The first two finishers have arrived in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, in the 12th edition of the prestigious Route du Rhum singlehanded transatlantic race. The most anticipated battle in this race — that of the maxi trimarans — has been decided. Charles Caudrelier and Maxi Edmond de Rothschild scored a wire-to-wire victory and a margin of 3 hours, 15 minutes over second-place François Gabart on SVR Lazartigue. Caudrelier’s winning time was 6 days, 19 hours, 47 minutes, 15 seconds for the 3,543-mile course, setting a new record.
Prolonging their winning streak, Caudrelier and the Gitana sailing team have continued to cement their place at the top of the sailing world. Making this victory even more impressive, it’s the first major singlehanded race for Caudrelier. The Frenchman was previously most famous for winning the Volvo Ocean Race as a skipper and a crew before taking command of Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in doublehanded and now singlehanded configuration. Thomas Coville and Sodebo Ultim 3 are due to be next into Guadeloupe.
Carnage Along the Course
Behind the top handful of maxi-trimarans that can eat up the Atlantic in less than a week, the bulk of the fleet is still on course with many miles left to be sailed. Conditions have moderated significantly for those who are now in the trade winds, but many sailors never managed to escape the challenging conditions present in the first few days of the race. While crossing the second cold front and leading the Ocean 50 division, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus capsized his trimaran Solidaires en Peloton – ARSEP.
Among other notable carnage in the fleet, Damien Seguin’s IMOCA 60 Groupe Apicil was struck by a cargo ship and dismasted. Louis Burton’s IMOCA 60 Bureau Vallée 3 also dismasted while in ninth place. The most dramatic failure thus far was that of Fabrice Amedeo, whose boat suffered an explosion onboard and then sank. All of the affected skippers are reported to be safe.
In the IMOCA division, Charlie Dalin on Apivia has continued to control the race since the beginning, though he has failed to truly pull away after a dominant start. Behind Dalin, a pack of six IMOCAs remain in contention for a podium position.
The Multi 50 trimarans have provided some of the closest racing thus far. Quentin Vlamynck’s Arkema is leading, though the bulk of the fleet is not far behind.
Class 40 Division
The huge fleet of Class 40s have unsurprisingly seen the most parity. The podium is separated by less than 10 miles. Bay Area native Alex Mehran is still sailing an amazing race on his Class 40 Polka Dot. He currently lies in 14th place.
Multi-time Vendée Globe veteran Jean-Pierre Dick leads the Rhum Mono division, with the legendary Catherine Chabaud in second place. Gilles Beukenhout leads the Rhum Multi division over Roland Jourdain.
Only two boats in the massive Route du Rhum fleet have finished. Most still have more than half the course to sail. Stay tuned to Latitude 38 as the rest of the fleet closes in on the finish in Guadeloupe.