Serious damage for Josse whilst Thomson leads IMOCAs on Route du Rhum

Serious damage for Josse whilst Thomson leads IMOCAs on Route du Rhum

monday morning update

Drama in the ULTIME class as Josse suffers serious damage – Thomson leads the IMOCAs

The leader of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, Sébastien Josse on the ULTIME Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, has sustained serious damage to his starboard bow while racing in the Bay of Biscay, 135 nautical miles northwest of La Coruna.

His team and Race Direction are collaborating to ensure the 44-year-old skipper and the 32-metre ULTIME reach a safe haven as soon as possible.

Maxi Edmond De Rothschild had been leading by 32 miles with François Gabart on MACIF in second when Josse came to a violent halt. Going on deck he immediately realised there was substantial damage to the starboard float.

He alerted his shore team at just after 0530hrs CET (0430 CET).  Josse reported he had 30 knots of northerly wind and a swell of 4.5 metres. The Frenchman was making about 4 knots in a southerly direction this morning at 0800hrs CET (0700hrs TU)

Gabart meanwhile has resumed the race leadership, passing nine nautical miles to the west of Josse’s stricken trimaran at just over 25kts, and is now more than 30 miles ahead of Thomas Coville’s Sodebo Ultim in third place.

After having had to make an express 35-minute pit-stop yesterday evening, when he met up with his shore crew off Roscoff to repair an electrical charging problem, Armel Le Cléac’h on Banque Populaire IX is fifth, at 62 nautical miles behind the leader. He reported this morning that he now faces a more complicated weather pattern because of his delay.

“I am a bit behind the fleet but I will need to get across the depression to the northwest wind. It is not easy though, between checking the meteo and the wind here on the water, there is a lot going on. We are trying to find the best way to get to the northwest. There are a lot of people on the water out here, a lot of traffic. I am trying to be as quick and safe as possible but there will be more wind and sea the later we are to the depression. But right now I am very much in ‘hunter’ mode. We have to be patient.”

In the IMOCA class Alex Thomson’s opening move to the north of the first depression on Hugo Boss has paid an early dividend. The British skipper leads by 13 nautical miles from the pair of French skippers who are now 55 nautical miles to his southeast, Vincent Riou on PRB and Paul Meilhat on SMA.

Thomson’s gutsy choice, going alone to the north of this first depression, has him making more than 21kts this morning while Riou was making 10kts at 0800hrs CET (0700hrs TU).

Jérémie Beyou, one of the pre-race IMOCA favourites sailing the new Charal reported a complicated first night at sea. He was looking to find the best route through this first weather system whilst also taking account of the bigger, more violent low due to hit the fleet on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lying ninth this morning Beyou told Race HQ in Saint Malo: “There is not much wind at the moment. We made good progress to Ushant but it is a bit painful. There is a lot of traffic but for once the cargo ships have been co-operative. We are out of the traffic routes now and so it will get better. I do not know where the others are, I have not yet seen a ranking. But the wind will come in fast and strong. I’ll try to be ready to get everything tied down as the descent down Biscay will be tough.”

There is immediate disappointment for the Saint Malo-based IMOCA skipper Louis Burton who has been forced to make a U-turn and return home with damage to the starboard foil of his Bureau Vallée, formerly the Vendée Globe winning Banque Populaire.

The Class40 leader Yoann Richomme on his new Veedol-AIC is also taking the high road, the more northerly routing, as he breaks away from the main peloton. Richomme has three rivals within a mile of him. Britain’s Phil Sharp on IMERYS CLEAN ENERGY is seventh, 5.5 nautical miles behind.

Richomme said this morning: “Approaching the first depression which we are expecting, I just hoisted the spinnaker. It's still a bit of a risky exercise but everything went well and I feel like I'm not too badly positioned. We have a dark night, it's complicated. We can’t see anything at all. We are crossing courses with cargo ships so we have to be on standby all the time. The wind will be a bit erratic for a while but then it will stabilise.  There are already little frontal passages last night and now there will be work all day. I managed to eat a little bit but even that was stomach-turning. Strategies are not easy, it takes a lot of time.”

