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With 1,000 miles to go on the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, the IMOCA title is in the balance

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With 1,000 miles to go on the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, the IMOCA title is in the balance

By La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe Nov 18 23:03 UTC
November 18, 2022

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After last night’s 66-year-old Francis Guyon completed his eighth-placed Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe fourth on the 105-foot/32-meter Ultim IDEC Sport, he completed his pier meet in Pointe-à-Pitre. With the words, “This may not have been my last shot of rum,” the spotlight now shifts to the IMOCA fleet, as it seems a final heated battle is about to take place over the last 1,000 miles in Guadeloupe.

Pre-race favorite Charlie Dalen (Apivia), who had been leading from the start, this morning took off Thomas Royant (LinkedOut), who seemed to have benefited from a more stable and stronger trade wind thanks to his westerly position yesterday. Dalin had been relocated to join his longtime rival and the pair were, this afternoon, engaged in a match race just a few miles away.

So, after nine days and 2,500 miles of hard racing, the IMOCA class is wide open and instead of being the usual drag race to Tête à l’Anglais buoy to the north of Guadeloupe, it looks like the last two or three days are going to be a test of tactics, gear changes, and prediction. Water small changes in the future, trimming for small gains here and there.

Compare it to the same point in the 2018 race when British captain Alex Thompson was the best part of 100 nautical miles ahead of a mixed fleet of boats of different styles and generations. So far, this IMOCA race has been attractively unusual, because the usual option in the northwest has been largely closed due to predictable sea conditions and strong winds. All the skippers on the new boats wanted to minimize their risk at all costs.

The class winner is likely to be decided on the final 53-mile pass around the western Basse Terre where lulls often lie in wait to snare the inattentive leader. This always benefits the opponent or the chasing pack.

But in a title showdown increasingly touted in terms of finish for the three-day 600-mile La Solitaire du Figaro race, who would bet against Dalin, who has finished five times on the La Solitaire podium in consecutive years?

Closely matched rivals at the last Vendée Globe – until Royant damaged his port foil and had to watch Dalin sail away – have the leading duo 30 miles within reach of third-place Kevin Escoffier (Holcim-PRB).

Describing the chaotic state of the trade winds, Escoffier highlighted this morning, “In these trade winds, the gaps open and close in a short time depending on the shift of the wind or the gust. When you’re sailing on a boat, that can make perfect sense, but it’s also a matter of chance. If You’re in the wrong place at the wrong time and you get a bump, you can lose 30-40 miles in one night. Weather charts predict things we don’t necessarily get out on the water. You just have to take any chances and be lucky.”

The west was good for Briton Babe Hare (Medalia) who was trucking on the starboard side of the IMOCA fleet in the 13th despite having a hole in the bottom of her mainsail. Having worked yesterday on a repair to limit the damage and reinforce loading paths where possible, Hare is in great shape today. She said, “I’ve had the best night. Actually it doesn’t get much better than this, I don’t think. It’s warm. The sea is just right, it’s not too big. Maybe I could do with just a little more breeze, please. But it’s a nice angle, the boat is lit It’s unbelievable. It makes all that heading in the first week so good again. It’s great that Isabel Joschke catches a little bit.”

Hare had slowed a little this evening and had not advanced as quickly as she had gone to the east. Kiwi Conrad Colman (Imagine) is enjoying racing inside a daggerboard regatta as he finishes third behind Tanguy le Turquais and Seb Marsset.

Imagine Commander Coleman, in the 17th report, “One of the problems is that my main computer just stopped working. I am surrounded by Microsoft blue screen of death images which have progressively worsened and are now cooked. Then I had to finish reconfiguring computer B Mine which I’ve done and it’s fully functional.And I have a problem with the processor on autopilot and so I’m on backup pilot and it’s a little bit less stable and a little less accurate.I need to be a lot of attention and a lot on the button when it comes to the potential scan I got last night .I am working hard and not sleeping much at the moment.”

Sam Davies (Cœur Initiatives), has been struggling in her new boat and is uncharacteristically 27th. She explained, “I haven’t dared look at the standings for three days, because I’m certainly not proud of where I am. Now I’m giving myself the task of getting the miles back from the boats ahead. Right now, I don’t have any shifts. I’m going to get some sleep to get ready for the days ahead.” , which looks very difficult from a physical point of view.”

