Please select your home edition
Edition
SOUTHERN-SPARS-AGLAIA-SPARS_728X90 TOP

Thomas Ruyant makes it a transatlantic double in the IMOCA class with victory in the Route du Rhum

by Ed Gorman / IMOCA Globe Series 21 Nov 07:15 PST 21 November 2022
IMOCA class victory for Thomas Ruyant in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe © Pierre Bouras / TR Racing

After a compelling duel with Charlie Dalin, Thomas Ruyant on board LinkedOut completed his second consecutive victory in the IMOCA Class on the Atlantic racecourse, with a stunning win in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.

Ruyant started the race among the favourites, but had to play second fiddle to the APIVIA skipper for the first nine days before finally overhauling his rival with just over 1,000 miles to go, as the two boats flew downwind towards Guadeloupe.

In the end Ruyant reached the finish line off Pointe-à-Pitre just over two hours ahead of Dalin, to follow his victory over Dalin and Paul Meilhat in the Transat Jacques Vabre last year, alongside co-skipper Morgan Lagravière.

Ruyant completed the Rhum course in a new IMOCA record time of 11 days, 17 hours and 36 minutes, that is 11 hours and two minutes quicker than the previous fastest time set by François Gabart in 2014.

This win marks not only an historic "double" for the 41-year-old skipper from Dunkirk, but also his second win in the Route du Rhum, after his victory in the race in the Class 40 division back in 2010.

The LinkedOut skipper reached the dock in the early hours drained and exhausted from the battle he had fought with Dalin, first upwind and then downwind when the tables were turned in Ruyant's favour, mainly by virtue of a faster foil package.

He said he never gave up hope of overtaking Dalin, even when APIVIA was a long way ahead of him over the horizon. "Even when Charlie was almost 100 miles ahead, I never thought it was dead," said Ruyant. "It's 10 days of racing, five or six of which were downwind. I said to myself that we had to pull out all the stops and find the right route and go fast - go fast on the right route."

And that is exactly what Ruyant did, demonstrating again his tenaciousness and toughness on a voyage when he hardly slept and that started with a tough upwind slog. By the finish he was quite emotional about the biggest win of his career.

"This victory is special because of the commitment we all put into it," he said on the dockside. "I can't find the words because I am really burnt out. I didn't sleep much in the last 36 hours and not much during the whole race either. It was a really tough race and in order to get to the front, I had to keep going. I simply had to be in the lead in this Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe," he enunciated with big smile.

"I'm emotional of course," he continued. "A Route du Rhum is a monument of ocean racing, of sport, and we had an IMOCA Class with 38 boats at the start and some great sailors. I am a competitor and I really wanted to win this one. I had a very strong desire to do well, also because this is my last race with this boat."

Ruyant made it clear that this was a success built on a team effort. "I put a lot of energy into it, but it's also a whole team behind it," he said. "We spend time together with this great team. They are loyal, they have been following my projects for a long time; it's a real team sport and here I have scored the goal. I'm looking forward to sharing this with them."

The LinkedOut skipper said the second half of the race was a like a dream for him as he put the hammer down on a boat that is super-quick sailing deep angles downwind. He managed the squalls and variable wind strengths in the trade winds without a mistake and pushed his intensity level higher when he needed to.

"I was able to go fast with the boat and when I passed Charlie I felt he was going to another level, a higher level, and so I did the same. It wasn't easy and I'm happy to have arrived because it's not a pace you can keep up in the Vendée Globe - it was really a sprint," he said.

Fortunately for him, Ruyant was not trapped by calms as he sailed the last miles around the coast of Guadeloupe. But he admitted that he was so tired during those final stages that he started to wobble on his legs.

As he mentioned, this was Ruyant's last outing in his 2019-vintage superbly optimised Guillaume Verdier boat. In January he will take delivery of his new racer - a Koch-Finot Conq design (see video in French) - that he will use in the next Vendée Globe. Like everyone else, Ruyant has been wondering whether the new one will be faster than the old one.

"This is a boat in which I have sailed many miles, with which I completed my first Vendée Globe, a first victory with Morgan Lagravière last year which gave me a lot, and now a victory in the Route du Rhum. It's magical - I don't know if I can give it to anyone else," he added laughing. "I hope the next boat will give me all the satisfaction because this one is really strong."

This win is another success to follow the disappointment for Ruyant in finishing only sixth in the last Vendée Globe, despite having been among the leading trio for most of the race. It also reflects the improvements the LinkedOut skipper has made, especially with his downwind technique, as a result of sailing with Lagravière last year.

But while he and his team will enjoy this win, it is clear that the focus is on the next Vendée Globe. Alexandre Fayeulle, the CEO of Advens, the team's main sponsor, said: "This victory is an exceptional, immense performance by Thomas because the field is exceptional. I am very happy because Thomas is a very talented sailor - he is a champion. It's a great double win for us after the Transat Jacques Vabre last year and he deserves it - it puts him at the top of the Class and that's great and it also bodes well for the next Vendée Globe.

"This is a project that will continue to grow with the same desire to perform well and to make an impact and there is always the objective of winning the Vendée Globe," Fayeulle added.

Related Articles

Nearly 200 expected for next Transat Jacques Vabre
Almost 100 duos across the three open classes have already entered The Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre will celebrate its 30th anniversary in Le Havre before the two-handed Tranatlantic race heads to Martinique, where the finish of the race known as the Route du Café will be hosted for the second time in a row. Posted on 3 Dec
Introducing the new The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup
A new trophy is announced for the VO65 one design class in The Ocean Race 2022-23 Along with five confirmed IMOCA teams racing around the world, up to five VO65 teams will be on the starting line in Alicante, Spain in January, with an option to compete for a new trophy within The Ocean Race called The Ocean Race VO65 Sprint Cup. Posted on 1 Dec
The Ocean Race announces new partnership
Red Sea Global becomes The Ocean Race's Regenerative Project Partner Following the recent announcement of an extensive new relationship with Warner Bros. Discovery, The Ocean Race has confirmed a new partnership agreement which will be the first to be amplified via its worldwide broadcast partner. Posted on 30 Nov
Oliver Heer finishes 32nd IMOCA in Route du Rhum
The final IMOCA skipper to cross the line of the solo transatlantic race Swiss skipper Oliver Heer (Oliver Heer Ocean Racing) crossed the finish line of the 12th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe at 01:37:55hrs TU this Wednesday morning. Posted on 30 Nov
Team Malizia's sailing crew is complete
And ready to compete in The Ocean Race Yann Eliès and Axelle Pillain join Boris Herrmann, Will Harris, Rosalin Kuiper, Nicolas Lunven and Antoine Auriol for The Ocean Race 2022-23. They will compete with the brand new IMOCA race yacht Malizia - Seaexplorer. Posted on 30 Nov
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
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
Boris Herrmann finishes the Route du Rhum 2022
An important test run before The Ocean Race German skipper Boris Herrmann crossed the finish line of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe 2022 Race at 05:36:41 CET on the 24th of November 2022. Taking him 14 days, 15 hours, 21 minutes and 41 seconds. Posted on 24 Nov
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
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
Doyle Sails 2020 - Redefining Boundaries 728x90 BOTTOMNorth Sails 2021 Innovation - FOOTERLloyd Stevenson - TTSkorpios 728x90px BOTTOM