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Route du Rhum

Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe

Stop Press

Armel Le Cléac’h and the Maxi Banque Populaire IX are about to make a quick stop at the tip of Brittany to make a minor repair on the energy system board. The skipper, the router and the technical team are hoping to return to the race quickly.

Stop Press

Armel Le Cléac’h and the Maxi Banque Populaire IX are about to make a quick stop at the tip of Brittany to make a minor repair on the energy system board. The skipper, the router and the technical team are hoping to return to the race quickly.

Four years ago in this race Peyron set a new outright record of seven days and 15 hours on the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire and the routing predictions for this race suggest that that benchmark could be lowered by as much as two days by the leading ULTIMES.

But before they can enjoy a fast ride to the Caribbean in the trade winds, all the sailors will have to face some very rough weather that is coming their way on Tuesday.

The predictions are for big seas, 35-knot winds gusting to 55 knots and a weather picture showing very unstable conditions for most of the rest of the week.

Four years ago in this race Peyron set a new outright record of seven days and 15 hours on the maxi trimaran Banque Populaire and the routing predictions for this race suggest that that benchmark could be lowered by as much as two days by the leading ULTIMES.

But before they can enjoy a fast ride to the Caribbean in the trade winds, all the sailors will have to face some very rough weather that is coming their way on Tuesday.

The predictions are for big seas, 35-knot winds gusting to 55 knots and a weather picture showing very unstable conditions for most of the rest of the week.

Spectacular scenes off Saint Malo as the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe gets underway in perfect conditions - photo © Alexis Courcoux

Spectacular scenes off Saint Malo as the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe gets underway in perfect conditions – photo © Alexis Courcoux

In the Class40 fleet, British sailor Sam Goodchild at the helm of the Netflix-sponsored Narcos Mexico said he will not be joining those who decide to ride the worst of the weather out in port.

“It looks like a complicated first week,” he said. “And there are a few people talking about stopping, including some of the top guys, which adds to the general pressure. But personally I am preparing to race to Guadeloupe. The option is there. I don’t want to start thinking about stopping and then continuing because then you are not ready for anything. The problem is that you really need to go quickly in the first 24 hours as the rich get richer, so you have to keep the pedal to the metal.”

Thomas Coville on the multi-coloured Sodebo Ultim said the way to head west this time is to head north first. “I feel pretty good,” he said as he prepared for the start. “The weather is much the same as yesterday. It will be cool and calm for the start, very fast and as soon we get clear of Brittany it will be tough. There is only one way to go and that is north, for once not south. It is going to be tough.”

You can follow the race and access the tracker online at routedurhum.com

Interview with Jérémie Beyou before the start

Route-du-Rhum-Destination-Guadeloupe1

Route-du-Rhum-Destination-Guadeloupe1

With under 24 hours to go before the start of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, on Sunday, November 4, Jérémie Beyou looks calm and confident, despite the meteorological complications hanging over the fleet in the coming days.

Beyou knows how to peak for these races and is looking forward to the 40th anniversary of this blue ribbon quadrennial fixture of the solo offshore sailing calendar.

Beyou’s newest IMOCA60 on the pontoons, Charal, nicknamed “The Rocket”, is monopolising all eyes among the thousands of spectators roaming the quays of the Bassin Vauban in Saint-Malo.

“The boat is ready,” Jérémie Beyou said from on board. “I’ve enjoyed the last week, talking to spectators and the teams from Charal, who support me. The best thing has been that everyone could see the Charal stand was always packed. Now that the start is approaching, we’re analysing Sunday’s weather and the first few days of the race.”

An uncertain forecast If some of the weather forecasts are accurate, the IMOCA60 could face very difficult conditions overnight from Monday to Tuesday, with up to 40 knots of westerly wind gusting up to 50 knots. There could be big waves, with heights (trough to crest) of 9-10 metres.

“We’re setting the boat up in anticipation of some pretty muscular conditions,” said Beyou, who points out however that the American and European weather files do not quite agree and so there is still a degree of uncertainty. “There will be real choices to be made between performance and safety,” he said. “We will need to show good seamanship because these are conditions that we’ve not encountered so far with our new boat and they may last several days. We went from summer to winter without the autumn transition. We’ll have to show a lot of humility.

With a new boat, we have more unknowns. But Charal is still an IMOCA and the conditions will be the same for all my opponents. The important thing for us is to finish the race.” Physically and mentally ready Like any high-level athlete who is passionate about his sport, Beyou knows how to be ready mentally and physically for this solo race. “Physically, I’m in good shape,” he said. “But I’m still doing some quite intense strength and conditioning. I’m lucky to have a new boat and, psychologically, I’ve never felt as relaxed as I do now. I’m very happy with the work of the team, who’ve left nothing to chance. It’s an environment that gives you a lot of confidence and energy. We have a great project.”

by OC Sport

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