After just 7 days of racing, Guadeloupe is readying itself to greet Franck Cammas’ successor for the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe crown. And barring material failure, Loïck Peyron is set to take the win aboard the maxi Banque Populaire VII, which is none other than the multihull with which the skipper of Groupama secured victory some four years ago to the day. To beat the event record – 7 days 17 hours 19 minutes and 6 seconds – held since 2006 by Gitana Team, the sailor will have to cross the finish line set off the harbour basin of Pointe-à-Pitre before Monday 10 November at 0719 hours.
Behind the leader, the battle for the third step of the podium is intense. A little over 700 miles from the goal, the strategies are logically diverging out on the race zone. Yesterday afternoon, the skipper of Edmond de Rothschild chose to go on the attack by gybing a few miles earlier than his rival, so as to open up the game in this final section of the race. At the 1000 GMT position report, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild had moved up into 3rd place and boasted a five-mile lead over Prince de Bretagne. “Things have been slipping along very well since yesterday. I didn’t speak to Sébastien on the telephone last night, which is a pretty good sign! That means everything’s panning out as planned. His course over the past few hours has been entirely straight and I think that he and Sidney Gavignet have had a pretty steady breeze and a squall-free night and hence a more stable situation than their rivals to the west. Looking at Lionel Lemonchois’ trajectory, you can see that he’s managed to keep on a very favourable heading throughout the night, but he’s had to put in a lot of manœuvres, which is sure to be linked to a squally situation. That equates to added fatigue and hence greater risk taking. However, for now Lionel remains better lined up for the final sprint. Indeed, you have to base your analysis on the lateral separation to know the actual distance separating the two boats and not on the number of miles left to cover,” explained Antoine Koch.
The final 60 miles
The circumnavigation of Guadeloupe is the final hurdle on this 3,540-mile course between Saint Malo and Pointe-à-Pitre. Indeed, before crossing the finish line set just a stone’s throw from the Place de la Victoire, the solo sailors will have to leave the islet of Tête à l’Anglais and north of the island of Guadeloupe to port. These last sixty miles are now the focus of everyone’s attentions. The latest estimates by the routers for Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild give an ETA for the passage to the north of Guadeloupe as overnight on Monday (GMT), which equates to early Monday evening local time.
Position report on 9 November at 1000 hours (GMT)
- Banque Populaire VII (Loïck Peyron) – 324.4 miles from the goal
- Spindrift 2 (Yann Guichard) – 230.2 miles behind the leader
- Edmond de Rothschild (Sébastien Josse) – 391.4 miles back
- Prince de Bretagne (Lionel Lemonchois) – 396.6miles back
- Musandam Oman Sail (Sidney Gavignet) – 472.2 miles back
- Idec Sport (Francis Joyon) – 638.7 miles back
- Paprec recyclage (Yann Elies) – 821.5 miles back
Abd – Sodebo Ultim’