Offshore racing

The Rhum, a spectacular finale

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48 hours after the start, 3 of the Ultimes were already out of the race. Three depressions later, and nearly half the fleet had chosen to seek shelter in the nearest ports.

"It's up to the skipper to decide what to do", they say... There were many, including those who were gambling on placing at the finish, who favored the safety of their boat (and their own) rather than tempt fate between the three big depressions that fell on the fleet in less than 6 days...

Up front, François Gabart and Francis Joyon were reveling in it, keeping shoulder to shoulder in raging seas, before the highway of the trade winds opened up ahead of them, and Gabart’s Ultim, taking off on its foils. 100 miles, then 120, 140 and then 200 miles ahead, and with just over 1000 miles to go to the finish line, Gabart's victory seemed certain. But that was without counting the talent and the will of Joyon (and the loss of the starboard foil and the port rudder on Macif), who narrowed the gap to less than 20 miles in the final few hours of racing. The finish was going to be a spectacular battle. And everything would be played out on the last few miles of the course, circumnavigating Guadeloupe with very elusive wind. Rounding the mark at Basse-Terre, Macif was still 17 minutes ahead, with 30 miles to go to the finish. These final miles have now entered Route du Rhum legend. Coming from behind, Joyon took the upper hand, before Gabart came back with just 3 miles to go to the line. One last tack and... Idec Sport was finally ahead. Francis Joyon wins, 7 minutes ahead of Gabart and establishes a new record time of 7 days 14 hours 21 minutes at an average speed of 19.42 knots.

A special mention must go to the trimaran winning the Route du Rhum for the third time: first with Cammas under the name of Groupama 3, then with Peyron under the colors of Banque Populaire and now finally with Joyon this year.

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