The 2014 Multi50 class winner Erwan Le Roux rejoined the race on FenetreA-Mix Buffet after incurring a four-hour penalty required by the class rules after he had to stop and repair a problem with his rudder. Le Roux had a deficit of 100 miles as he rejoined the race but has gained through the night to be 41 miles behind class leader Lalou Roucayrol on Arkema.

Guadeloupean skipper Willy Bissante was evacuated into Roscoff safely at 0500hrs this morning, after being rescued off his Rhum Class 50 footer C’La Guadeloupe which grounded on a small island off Perros Guirec.

Ranking at 06.45 (UTC+0)


1. François Gabart (MACIF) Distance to finish: 3,162nm

2. Sébastien Josse (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild) +20.9

3. Thomas Coville (Sodebo ULTIM’) +34


3. Thierry Bouchard (Ciela Village) Distance to finish: 3,295nm 

2. Lalou Roucayrol (Arkema) +3.8

3. Armel Tripon (Réauté Chocolat) +4.2


1. Alex Thompson (Hugo Boss) Distance to finish: 3,281nm

2. Vincent Riou (PRB) +13.4

3. Paul Meilhat (SMA) +13.7

Rhum Multi 

1. David Ducosson (Air Antilles – Caseneuve Maxi Catamaran) Distance to finish: 3,324nm

2. Pierre Antoine (Olmix) +0.1

3. Fabrice Payen (Team Vent Debout) +3.3

Rhum Mono 

1.Sidney Gavignet (Café Joyeux) Distance to finish: 3,336nm

2. Sébastien Destremeau (AlcatrazIT – FaceOcean) +9

3. Andrea Mura (Vento di Sardegna) +17


1 Yoann Richomme (Veedol-AIC) Distance to finish: 3,323nm

2 Arthur Le Vaillant (Leyton) +0.4

3 Luke Berry (Lamotte Module-Creation) +0.7


Image credit: Mark Lloyd Images 

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Quotes from the water

Samantha Davies (GBR) Initiatives Coeur, IMOCA
A little late but the night was very rough! A very fast pace, plus a swell = difficult to do everything! Especially impossible to write!
All is well on board Initiatives Coeur. I ate a hot meal last night (without repainting the boat) despite the jumping! I am paying attention to everything because the conditions are already hard and it will only get harder. I want to be fit for the next few days so I also managed to sleep a lot.
We are in the transition to the middle of a small depression. There is no wind but the sea is huge again - the sails are very strong and I keep the small sails so as to not damage the equipment. As it is a zone without wind, there is a compression of the fleet and I see many boats around.
Soon I will find the wind and again and go! 

Sidney Gavignet (FRA) Café Joyeux, Rhum Mono 
It is already 7:30am, and the boat shakes a little on some waves.
I was able to sleep on the sails. My alarm / timer allows me to relax and find sleep even for a few minutes.
The departure went well, it was nice. Congratulations and thank you to the organization and the public :)
A big thank you also to the team of Cafés Joyeux that allowed us to be present on the site, as visible and so professional. You are champions.
This message is short because the computer and the waves do not go well together -  my stomach does not like it :)

Kito De Pavant (FRA) Made in MIDI, Class40 
After this nice departure from Saint Malo, we were immediately in the race. It was not easy to find the right set of sails and to get into the race after all this time rested on the ground. 
It is cold and wet on the boat, the night is dark. Only the high beams of the boats are visible.
I could not sleep and the traffic is dense. I will try to rest today before the fight of Tuesday.
I have no idea of my position but I'm with AINA (Aymeric Chapellier) so it must not be so bad even if I think I lost a few places overnight night because of the damn seaweed on the rudder that strongly reduced the boat speed.
We have passed Ushant at around 2 am this morning and here we are in the Atlantic.

Louis Duc (FRA), Carac, Class40
En route to the north of the TSS, we seem to be in the right group, although I could have been a little more aggressive on the start, but in the end it's not too bad.
We have everything ready to attack ;) 
I would like to particularly thank Xavier, Gwen, Camille and Marc, who made the departure so special without stress allowing me to leave in a good mood!
Thank you to everyone who sent me messages!!
The next few days may not be easy.

Miranda Merron (UK), Campagne de France, Class40 
VERY dark, raining, wind 20-25 knots, reaching = very wet on deck. 
Just scraped around the corner of the forbidden Traffic Separation Scheme at Ushant, so now I have room to manoeuvre, which is nice to know!