Please select your home edition
Edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Antoine & Richomme - convincing Rhum Multis & Class 40 Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe winners

by Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe 20 Nov 2018 12:38 PST 20 November 2018
French sailor Pierre Antoine wins the Rhum Multi class on Olmix in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe © Alexis Courcou

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.

In the amateur Rhum Multi class the outright leader since the start off Saint Malo in Brittany on November 4 and the convincing winner 16 days later was the veteran French sailor Pierre Antoine on his trusty wooden trimaran, Olmix.

In Class40s the victor, who was again the dominant competitor but this time in a field of 53 boats, is Antoine's fellow French skipper Yoann Richomme on board Veedol-AIC. Richomme got in today well ahead of Aymeric Chapellier on Aina Enfance et Avenir and Britain's Phil Sharp on Imerys Clean Energy still locked in their private battle for second place.

Hailing from landlocked Amiens, Antoine is a remarkable sailor who at the age of 56 was taking on his fourth Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. He won his class in 2006 but had to abandon the race four years ago when his yacht was hit by a violent lightening bolt, requiring an extensive programme of repairs and re-building.

This time Olmix which was built back in 1991 and is a boat that Antoine knows inside out, had no such dramas as her skipper sailed a textbook race through early storms and then into the trade winds. He stopped only briefly to pick up the Multi50 skipper Lalou Roucayrol from his upturned trimaran, Arkema, about 1,000 miles east of Guadeloupe.

Antoine's time was 15 days, 21 hours and 15 minutes which sets a new record for the Rhum Multi class. "It is always special to be at the start of this race, fantastic - it is a step out of the comfort zone to do things that we don't usually do, and so to win it is great, and a conclusive win is so much the better," said Antoine as the celebrations began ashore.

"I was lucky with the tough conditions at the start because that really favoured my good, solid Olmix, which has already started the Route du Rhum five times, so it feels so good to finish with such a win.

"It was never going to be easy because in this division there were several boats with the same potential and skippers with the experience required. But the bad weather really sorted things out. When I saw a little opening in the weather I really pushed to get clear and that was what allowed me to build this margin, getting into easier weather quickly. I owe my weather router, Dominic Vittet, a big thanks. We worked well together and that let us get away.

"There was no respite, no let-up," he added. "I just pushed and went fast. It was like a non-stop rodeo. There was no route for us to the north and west and so we had to work the best of the southerly routing. And of course I did not have to stop (for repairs). Then the trade winds were strong, more than 20kts. When it is blowing more than 25 knots it is like being on a flying carpet.

"I had dreamed of winning this time," he continued. "My first win was a bit hollow because it was a war of attrition and most of my rivals had to abandon or capsized. This time there were 21 starters in our class and several of them were potential winners."

Antoine, who is director of research at France's National Scientific Research Centre, also spoke about what it was like to have Roucayrol on board for a few days before the Arkema skipper was picked up by a tug which was on its way back to recover his boat.

"We are so conditioned to being alone, solo, in this race, that to pick up a passenger after 15 days or so feels weird," he said. "Suddenly you are together, like two astronauts in space. It was not easy, though. Lalou already had experience of the situation (he capsized in 2013) and that really helped, even if getting him off the boat was pretty difficult...I am glad I was there for him because out there anything can happen and we were very far from land."

When Richomme arrived after 16 days, three hours and 22 minutes at sea on board his Class40 yacht, Veedol-AIC, at 16:22.45UTC he had taken more than half a day off the previous best time for these exciting monohulls. The Frenchman who trained as a naval architect in Southampton and is based in Lorient was overjoyed to have won so convincingly in a competitive fleet.

This had been a textbook race for Richomme and indeed a textbook campaign as he built a new boat, put it through its paces – including dealing with a dismasting early on – and then produced it on the racecourse to devastating effect. Veedol-AIC was faster than the others and its skipper sailed an almost perfect race.

Richomme led the Class40 fleet from day two onwards, having initially sailed a conservative line close to the most direct route - the rhumb line. But he then made a move to the west which allowed him to sail a faster angle earlier than his rivals. He demonstrated great confidence in his boat but showed too a Figaro sailor's feel for high tempo without going into the red.

As the race progressed the speed and power of his new boat became apparent; in downwind conditions it was between one and two knots quicker than those of Sharp and Chapellier.

"It is incredible," said Richomme as he looked back on the last 16 days at sea after docking in Pointe-à-Pitre. "First to win the Solitaire (2016) and then this, winning the Route du Rhum, it is great.

