Reminiscent of a Southerly
Since yesterday Yann Guichard has been sailing in a more established S’ly breeze, but one that is still very moderate in terms of strength. Positioned 600 miles from the finish, the trimaran fitted out by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild can now make a direct course towards the island of butterflies. During this time, Pointe-à-Pitre is preparing to welcome the winner of this ninth Route du Rhum and according to the latest estimates Franck Cammas should make his entrance into Guadeloupe’s famous harbour basin by late afternoon in Europe* this Tuesday 9th November.
This ninth edition has certainly been a rather atypical year given that the weather conditions encountered thus far by the competitors are leaving both the specialists and the sailors perplexed! “On a personal level, I’ve had to negotiate more squalls during the past 9 days at sea than during all my multihull sailing put together… And yet with the Transat Jacques Vabre, where we had to traverse the doldrums, I already felt that I’d had more than my share. When you compare the Route du Rhum 2006 and this one, Lionel Lemonchois had to perform a maximum of one tack change and four gybes throughout his entire crossing, whilst since the start this time I must have had to perform sixty of each. It really isn’t the same race. However, from what I’ve heard from my rivals, the conditions have been rather special and difficult for everyone” explained Yann Guichard.
Though nothing is over until the finish line is crossed, the skipper of the Gitana Team admitted this morning that he didn’t really think he stood a chance of making it onto the podium, which is currently taking shape without him: “I haven’t given up but I’m lucid about the situation. I’m remaining totally in race mode and I’m continuing to get Gitana 11 making headway as best I can in relation to the weather I’m dealt. However, the pace is a lot calmer all the same as I’m sailing under gennaker in a steadier wind. I’m making the most of this quieter passage, where I’m able to slip along nicely, to recharge my batteries and I’m inevitably beginning to power up again…”
Over the Caribbean arc, the wind still appears to be playing hard-to-get and is tirelessly continuing to be a spoilsport with the leading boats. This morning, Thomas Coville is paying the price and has seen Francis Joyon, currently in third, come back into the match for second place. Favouring the same E’ly option as Yann Guichard, the sailor from Locmariaquer seems to have pulled off his gamble and is really gunning for glory now. At the 0700 GMT position report, the two sailors were tied in terms of the number of miles separating them from the finish, but Idec was boasting a 4 knot advantage in terms of his average speed. The finish and the battle for second place promise to be enthralling! Sensing this comeback yesterday, the skipper of Gitana 11 found it hard to conceal his disappointment: “Together with Francis since leaving Saint Malo, we’ve taken the same options bar one or two slight differences. By opting for the East of the race zone for the finish, we’d hoped to have the winds Idec has been enjoying for more than 24 hours, as it’s these very conditions where Gitana 11 could have expressed her true potential and made up the difference with her adversaries. The scenario didn’t pan out as we’d planned… which is something you just have to accept!”
Ranking for the Ultimate Category on 9th November at 0700 GMT
1- Groupama 3 some 78.1 miles from the finish
2- Sodebo 186.6 miles astern
3- Idec 187.4 miles astern
4- Gitana 11 some 560.8 miles astern
5- La Boite à Pizza 1035.7 miles astern
6- Défi Cancale 1,518.9 miles astern
7- Saint-Malo 2015 some 1,465.8 miles astern
Retirement- Côte d'Or II
Retirement- Oman Air Majan