Mega chal­lenge for Rhum


Yachting World - - Front Page -

A record-break­ing fleet of 123 en­tries are ready to start this year’s Route du Rhum, the 3,542-mile transat­lantic from St Malo to Guade­loupe, in­clud­ing the largest ever fleet of gi­ant foil­ing mul­ti­hulls.

It is the first time the lat­est gen­er­a­tion ‘Ul­times’ have lined up against one an­other. There are six big Ul­time mul­ti­hulls en­tered, and all eyes will be on François Gabart’s

Armel Le Cléac’h’s and Sébastien Josse’s Maxi

which have all been ei­ther newly launched or turbo-charged.

The Ul­times are ca­pa­ble of cov­er­ing over 800 miles in 24 hours, and will be squarely gun­ning for the cur­rent 7d 15h course record set four years ago by Loïck Pey­ron on

With the race re­sult likely to be de­cided in a hand­ful of days, this year’s Route du Rhum presents a real psy­cho­log­i­cal chal­lenge for th­ese skip­pers. To race the maxi tri­marans, Gabart said you need “the soul of a dare­devil”.

“[You have to] go for it 100%, with­out re­straint. You have to be aware of the risks but not be hes­i­tant,” he com­ments.

Séb Josse, whose was launched just over a year ago, also com­mented on the men­tal chal­lenge. “You have to feel com­fort­able on the boat. Know not to stress when fly­ing along at 40 knots. Psy­chol­ogy is very im­por­tant in mul­ti­hulls. Be­cause it’s still a dan­ger­ous thing.”

The highly ex­pe­ri­enced Fran­cis Joyon, whose is un­likely to be among the fron­trun­ners, had a word of cau­tion.

“You have to work with the rhythm of the boat. It will tell you when you can sleep and in gen­eral the boat will also tell you when you can­not,” he ex­plained. “On my last Route du

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