20/11 - 10:11 race update
The French sailor Pierre Antoine on the 50ft trimaran Olmix today won the Rhum Multi class in the 2018 Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe solo transatlantic race from Saint Malo in Brittany to Pointe-à-Pitre in the French Caribbean.
Antoine, aged 56 from Amiens, completed the 3,542-nautical mile course at 10:15.05hrs UTC this morning, in 15 days, 21 hours and 05 minutes to win the 21-strong class of mainly amateur sailors.
This was Antoine’s fourth participation in the four-yearly classic.
Race update 20/11 - 07:11 - The last miles for Antoine
At 0600hrs UTC this morning the Rhum Multi Class leader Pierre Antoine can smell the scent of a well-earned victory in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.
On his vintage Multi50 trimaran, Olmix, Antoine, who is an accomplished transatlantic racer, has dominated this diverse fleet of multihulls.
He has passed the final mark of the course, Basse Terre, and is now in the home straight with just 20 nautical miles to sail.
Some 20 miles behind Antoine, the Class40 leader Yoann Richomme (Veedol-AIC) has been slowed in the wind shadow of the island and was making just two knots.
He is expected to complete his first Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe victory this morning, perhaps having to wait until after sunrise for a more consistent breeze to take him across the finish line.
The duel for second and third has intensified. British skipper Phil Sharp (Imerys Clean Energy) is exhausted and struggling constantly with his autopilot which is malfunctioning, causing several costly chinese gybes.
The downtime and accumulated fatigue of having to handsteer for as long as he possibly can accounts for a loss of around 10 miles over the last 24 hours to his longtime rival in third place, Aymeric Chapellier (Aina Enfance et Avenir).
Sharp's margin this morning is less than nine miles. He will be doing all he can to steel himself for the final 55-mile passage around the islands where second and third places will be decided. He is still some 75 miles from the Tête à l'Anglais, the northern tip of Basse Terre island.
More than 150 miles behind the Anglo-French podium duel, Kito de Pavant (Made in Midi) is back up to fourth place but there is just 20 miles separating him from sixth-placed Luke Berry, the English born Saint Malo-based skipper of Lamotte Module Creation.
In the middle of these two is Arthur Le Vaillant (Leyton) who describes this three-cornered scrap as the battle for the “chocolate” medal.
Le Vaillant, who sailed with Chapellier to pip Sharp and Spanish co-skipper Pablo Santurde to second in last year's Transat Jacques Vabre transatlantic race, has been feeling disappointed not be closer to the podium fight.
He noted this morning: "So the night did not start well, it was grey and dark. Then a few stars came out. I feel good now that there is just one day to go, the three of us fighting for the chocolate medal. And here is me, with not one gramme on board, and those of you who know me know I am very fond of chocolate."
The third of today's expected class winners, Sidney Gavignet, has 144 miles to sail on his Café Joyeux and is due in tonight to clinch a thumping win in the Rhum Mono division.