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(November 20, 2022; Day 12) – A record-sized fleet of 38 from IMOCA at the start line in Saint-Malo on November 9 looks set to make the closest and most exciting finish to the class in the 44-year history of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.

With less than 200 nautical miles to go until the finish line at Pointe-à-Pitre – and 53 of them to be raced around the western side of the island through what will be a nerve-wracking minefield of local calm and sudden changes in wind strength and direction – there are only 15 minutes between Leaders Thomas Royant (LinkedOut) and Charlie Dalen (Apivia).

In addition, Jérémie Beyou (Charal 2) in third is primed to pounce if and when the main duo slows down.

The winner is expected to reach the finish line tomorrow between 0500 and 1000 UTC, but no amount of weather routing modeling can predict which individual skipper will win. The previous closest finish was in 2006 when Roland Jourdain beat Jean Le Cam by 28 minutes.

In this case, in an effort to stay out of the way calm and in the best breeze during the darkness of a scorching Caribbean night, most skippers would rather be the angler than the hunters. The three leading boats will be very evenly matched in the lighter climes.

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Ruyant has the biggest head if there is any downwind work ever and has won Guadeloupe three times in various races and classes. Dalin is dexterous, intelligent, a multiple-time podium finisher at La Solitaire du Figaro and undefeated at IMOCA this year, but he’s on his first-ever Rommé road.

And if he can get close enough, three-time La Solitaire champion Beyou could be in for a big surprise.

Ruyant and Dalin are within sight of each other, certainly on AIS, and will watch each other like a hawk. Both of them will try to be as comfortable as possible to be conscious throughout last night. Dalin, however, was more subdued than his usual taciturn self and would probably reveal damage or a missing sail.

“It’s all well and I’ll be back within sight of Thomas which is about five miles south,” claimed Dalen. “There are a lot of storms and the wind changes all the time with gusts up to 38 knots, so we had to work really hard during the night. It’s not easy to get any sleep in these conditions. Nice to meet Thomas.”

This exciting duel is closely watched by other sailors at the front of the fleet. “I think it’s great — their fight is really amazing,” said Isabelle Joschke (MACSF). “I’m glad it worked out like this until the end. It’s good to see the lead group grouped together with Justine (Mettraux) among them. It’s great to see.”

Swiss Captain Mettraux (Teamwork.net) is currently in seventh place, some 450 miles from the finish line this evening, as the supreme female and international helmsman of the IMOCA fleet.

The winner may break the IMOCA race record held by François Jabart since 2014, with a time of 12 days, 4 hours, 38 minutes and 55 seconds.

In the top five, Paul Meilhat (Biotherm) also had some technical issues. “Part of the seal around the sail-holding hole has split and I’ve spent hours emptying hundreds of liters of water from the bow section. I feel like I’ve been in a foot spa these past couple of days. As the hull is so unstable because of this I’ve gone off course a few times. But it’s in The current time is under control.”

Millhat is currently chasing Kevin Escoffier for fourth in Holcim-PRB.

Antoine Cornic (Human Immobilier) revealed that he was hit by a foreign object a few days ago that created a serious crack in his head. Still in the race, but should be more vigilant.

more: Erwan Le Roux Koesio sailed across the finish line first in the OCEAN FIFTY fleet this morning at 10:50:52 UTC (06:50:52 local time) to narrowly beat second-placed Quentin Vlaminck (Arkema). Head to the last miles around west of Guadeloupe. The duo was only 100 yards or so apart early this morning. Older and more experienced, 47-year-old Le Roux, who won the class in 2014, stayed offshore on the southern bend around the island, caught more of the breeze and finished just 18min 13sec behind 18-year-old Valamenque. A 29-year-old who has been driving since. Early days of racing, but Le Roux was caught last night on the final approach to Guadeloupe.

• Pioneers who have retired: Sam Goodchild (Leyton – Ocean Fifty) after being injured during the pre-start, Kojiro Shiraishi (DMG Mori Global One – IMOCA) after crashing off Cape Fréhel, Oren Nataf (Rayon Vert – Rhum Multi) with a torn mainsail, Antoine Magry (E.Leclerc Ville-La-Grand – Class40) after hitting rocks off Batz Island, Damien Seguin (Groupe Apicil – IMOCA), Victor Juste (Caisses Reunionnaises Complementaires – Class 40), Martin Louchart (Randstad-Ausy – Class40) , Geoffrey Matacyznski (Fortissimo – Class 40), Laurent Camprubi (Glaces Romane – Class40), Thibaut Vauchel-camus (Solidaires En Peloton – ARSEP – Ocean Fifty), Louis Burton (Bureau Vallee – IMOCA), Fabrice Amedeo (Nexans – Art & Windows – IMOCA) after a fire on board Imoca, Amelie Grassi (La Boulangere Bio – Class40), François Jambou, (A l’Aveugle – Trim Control – Class40) after disassembly, Aurelien Ducroz (Crosscall – Class40), Jean-Pierre Balmes (FullSave – Class40) due p roblems with ballast tanks and sail hook , Brieuc Maisonneuve (CMA Ide-de-france 60000 Rebonds – Rhum Multi), Ivica Kostelic (ACI – Class40) due to technical problems, including loss of wind gear, Sacha Donard (Pato Cit’hotel – Region Guadeloupe – Class40), Erwan Thiboumery (Interaction – Rhum Multi)

Details – Skippers – Tracking

In the 44-year history of the Route du Rhum, never have there been so many solo skippers planning to start November 6 (postponed to November 9) as in 2022. In this 12th edition, 138 single riders will compete in the classic race that It leaves Saint-Malo, France and heads across the Atlantic Ocean to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe.

Six divisions will compete, starting with the eight entries in the Ultims and eight in the Ocean Fifty division. There will be thirty-seven IMOCAs, 55 Class40s plus 16 in the Rhum Multi (64ft and under) class and 14 in the Rhum Mono (39+ft) fleet.

Of the competitors, 5% (7) are women across IMOCA, Class40 and Rhum Mono. Fourteen nationalities will be represented, including Japanese and Chinese skippers. In total, 20% of the participants are from outside France. Half of the French skippers are either residents or citizens of Brittany where the race begins, while there are also 6% of Guadeloupe among the competitors.

Source: OC Sport Pen Duick

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