Take shelter, waiting for better winds. It is literally and figuratively the decision made by the skippers and their sponsors of the giant multihulls, after the disappointment on the Route du Rhum-2018. " After an exhilarating departure aboard, we were all very fast to take the lead of Brittany … and everything changed "Says Thomas Coville, whose boat was damaged in a way that forced him to repair before resuming the race, which he finished away from the winners.
The drama narrowly avoided
Four of the six boats entered arrived safely in Guadeloupe, but only two in acceptable condition: the winner, Francis Joyon, on his old "IDEC" (read below) who was on his third Route du Rhum, and Romain Pilliard on a very old boat only trying to participate. The four other giant multihulls, very recent or new, have experienced serious damage that could have had dramatic consequences. After the break-up of one arm, Armel Le Cléach's "Banque Populaire IX" capsized, before breaking up at sea.
A Route du Rhum more and more "foil"
" All these accidents forced us to think. We knew we had ultra-powerful machines, we thought we needed to learn how to better control them Adds Thomas Coville, who conceals nothing of the perplexity that won the Ultimate 32/23 class after the disaster. The members of this group of multihulls 32 m long and 23 wide at maximum (hence the name) have gambergé for weeks, before deciding to continue the adventure with … caution.
The first decision was to cancel the Lorient-Bermuda-Lorient race, scheduled for this spring, as well as the famous Brest 2019, first race around the world in multihull solo history, announced for November. " This race remains our target, it's clear, but we'll take a little more time to get there "Says Yves Le Blévec, a member of the collective that bought the former" Sodebo "Thomas Coville. Which is now sailing on a new and revolutionary boat, with a cockpit placed at the front of the mast and launched recently.
Two world tours and twelve sunbeds in the program
Until then, the members of the Ultimate class will not be content to polish the bridge. Twelve races, representing the equivalent of two world tours and twelve sunbeds, are waiting for them in the next four years.
The warm-up tour will take place on 18 and 30 May with two Breton races, the Belle Ile tour and the Armen Race, before the August Fastnet in the Irish Sea. But the serious things will begin on November 3, with the Brest Atlantic race, on a very innovative course: Brest-Rio-Cape Brest. All in a new format: two sailors on board, plus a media man responsible for retransmitting life on board and maneuvers. " But without touching the strings "Says Emmanuel Bachellerie, director of the Ultimate Class 32/23. The following year will be devoted to The Transat, the English transatlantic race created in 1960 and won in 1964 by Éric Tabarly.
From 2021, a new wind will rise on the Ultimate class, with two new boats, a new "Macif" for François Gabar and a replacement "People's Bank", rebuilt for Armel Le Cléach after 150,000 hours of construction. " We do everything to be ready at the end of winter 2021 to participate in The Arch "Says Thierry Bouvard, patron of the Banque Populaire's patronage program, a company which, he says, has never thought of folding the sails or changing skippers.
A new Route du Rhum in 2022
The Arch, a beautiful innovator for this Ultimate class often criticized and sometimes looking for a different meaning than flying faster and faster on the crest of the waves. Like The Bridge in 2017, a lounger that married the arrival of US troops in 1917, The Arch is a tour of Europe linking Hamburg, Nantes, Marseille and Athens. It will be celebrated in 2021 the seventieth anniversary of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), which foreshadowed the construction of Europe.
Then the Ultimate will fly for the final bouquet: a new Route du Rhum in 2022, a transatlantic from the Mediterranean in the spring of 2023. Before the search for the Grail of the sea adventurers: Brest Oceans-2023, the race around the world alone.
A collective without Francis Joyon
The Ultimate 32/23 collective is an association of skippers and shipowners grouped around a gauge and a mandatory racing program. Francis Joyon, the skipper who won the Route du Rhum 2018 aboard "IDEC" does not want to comply with this last requirement. He is not part of the collective, which does not prevent him from confronting his peers during open races not organized by the Ultimate 32/23 class, such as the English and French loungers (The Transat and the Route du Rhum ).
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