the Douarnenez Grand Prix welcomed the IMOCA boats for an event which brilliantly combined speed runs and offshore courses. It proved to be a great opportunity for Vincent Riou to try out his brand new PRB and for Marc Guillemot to validate the latest modifications carried out on Safran. The Spaniards on Movistar, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez, benefited from a prestigious guest in the shape of Michel Desjoyeaux, who was able to pass on a few of the secrets to powering up his former boat. Brit Air skippered by Armel Le Cléac’h and Veolia Environnement skippered by Roland Jourdain, completed the line-up. Ultimately the Spaniards took victory just a whisker ahead of PRB and Safran.
Estrella Damm and W Hotels Nova Bocana battled it out on an original double-handed course between New York and Barcelona with a view to achieving a new record.
The SNSM Record meantime saw the victory of Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) ahead of Akena Vérandas skippered by Arnaud Boissières.
At the same, the Vuelta Espana a Vela played host to eight IMOCA crews for a race between Hondarribia and Barcelona, passing through Santander, Gijon, Sanxenxo, Calpe and Palma de Majorca. Given the results of the first two stages, we could have imagined the race would be completely dominated by the two Verdier VPLP designs skippered by Marc Guillemot (Safran) and Vincent Riou (PRB). However, with every leg, the Spanish crews got stronger and stronger, to the extent that they were a regular source of worry for the two leaders of the fleet, twice just missing out on a leg victory that went right down to the wire. It is clear that the emergence of some top level Iberian crews is excellent news for the internationalisation of the class.
Finally, the Artemis Challenge around the Isle of Wight, an event reserved for IMOCAs, proved to be a must during Cowes Week with Mike Golding (MGYR), Roland Jourdain (Véolia Environnement), Dee Caffari (GAES), Ryan Breymaier and Boris Herrmann (VE1), Steve White (Toe in the water) and the Artemis team vying for the top spot. Mike, the outright winner of the event, was able to hand over a cheque for £10,000 to the R.N.L.I.
From 3rd to 5th September, the Happy Baie, a new nautical event in La Trinité sur Mer in Brittany, is inviting the 60’ IMOCAs to join in their races and festivities.
As has become the custom the day before a big meeting, the skippers of the 60’ IMOCAs will head for Port-la-Forêt, South-West Brittany, at the end of September and the beginning of October, for some training sessions in preparation for the next Route du Rhum. It will be an opportunity for the new projects to measure up against the tried and tested boats, which were extensively optimised over the winter.
Some of the Imoca sailors themselves have been subjected to some rigorous on-the-water training this summer, albeit on the smaller craft of the Figaro circuit. Armel Le Cléac’h (Brit Air) has shown that he has lost nothing of his clairvoyance by scoring a blinder in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale in association with Fabien Delahaye, before totally dominating the Solitaire du Figaro.
We offer our sincere congratulations to our 2008 World Champion and his partner Brit Air.
Armel was not the only Imoca skipper to compete in the Solitaire. Jérémie Beyou (BPI), Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel), Yann Eliès (Generali), Sébastien Josse (Vendée), Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) and Jonny Malbon (Artemis) also took part in this great summer classic.
Those taking part in the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale
Arnaud Boissières – Akena Vérandas
Armel Le Cléac’h – Brit Air
Christopher Pratt – DCNS 1000
Michel Desjoyeaux – FONCIA
Kito de Pavant – Groupe Bel
Vincent Riou – PRB
Marc Guillemot – Safran
Roland Jourdain – Veolia Environnement
Jean-Pierre Dick – Virbac Paprec 3
Those taking part in the Barcelona World Race
Jean-Pierre Dick – Loïck Peyron, Virbac – Paprec 3
Michel Desjoyeaux – François Gabart, Foncia
Dominique Wavre – Michèle Paret, Mirabaud
Anna Corbella – Dee Caffari, GAES Centros Auditivos
Alex Pella – Pepe Ribes, Estrella Damm
Pachi Ribero – Tonio Piris, W Hotels Nova Bocana
Iker Martinez – Xabi Fernandez, Movistar
Alex Thomson – , Hugo Boss
Juan Mederiz – Fran Palacio, Central Lechera Asturiana
Boris Herman – Ryan Breymaier – (VE1)
In addition to these ten entrants, three to four crews are finalising their projects. The former Roxy, Super Bigoud and Kingfisher may also be lining up at the start…
This morning saw the first offshore racing for the Open 60s and 40 footers, whilst the opening of hostilities for the Dragons has been postponed until tomorrow due to a lack of wind. Indeed the bay of Douarnenez swapped yesterday’s spring nuances for a veil of mist. The result was a change of atmosphere on the water with phantom boats emerging from out of the gloom and then disappearing just as quickly as they were swallowed up into the wispy nothingness.
