Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Route du Rhum: Fear on the sea, the boats will face an ugly storm Tuesday

123 skippers are starting the 11th edition of the Route du Rhum this Sunday. – JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP

Twenty-four hours after taking the start of the Route du Rhum,
two of the favorites, Sébastien Josse and Thomas Coville, suffered major damage on Monday on their big boats (Ultim). And the worst is yet to come with a big storm on Tuesday.

At the final score, François Gabart (Macif) leads the race, with behind him, only 25 nautical miles (40 km), Armel Le Cléac'h (Maxi Banque Populaire IX), returned in the race after an express stop half an hour Sunday night for a minor technical repair.

Leaving Saint-Malo Sunday early in the afternoon in good conditions, the fleet of 123 boats has already suffered. A boat ran aground Sunday evening, that of Willy Bissainte (C 'Guadeloupe). Others have diverted to Brest to repair like Jean Galfione (Serenis Consulting) or to Roscoff, like Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée).

The port of Roscoff – and those of Brest, Lorient, Douarnenez, Camaret, La Rochelle – stand ready to welcome the competitors who will take shelter to try to escape a violent storm announced Tuesday in the Bay of Biscay, with already very muscular conditions on the night of Monday to Tuesday.

"Winds at 100km / h"

Josse and Coville were also lost Monday to Corunna, aboard their maxi-trimarans seriously damaged. Even if Coville is still in the race waiting to assess the damage, it's over for Josse.

The Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, the "flying" boat of the last generation he skippered, lost a huge 8m long portion of his starboard float early Monday, while leading the race. pilot an older Ultim who can not "fly", Coville (Sodebo Ultim) saw in the morning of Monday the fairing of the port forward arm to break. He was then in 2nd position behind Gabart.

Gabart holds the bar. On Monday, he posted a tweet. "First night … first hurts … Gitana goes away Take Care Seb", he wrote before continuing: "A lot of stuff also for me tonight but everything is fine and we'll be coming soon Spain ".

The next night, however, looks worse, with large troughs and breakers expected in the day of Tuesday. If the three Ultims still in the race – with Francis Joyon (Idec Sport) – could rather get by, it will not be the same for the smaller boats.

"Our boats are smaller and lower on the water so we slow down very quickly in the sea while being higher, it goes better and slows down less. A big boat pitched less, "explained before leaving Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema), who is sailing on a 15 m multihull and would have preferred that the start of the race be deferred, not excited to end up with 50 -55 knots of wind (92 to 102 km / h).


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