If an IMOCA class podium is in the balance and the first boats have to finish Sunday night or Monday morning, the Class 40 fleet – now reduced to 38 boats of 55 starters – has a strong leader in Yoann Richomme (Paprec-Arkea) who is further from 65 miles. French competitor Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) had to stop and repair cracks in the front of his new boat, but got back up to speed after dropping from third to eighth.

Italy’s Ambrogio Beccaria (Alegrand Pirelli) is second and chasing Richum, and he quickly takes a swing for the night. Beccaria reported today, “I’ve got the boat ready for the trade winds at last! Right now I’m on a bit of a tight corner, so we’re pretty fast and heels, but if it calms down a bit here I guess tomorrow I’ll get out the pressure cooker and make myself something to eat, maybe a plate of risotto.” Latifa!

I’m so glad the boat is so fast downwind. On the downside, I struggle a lot because I don’t have a wind tool to help me understand which sail to put on: depending on the wind and the angle, there are different sails to use, but not knowing the angle, I find it difficult to choose what to use. Today I try to rest a bit, because tomorrow the wind will be stronger and there will be some training to do: it will be very physical for the next 4 days! ”

Looking forward to the finish, Beccaria said, “The tracks give me 5 days to finish but at the moment we’re going a lot faster than the tracks so it might take less. We’re finally in Transat mode! Rivals Simon (Koster, Banque du Leman) and Corentin (Douguet) , Queguiner – Innoveo) are very close, we can see each other and it’s so much fun. It’s a pity neither of us have AIS, so I can’t check them out, and I don’t know how fast they’re going or what address they keep, so I don’t They can, but that’s okay: We have positions on Adrena and that’s enough.”

Switzerland’s Simon Koster (Banque de Lehmann) is fourth and Beccaria’s Italian countryman Alberto Bona (IBSA) is fifth, albeit 36 ​​miles behind Koster. American Alex Mahran is 13 in polka dot.

In the rum classes, Roland Jourdain is still leading in the multi, and Jean-Pierre Deck in the mono. And in the Ocean Fifty class, with less than 48 hours to go before the finish, favorite Quentin Vlamynck (Arkema) was closing in on his pursuers as time went on, including Erwan Le Roux (Koesio), 20 miles in his wake, and Sebastien Rogues ( Primonial), who was very fast today and who is trying to make a move by turning a little to the south. On the list is sustained focus, perpetual trim, and a little sleep for the remaining 750 miles!

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Basic information:

  • 5 boats finished in Pointe-à-Pitre: Maxi Edmond de Rothschild – 1 (6d 19h 47min 25s), SVR Lazartigue – 2nd (6d 23h 3min 15s) and Sodebo Ultim 3 – 3rd (7d 6h 37m 25s) and Idec Sport – 4th (8d 13h 41m 40s), Actual Final 3 – 5th (8d 15h 49m 1s) .
  • 107 boats are still racing
  • 26 retired
  • Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) was able to repair the cracks in his boat after noticing water entry yesterday
  • Panicked, Amélie Grassi (La Boulangère Bio) and Aurélien Ducroz (Crosscall) arrive in A Coruña (Spain)


The following expected arrival times are in UTC in Tête à l’Anglais buoy:

  • Mieux (Arthur Le Vaillant): Saturday November 19th at approximately 1000 hours
  • Arkema (Quentin Vlamynck): Sunday 20 November at approximately 0900 hours
  • Coiseo (Erwan Le Roux): Sunday, November 20, at approximately 11:00
  • Primonial (Sébastien Rogues): Sunday November 20 at approximately 1400 hours
  • Maxi Banque Populaire XI (Armel Le Cléac’h): Sunday 20 November at approximately 1400 hours
  • Apivia (Charlie Dalin) / LinkedOut (Thomas Ruyant): Monday, November 21 at approximately 0000


Live tracking

Live tracker to follow the progress of the fleet at this link: carto-prod.routedurhum.com/en/index.html

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