Local sculptor and highly-skilled Dragon sailor Yann Kersalé could be seen scanning the bay of Douarnenez this morning. “I bought my first Dragon 20 years ago and it was already painted black and christened Dirastarc’h (Breton for ‘win it all’). This bay has a unique geographic configuration, due West, which the sunshine just sinks into. We’re at the tip of Europe so we benefit from the first light and that’s something that is never the same, it’s constantly changing”. A loyal competitor in the Grand Prix Petit Navire, Yann sails with Tanguy Ravac’h and Gildas Philippe, the 4.70 m and Mumm 30 world champions. The crew is 100% local and hope to rank in the top 15. “We’re going to have to watch out for the black flag though as it’s known to be our speciality. In fact we’ve painted the nose of the boat white because a black one is too easy to spot”. Yann’s two crew share this enthusiasm and zest for competition! “It’s an ideal race zone, no matter which way the wind blows. It takes 10 minutes to get out on the water which is perfect” explains Gildas Philippe. “There’s no current, no rocks; the race zone is clear and protected. You come and go as you like” continues Tanguy Ravac’h.
Safe, practical, ideal… what more could you want? Fred Gourlaouen, crew for Bruno Peyron on Ar Maout, goes further: “It’s a genuine stadium for watersports and if we had the infrastructure on shore, it would be the perfect race zone to play host to the America’s Cup”. Jimmy Pahun doesn’t originate from Douarnenez, but the sailor from Morbihan in SW Brittany is just as forthcoming when he talks of the bay: “To sail here is like sailing miles away. It’s about sailing in the verdure, it’s reminiscent of Ireland”. Bruno Peyron is just as enthusiastic: “Quite simply it’s the most beautiful bay in Europe. I am very sensitive to colours, landforms and contrasts and you’ve got it all here”. The Jules Verne Trophy recordman shares Jimmy’s views on preserving this landscape. “We have the Conservatoire du Littoral to thank for protecting such fabulous sites.”
A taste of the open ocean
Meantime the Class 40s set off on a far from ‘bracing’ coastal course this morning at 1038 hours and thirty minutes later it was the turn of the Open 60 footers. Seemingly at a crawl wading through cotton wool, the monohulls distanced themselves from the port of Rosmeur. The whole of the first part of the 36 mile coastal course was coloured by a very light breeze, but fortunately, early in the afternoon, this filled gently to 10 to 12 knots, which enabled the fleet to lengthen their stride. This respite was only short lived however as at 1800 hours, the wind had dropped again and there was still no sign of the Class 40s. By the end of the first offshore race, it was the 60 footer BT which was first to cross the finish line at 1743 hours, followed by Foncia at 1752 hours.
The low-down on the pontoons this morning
Jonny Malbon (Artemis): “It’s my first time at the Grand Prix Petit Navire but I’ve known about the event and have wanted to be part of it for a long time. It’s also the first time I’ve come to Douarnenez: it’s a very pretty town and the coast is fantastic. When I arrived here three days ago, it was like being home in England: certain coastlines in Brittany and England are very similar. I’ve loved sailing in the bay, even though the sailing has been a bit difficult for my crew as some don’t know the boat very well yet. We’re getting on well though and we’re relishing being out on the water: that’s what’s important. Above all else we’re here to learn to control the boat better and naturally the best way of doing that is to sail against other honed crews. As such we’re clearly in the right place”.
Jean Galfione sailing on Foncia, alongside Michel Desjoyeaux: “I really enjoyed the first two days of sailing. I’m really lucky to be able to sail on Foncia with Michel Desjoyeaux and his crew. There’s a great atmosphere aboard and I’m learning loads of things on this boat that I didn’t know before. For the time being we’ve racked up some good speeds with some great results comprising firsts and seconds. On the water it’s been fantastic, especially yesterday in the sun which stayed with us the whole afternoon. Though it’s misty today it’s so beautiful. I love the landscape here in Douarnenez. There’s no stress on the boat at all. Added to that, for Michel this racing is above all a chance to enable sponsors and friends to sail. The upshot of this is that the Grand Prix Petit Navire has a very nice, festive air to it”.