Please select your home edition
Henri-Lloyd 2020 LEADERBOARD

The Multi50 class: The little racing cars of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe

by Route du Rhum 16 Oct 2018 11:44 PDT 4 November 2018
Armel Tripon on Réauté Chocolat © Pierre Bouras

There may not be many of them but the quality is certainly not lacking in the Multi50 class that will start the 2018 Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe solo transatlantic race from Saint Malo on November 4th.

Sailing their 15-metre foiling trimarans, the six competitors in this class all have their own points to prove as they make their way across the Atlantic on the 3,542-nautical mile course to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

In this division proven older boats will take on newer designs that represent the latest thinking in the class. For each of the sailor-boat combinations, whatever happens, it will be a full-on and highly competitive Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe because the Multi50s are wet and fickle racing machines that can achieve average distances of over 500 miles in 24 hours.

The Multi50 class brings together trimarans of up to 15 metres in length and 15 metres width, that are subject to a class rule that leaves some freedom to attract different designers. In its desire to embrace the latest technological developments, the class has now separated from its "vintage" era and in 2017 authorised the addition of foils for the first time.

Five of the six multihulls in the running - all except that of Gilles Lamiré - are therefore equipped with foils this time. Three of them added one-design foiling kits to old hulls, while the two newest trimarans, Ciela Village and Solidaires en Peloton Arsep, were designed from scratch around the new "flying" game.

The foils have boosted the speed of the boats by about 20% on a reach, with regular accelerations to over 35 knots. Thibaut Vauchel-Camus even surpassed the 40-knot mark during a delivery this year.

If the weather is favourable, the Multi50s could cross the finish line at Pointe à Pitre in the wake of the Ultimes, after as little as eight-10 days of racing. That would be an improvement of at least one day compared to the current reference time for the class of 11 days, five hours and 13 minutes.

These numbers give a good indication of ??the fiery nature of the Multi50. "These are small boats on a human scale, but offshore they are a handful and compared to the Ultimes, we are hyper-exposed to the elements," explains Erwan Le Roux (Window Mix-Buffet), winner in 2014 and President of the class.

"We have the highest power-to-weight ratio of all the fleets of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe," adds his opponent Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema). "The boats are extremely wet and to go fast, you have to just do it without thinking about it too much." It is perhaps therefore not surprising that routing is allowed in this category.

So who will follow Erwan Le Roux and win this time round?

Perhaps himself. The title-holder has all the attributes of a man to beat. His enormous understanding of a boat he built when he was working with Franck-Yves Escoffier, his intimidating track record, his high-level physical preparation - he is also a triathlete - and his habit of leaving nothing to chance, make him the ideal candidate for a double.

However, Erwan does not see himself dominating and knows that Lalou Roucayrol, a former competitor in the Orma class before joining the Multi50s 11 years ago, will be a real threat. On the boat he built, Lalou won the Transat Jacques Vabre 2017 and finished on the podium in every race that season.

Behind these two great favorites, the other players include Thibaut Vauchel Camus, the "youngster" of the group at 40 years of age who won this year's Drheam Cup-Destination Cotentin, despite his limited experience in Multi50s. Another newcomer in the class is Armel Tripon (Chocolate Rite). Like Thibaut, he is one of those who has sailed the most this year.

Then there is Thierry Bouchard at the helm of a very light, latest-generation Multi50, even if a major project carried out after the Transat Jacques Vabre prevented this entrepreneur from sailing as much as he would have liked. Finally, do not underestimate Gilles Lamire (French Tech Rennes Saint-Malo). This regular competitor in the series is a tough guy who believes in his chances on the less "modern" trimaran of the fleet - but he knows his boat by heart.

The Multi50 class at a glance

Armel Tripon, Chocolate Rite, Verdier design 2009*
Erwan Le Roux, FenêtreA-Mix Buffet, VPLP 2009*
Gilles Lamiré, French Tech Rennes Saint-Malo, Irens/Cabaret 2009
Lalou Roucayrol, Arkema, Neyhousser 2013*
Thierry Bouchard, Ciela Village, VPLP 2017*
Thibaut Vauchel Camus, Solidaires in Peloton Arsep, VPLP 2018*

* Equipped with Foils

The winners of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe in Multi50s

2014: Erwan Le Roux/reference time 11 days, five hours and 13 minutes
2010: Lionel Lemonchois
2006: Franck-Yves Escoffier
2002: Franck-Yves Escoffier

Related Articles

A great Rhum
40th anniversary proved to be a memorable edition The 40th anniversary Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe proved to be a memorable edition, with big crowds turning out in Saint Malo to see the record fleet of 123 boats in six divisions start the 3,542-nautical mile race to Pointe-à-Pitre. Posted on 15 Dec 2018
IMOCA offers a positive appraisal of Route du Rhum
A very positive appraisal of the Route du Rhum The twenty sailors competing in the eleventh edition of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe put on a remarkable show, at the end of which Paul Meilhat (SMA) came out on top ahead of Yann Eliès (Ucar-StMichel) and Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss). Posted on 6 Dec 2018
Action in the RdR, Transatlantic Race and GGR 2018
Offshore adventures in the Route du Rhum, RORC Transatlantic Race and Golden Globe Race 2018 Three classic events are currently unfurling: the tail end of the Route du Rhum, the opening salvo of the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Transatlantic Race, and the ongoing saga (now on Day 149) known as the Golden Globe Race 2018. Posted on 27 Nov 2018
Peyron completes the fairytale aboard Happy
Finishing the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe On a perfect sunny Sunday afternoon off Pointe-à-Pitre, the French sailing hero Loïck Peyron completed his personal tribute to transatlantic racing pioneers Mike Birch and Eric Tabarly. Posted on 26 Nov 2018
Banque Populaire IX " completely dislocated"
Foiling Ultime class Banque Populaire IX destroyed after capsize and 10 day tow The foiling maxi trimaran, Banque Populaire XI, which capsized during the Route du Rhum transatlantic race on November 6, has been declared a write-off. Posted on 24 Nov 2018
Paul Meilhat looks back at the IMOCA contest
His first major solo victory in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe After a short rest, he analysed his race for us commenting on the performance of his rivals, before talking about his future prospects in the IMOCA class. Posted on 23 Nov 2018
Six winners, six classes
In the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe The six winners in the six different classes - ULTIME, Multi50, IMOCA 60, Class40, Rhum Multi and Rhum Mono - of the four-yearly solo Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe transatlantic sailing race have now been crowned Posted on 23 Nov 2018
Sharp third and Gavignet signs off with a win
British skipper Phil Sharp does all he can to hide his feelings The smiles and jokes with the media and VIPs who greeted the skipper of Imerys Clean Energy after arriving at the dock in Pointe-à-Pitre masked acute disappointment. Posted on 21 Nov 2018
Podium for Phil Sharp and Imerys Clean Energy
In the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe Phil Sharp at the helm of Imerys Clean Energy crosses the finish line in Guadeloupe in 3rd place, 1 hour and 45 minutes behind 2nd place. His time, 16 days, 13 hours, 1 minute, 50 seconds, averaging a speed of 11.30 kts over 4,487 miles sailed. Posted on 21 Nov 2018
Antoine & Richomme win Rhum Multis & Class 40
In the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe Two days into the third week of the 2018 Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, Pointe-à-Pitre was able to celebrate two great winners in the Rhum Multi class and in the hotly-fought Class40 division of the 3,542-nautical mile solo transatlantic race. Posted on 20 Nov 2018
Cyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTERUpffront 2020 Foredeck Club SW FOOTEROfficial-Team-Gear-Red 728x90 BOTTOM