"I kind of ask myself how we got here because the project has been difficult. There was so much work to do in such a short time but when I left Saint Malo I was confident in our work. And here, in the end, the scenario is just what I had thought of in my head. It is incredible."

He was asked whether this had been the prefect ocean race. The 35-year-old who hopes to move onto the Vendee Globe in 2020 did not disagree even if he lost part of his bowsprit as Veedol-AIC thundered down a wave. "It was practically perfect," he said. "I did the weather strategy perfectly; it played out like we planned. I accelerated from the front as we left Brittany and then after that I just sailed safe but hard. I was always safe but the boat was always safe. I lost two metres off the bowsprit but otherwise the boat has been 100% reliable. I went down a big wave and that was it."

And he spoke about the team behind his win. "It has been such a team effort, such as big effort by everyone to get me here," he said, his voice cracking with emotion. "There are so many people who worked on the project."

And finally Richomme paid tribute to the two sailors locked in a neck-and-neck battle for second place. "I have been amazed for the last 10 days at the match that is going on behind me, two boats so close for so long. Whoever wins second place will certainly have earned it," added Richomme.

Find out more at www.routedurhum.com/en

Related Articles

Catherine Chabaud has double reason to celebrate
After Rhum Mono Class Second Place Catherine Chabaud completed a successful, popular return to ocean racing when she finished the 12th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe in second place in the Rhum Mono class. Posted on 29 Nov 2022
Rhum Multi and Rhum Mono Classes decided
Loic Escoffier wins Rhum Multi, Roland Jourdain denied hat trick by engine seal penalty Friday night into Saturday's early hours The Memorial ACTe, Pointe-à-Pitre's proud, giant structure which is dedicated to the history, heritage and memories of the Caribbean slave trade, saw the busiest spell yet of finishers completing the 12th edition. Posted on 26 Nov 2022
Loïc Escoffier wins the Rhum Multi class
Penalty for Roland Jourdain as he had a broken lead seal on his boat Loïc Escoffier (Lodigroup) who crossed the finish line second has been declared winner of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe in the Rhum Multi division. Posted on 25 Nov 2022
Roland Jourdain finishes first in Rhum Multi class
Rhum Mono winner expected Saturday French skipper Roland Jourdain (We Explore) finished first in the Rhum Multihull class in the 12th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe when he crossed the finish line at 19:06:00hrs UTC (Friday 25th November). Posted on 25 Nov 2022
Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe day 16
Sunshine stories prevail with the odd dark cloud On the 16th day of the 12th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe there are still seven IMOCA solo skippers to finish, whilst by midday today, Thursday 24 November, there were seven Class40s finished with 30 still on the race course and 18 abandoned. Posted on 24 Nov 2022
Rhum Multi Class leader Gilles Buekenhout capsizes
The Belgian skipper is on board and reported that he is not injured At 1920hrs this Wednesday, November 23, the race management of the 12th edition of La Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe received a message from CROSS Antilles to tell them that Gilles Buekenhout (JESS) had triggered his distress beacon. Posted on 24 Nov 2022
Beccaria finishes second Class 40 in Route du Rhum
A hard-earned place for the Italian in the highly competitive 55 boat fleet Italian skipper Ambrogio Beccaria brought his 100% Italian made Alla Grande-Pirelli across the finish line of the 12th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe at 2038hrs UTC to take a hard earned second place in the highly competitive 55 boat Class40. Posted on 23 Nov 2022
Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe update
Yoann Richomme does the double, winning Class40 for the second time French skipper Yoann Richomme joined the very elite group of solo ocean racers to have twice won their class on the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe today, with a win in the Class40 from a record entry of 55 boats. Posted on 23 Nov 2022
Flurry of finishes for international skippers
In Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe IMOCA class The notorious final miles around Guadeloupe, negotiating a minefield of calms and light winds whilst significantly underpowered because of a hole in her mainsail, proved a cruel sting in the tail for Briton Pip Hare (Medallia). Posted on 23 Nov 2022
Swiss skipper Justine Mettraux top female
Finishing seventh IMOCA in the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe Swiss skipper Justine Mettraux (Teamwork.net) took seventh place in the IMOCA class when she crossed the finish line of the 12th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe at 02:41:35 UTC this morning, 22 November. Posted on 22 Nov 2022
Mackay Boats 728x90 BOTTOMSelden 2020 - FOOTERZhik 2024 March - FOOTER