Yacht de magazine talks about a demolition derby and in fact we have to go back to the 2002 edition to see something similar, with the 60ft multihull fleet reduced to only three boats with many broken and capsized trimarans, including the one from Cammas. One thing is sailing in bad weather other racing in very powerful boats in bad weather, pushing them to almost breaking point. Deciding what the boat can take or not is a very difficult balance and obviously many were too optimistic about that.
From the percentages of boat breakages we can see that finally the big trimarans (70ft and over) have reached a good reliability. From the 8 that started the race only one abandoned and even that one by a collision with a cargo ship. Sure, they are very difficult boats to sail and with a solo sailor they can't be pushed at 100% and some have reported limit situations where accidents were very near to happen. They all demand great sailors and a very careful sailing to go fast and that is not easy when one has to sleep.
|Photo by Jean Marie Liot|
The same cannot be said from the 50ft trimaran class that suffered a big breakage: They were 11 and only 5 remain sailing. Fortunately not any capsize but the boats, as on other occasions are very fragile. I believe that has to do with size and and wave period and that on a rough sea a 50ft trimaran. at speed has not enough length to allow it an easy passage trough several waves. The right size to manage that seems to be at least 70ft, since the 60ft trimarans also break a lot. Besides the breakage there is a huge difference in speed between the bigger trimarans (even the 70fters) and the 50fters, specially with bad weather. In fact the fastest two Open 60 are ahead of the first 50class trimarans and the rest of the fleet remains mixed with the Open 60.
The Open 60 showed a good reliability under the circumstances and from the 9 boats that started only two abandoned, one with a problem on a ram of the canting keel and other with odd structural problems.
The 40class racers, as usually, have been very fast and the difference from the best on the fleet, to the Open 60 is way smaller than the distance between the 50fter trimarans and the 70ft and over 70ft trimarans. Amazing since the Class40 difference to the Open 60's is not only a difference in size but also a difference regarding canting keel (they have fixed keel) and built materials (the Open 60 are carbon boats, the class40 are not).
That explains the popularity of the series (as also the relative low cost of the boats). The reliability has been smaller than in other races even if only 9 retired out of 43 but, among those, there are two boats that lost the keel and that is unacceptable and should be investigated. Most retired with smaller problems that did not put in risk the boat but handicapped the sailing performance.
The Rhum class that is composed mostly with older racing boats (monohulls and multihulls alike) and some performance cruisers is a bit of a mix in what regards reliability. If the 3 abandons out of 20 seems to account for a good reliability that does not take into consideration the many boats scattered along the Spanish and Portuguese coasts making repairs: 6 of them.
Regarding the race, old Peyron is showing that age or the size of the boat does not matter that much and is making a truly fantastic race. After clearing the bad weather and at the middle of the race Peyron has now 150nm over Guinchard and the giant Spindrift II. Guinchard's boat is faster and the difference is diminishing (from 200 to 150). I hope that the mastery of Peyron and his very experienced routing can make up for that difference in speed because he deserves this win. What a satisfaction it would be to all of us that are not young anymore!!!!
Curiously Spindrift II was the boat where Peyron and his crew beat the world circumnavigation speed record that previously was in the hands of Cammas and his crew. Cammas's boat is the one that is now sailed on this race by Peyron, a smaller boat. Peyron seems to be too much occupied to send us a video but this one sent by Lionel, that is pursuing him on his maxi tri Prince de la Bretagne (3rd at 300nm), gives you an idea of his pace:
Route du Rhum. Prince de Bretagne - Jour 4 by Letelegramme
On the Imoca class (Open 60's) we lost Gabart's principal contender, Riou, that abandoned with structural problems on the boat (that was a shame). Surprisingly Beyou has been able to keep up with Gabart and is only at 15nm. Interesting:-) I am very curious about the great Beyou performance and I hope he can keep it up.
