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Route du Rhum: 48 hours of carnage reviewed

by Brian Hancock 6 Nov 19:33 PST 1 August 2018
Armel Le Cléac'h aboard Banque Populaire before her capsize in the Route du Rhum © Route du Rhum

Brian Hancock sums up the first 48 hours of the Route du Rhum, which has seen the bow fall off one Ultime class trimaran, another capsize, and several others forced out of the race.

The latest update is that Armel le cléac'h was able to be rescued around 2100hrs (French time) by a fishing vessel arriving on zone at the beginning of the evening It is currently on its edge and is moving to Spain.

It has been 48 hours since the 11th edition of the Route Du Rhum started from France and there has been much carnage. In addition to two of the Ultime trimarans sustaining hull damage that forced them out of the race, there has been damage on many of the other boats.

Overnight the much anticipated storm in the Bay of Biscay hit the fleet and two boats were dismasted. British skipper Sam Goodchild was dismasted while lying in third place on his Class 40 Narcos Mexico. “Sam was in third place and going well in 30 knots of south-southwesterly wind,” Goodchild’s team manager Marcus Hutchinson commented. “He has no idea as yet why the rig failed. He has cut the mast and rigging free but has saved the boom and will try to set a jury rig.”

Shortly after Godchild dropped his mast there was a report that the Franco-German racer Isabelle Joschke aboard her IMOCA 60 Monin had also been dismasted. Both skippers are safe and are heading for port.

Then around noon local time the Ultime trimaran Banque Populaire IX capsized. The boat appears to have capsized following the breakdown of her port float. The French skipper Armel Le Cléac’h triggered his distress beacon and made contact with his technical team who, along with the race organizers, are mounting a rescue and salvage effort. At the time of the capsize Banque Populaire IX was roughly 340 miles northeast of the Azores Islands and dealing with winds of around 30-35 knots with higher gusts. Le Cléac’h is safe inside the boat waiting to be rescued.

Route du Rhum Race Director Jacques Caraes summarized things with a statement. “It has been a difficult night with 40-45 knots of wind with cross seas of five to six metres. The problems we have heard of from skippers have mostly been with their autopilots. But it has also been very difficult to make maneuvers in the seas and wind and changing sails has been very hard work for all the sailors.”

The strong winds of 40-45 knots are associated with the passage of a cold front. So far it is the light, powerful Multi50s that have borne the brunt of the bad weather. Class leader Lalou Roucayrol has chosen to be prudent and was heading for shelter in Portugal. During the night Roucayol reported winds of 55 knots gusting to 60 with seas around five metres.

For the rest of this story click here

???? 'Riding out the storm'

Watch the full update from day 2 of the race with the Atlantic storm that had been forecast at the start making itself felt across the whole fleet with: ?? One boat capsized ?? Two boats dismasted ?? Many sailors electing to seek shelter in ???? and ???? ports.

Posted by Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe on Tuesday, November 6, 2018

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