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Vendée Globe – Thomas Ruyant wins the SNSM Record in St. Nazaire
Thomas Ruyant (Le Souffle du Nord) - 2016 Vendée Globe © Pierre Bouras / Le Souffle du Nord

Vendée Globe record in St. Nazaire

Thomas Ruyant (Le Souffle du Nord) has just won the SNSM Record in St. Nazaire. Now a classic race, this event raises funds for the French lifeboat service and this year, three competitors from the next Vendée Globe were up against each other: Thomas Ruyant, Arnaud Boissières and the Swiss sailor, Alan Roura.

There were in fact four candidates for the next Vendée Globe taking part in the SNSM Record, if we add Bertrand de Broc to this list of three… but he was competing on a 52-foot catamaran and not on the IMOCA monohull, aboard which he will be lining up in November in Les Sables d’Olonne for the start of the Vendée Globe. Incidentally, Bertrand did in fact make it to the podium, finishing third in the Multi 2000 category.

So there were three IMOCAs taking part, but only one made it to the finish, as Alan Roura (Un Vendée pour la Suisse) and Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline) were forced to retire and head for Lorient after suffering damage. Only Thomas Ruyant completed the 290-mile course (Monday 20th June) from St. Nazaire to Les Bœufs (West of Noirmoutier), around the islands of Sein and Belle Ile-en-Mer and back to St. Nazaire this lunchtime. An excellent way to train, which was for a good cause too, as the aim of the race is to highlight the work done by the French lifeboat volunteers.

Le Souffle du Nord (which is none other than the VPLP-Verdier designed boat that was previously skippered by Kito de Pavant, the sistership to Safran, now renamed Quéguiner Leucémie Espoir), was the only IMOCA to complete the race to win this year’s SNSM record. The event was created eleven years ago by another ocean racer, Damien Grimont and backed by a certain Michel Desjoyeaux, twice winner of the Vendée Globe.

The crew on Le Souffle du Nord included Thomas Ruyant, Lucas Montagne, Tanguy Legatin, Rémi Aubrun and Simon Vasseur. They were fast around the course. Setting off on Sunday at 1430hrs UTC, they crossed the finishing line at 1116hrs UTC today (Monday). Thomas Ruyant could not hide his pleasure.

“This is my second win in the SNSM Record. We were very quick in the last part of the race between the ‘occidentale de Sein’ mark and St. Nazaire, averaging around 20 knots. I had with me a crew of experts in various areas, which meant I was able to continue to make progress.

Vendée Globe – Thomas Ruyant wins the SNSM Record in St. Nazaire

Alan Roura – 2016 Vendée Globe © Christophe Breschi

I am discovering new things on board each day, particularly about how to sail fast. Last night, we widened the gap over Arnaud Boissières, who has a boat from the same generation as ours. Everything worked fantastically well, although it saddens me to see my two rivals being forced to retire with technical problems. In particular, I am very pleased with the protective cockpit cover we made this winter, which allows me to trim while keeping dry.”

Arnaud Boissières (La Mie Câline) was forced to retire at around 0600hrs this morning (Monday) after suffering from electrical problems. But which ever way we look at it, it would appear that nothing was going to stop Thomas Ruyant from winning, as Le Souffle du Nord was at that point fifteen miles ahead. A little earlier at sunrise, Alan Roura was forced to throw in the towel 160 miles from the finish. Alan and the crew of Un Vendée pour la Suisse suffered the breakage of a D2, the cable linking the first and second layer of spreaders. This is a vital part in the rigging system and ensures the mast stays up. That is why Alan Roura did not want to take any risks preferring to return to Lorient.

The Swiss skipper explained, “We’ll see what caused that, when we get back to port. It’s almost certainly down to wear, but we couldn’t carry on like that. We made sure the mast was safe by shifting to the other tack to make our way to Lorient. Of course, I’m disappointed not to be able to finish, but this was the aim of this trip. We pushed the boat hard to see how she coped. Even if the conditions weren’t that extraordinary – around twenty knots of wind – we nevertheless identified a lot of things, which are going to be useful to work on this summer in the yard.” This will be the final period of work on her before the start of the Vendée Globe.

by Mer and Media Agency

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