Route du Rhum. A bord de Macif au large du Cap... by Letelegramme
Route du Rhum. Jérémie Beyou : "Tout va bien... by Letelegramme
I am still laughing. Beyou has a sense of humour: From Maitre Coq:"Salut les poulets":-)
On the 50class the fight between the two best sailors, Le Roux and Le Blevec was interrupted because le Blevec had to divert to Cascais, on the Portuguese coast, to repair his wind instrument that had blown from the top of the mast. Le Roux leads, Lalou follows at only 19nm and Le Blevec, already out of Cascais, is recovering. He is now at 336nm but he has already recovered 60nm. An Incredible sailor Le Blevec. Let's see what he can do.
Route du Rhum. Actual - Jour 4 by Letelegramme
On the class 40 we had also an unfortunate abandon, the then leader Sebastien Rogues with a small but handicapping problem: A torn mainsail (he could only sail with it reefed).
A bit surprisingly Vauchel-Camus is making a great race and had already lead it. The actual leader is more used to the Open 60 then to the class 40, Kito de Pavant, that with some humor comments that the class 40 is all right but a bit wet (look at the movie). The first four, that include Pella and Bestaven) are separated by only 28nm.
Route du Rhum. Kito de Pavant : "On arrive au... by Letelegramme
La douche à bord de Solidaires en Peloton by routedurhum
Hot as usual, the 40class, that more than any other class (except mini racers) is the class where the talents of young NAs is revealed. Rogues boat is a Mach 40 as well as the one of Vauchel-Camus. Kito de Pavant and Bestaven have both Guy Verdier designed boats but slightly different, one is a Tyker 40 III the other Tizh 40. Pella has a Botin designed class 40. The next two on the classification have a FS40 designed by Owen and Clarke and a Akilaria RC3, a Marc Lombard design. On the first six there is not a single Pogo S3, the new Finot/Conq designed racer. Bad news for Pogo and for the S3, a boat from which much was expected. Guy Verdier, Sam Manuard and Botin designs dominated the last races and it seems nothing has changed regarding that.
On the Route du Rhum class the Italian Andrea Mura had dominated with great sailing and one of the last competitive Open 50 monohull sailboats: but he is pursued by Anne Caseneuve and I have many doubts he can hold on this lady and her junkyard but fast trimaran. She is a hell of a sailor. This is her 5th route du Rhum and she has crossed the Atlantic about 60 times!!! The boat is a cheap and very interesting one built with pieces of other old trimarans: The main hull is the one of Fujicolor, trimaran where Mike Birch was 4th at the 1990 Route du Rhum.The amas (lateral hulls) are from RMO trimaran, where Laurent Bourgnon made 3rd on the 1990 Route du Rhum and won the editions of 1994 and 1998. The mast was the one from VMI/Sodebo, the monohull with which Thomas Coville made 6th on the 2001 Vendée Globe and with Sébastien Josse, 5th on the 2005 edition. The sail is from the Hydroptere. That's a damn fast funny boat considering that many parts are 20 years old and more ;-) And the best part is that the boat looks good!!!
Another very interesting boat making a great race is a RM 1350, with a lighter interior, a plywood mass production cruiser that is now 5th on the class, racing against race boats. To give you an idea of its performance and the one of his skipper (Pierre Yves Chatelin), it suffices to say that he is on the middle of the 40class fleet and ahead of the Open 60 of Robin Knox- Johnston.
Sir Robin is another one that is making a great race,if we take his age into consideration. Just have the balls to enter it is great, but at 75 he did not only enter it as he passed stormy waters, slowly but surely and is now in rapid recuperation. He was 13th and is now 7th. He is sailing a well prepared old Open60, Grey Power ( at 75 it should be white power :-) That's truly unbelievable that the first winner of a solo non stop round the world race, back in 1969, is still racing and going fast. Cheers to him that make all of us fell young again, even if we are more than 60 years of age ;.)
You can follow the race here, on English too;