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Joyon: aiming for the Rhum!

Published on 24 july 2014 at 9h00

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As is the case every four years, a certain feverishness has overtaken skippers from all over the world: how to win what is now certainly the most popular transatlantic race? In the ‘Ultimate’ class, that of the multihulls with no limit on size, there are those who will be trying to beat the existing records (Lemonchois, Coville, Guichard) and the man who holds the records (Joyon), and who is therefore creating new ones...

As a warm-up in this Route du Rhum year, Francis Joyon therefore decided not to attack one of his own records, but to create a new route, between France and Brazil. The ‘Route de l’Amitié’ is a real prelude to the Soccer World Cup, which takes place this summer in Brazil. The skipper therefore set off from Bordeaux for Rio de Janeiro last April, for 5,000 miles singlehanded and to establish a new reference time.
It took him a little over 13 days (13d – 3h – 5min – 19s) to cover the theoretical 4,812 miles of the route, at an average speed of 15.2 knots over the great circle route, but 18.1 knots in reality, as the skipper had to cover 5,722 miles to reach the finish. When you know that at the start, Francis Joyon estimated that he could do the crossing in 15 days, you can imagine his determination.

2014 Route du Rhum
Facing Francis Joyon in the ‘Ultimate’ category, we should find Yann Guichard aboard his monstrous Spindrift 2. This trimaran is none other than the former Banque Pop V, the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, and above all, the biggest racing trimaran in the world. We don’t have to point out that it was never designed to be sailed by a singlehander... Another serious ‘client’ for the victory, the boat which won the last Route du Rhum in the hands of Franck Cammas, and which was bought by Banque Populaire for its skipper, Armel Le Cléac'h. Again, a boat basically designed for a crew of 10 maniacs to take the round the world record... Thomas Coville has just launched his new Sodebo. 4 years ago, the skipper finished third, behind Cammas and Joyon. He has his heart set on doing better this year... Lemonchois is working flat out to repair his beautiful 80-foot trimaran and be ready for the start. Knowing the skipper, there is no doubt that his boat will be involved in the battle for victory. Lionel Lemonchois has already won in the Multi50 class, and was the fastest skipper ever over the course, when he won in 2006. He’s back for his hat trick...

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