ROUTE du RHUM – In the dark of night this Tuesday November 11 at 03 :47 :09 UTC/04 :47 :09 CET (23 :47 :09 Monday local) Sébastien Josse crossed the finish line of the 10th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe to take an excellent third place on Group Edmond de Rothschild, one the three smallest trimarans in the Ultime fleet.
Josse’s elapsed time is 8d 14h 47mn 9sec to complete the theoretical course of 3542 miles at an average speed of 17.13kts. He has actually sailed 4403 miles speed at an average speed of 21.29kts. On his first solo multihull race Josse finished 23h-38m-37s behind the winner Loick Peyron to complete an exceptional race, knowing that his Multi70 was one of the “small boats” of the Ultime fleet.
Often lead by double race winner Lionel Lemonchois on the bigger Prince de Bretagne Josse fought hard to the finish after believing at one point that his chances of a podium finish might be spent.
Before the start in Saint Malo, Josse had been firm on his ideas of what would constitute success. “If I win in my group, I will have won my Route du Rhum!
So it was a delighted Josse who completes the podium this Tuesday morning, the skipper who originates from Nice finishing in front of two larger multihulls, including Prince de Bretagne which proved to be his main rival on much of the course.
Josse is one of the outstanding allrounders of his generation, now adding a solo success in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe to his list of achievements which includes skippering in the fully crewed Volvo Ocean Race, the solo La Solitaire du Figaro and leading the crew on Edmond de Rotshchild to many success including winning the multi stage Route des Princes. A two times Vendée Globe contender he is something of a latercomer to big multihull sailing, being given the skipper’s role for Gitana in 2011 as a relative rookie. He raced the 2002 Route du Rhum in the IMOCA class but had to abandon.
This legendary Transatlantic race has been the main focus for the Gitana Team, the group working tirelessly to innovate and make the Multi70 faster and safer, including being the first team to add foils to the rudders – reportedly gaining up to two knots in speed at times whils also reducing the pitch of the boat.
Josse’s success comes as a result of his pushing the boat close to 100 per cent over the eight and a half days of the race.
From the start in Saint Malo Josse has always been in the match. Exiting from the Channel after a tough upwind over the first night he was in second place behind Banque Populaire VII. More often than not he lay fourth, ready to pounce if the opportunity arose, setting a very high work rate to stay with the bigger rivals.
“I am going to spend 12-15 hours a day at the helm, I don’t see how you can do anything else or you are in cruising mode.”
And such efforts are rewarded in the Trade Winds, at 750 miles from the finish when his more southerly option in a more consistent breeze allows him to pass Lemonchois who had become slowed in an area of very light and unstable airs. And once third he was never passed again, securing
His efforts will be rewarded in the trade winds to 750 miles from the finish. Along a southern route to aim its entry into the Caribbean arc, it doubles Lemonchois, entangled further north in a squall line without wind. Sunday, November 9, he took 3rd place and never leave until Gosier.
Josse said: “The first two days it was a case of finding the right pace, holding back but with a good rhythm. You had to have it just right. Then after that there was really only happiness. When you are in the trade winds with these machines is incredible, outstanding. On paper we dont play in the same league as the bigger boats. Logically boats of 31m and 30m should be ahead but I think they were not pushed too hard. They moderated their speeds with us, the little dragonflies behind buzzing at their heels.”
“I am a bit surprised at my physical condition because at first I did not let myself sleep. I just thought it was too dangerous. But fatigue caught up with me and and after three days I put msyelf to sleep. And when the boat is set up, with th right balance, it just goes great. The tiredness I feel right now is because of the manouvres down the side of the island because there were a lot.”
” The feelng was great when I was at sea. You’re on your mobylette, your charging fireball. They are like birds flying downwind in the trades. Nothing can really describe the feeling. It is ridiculous, any wave you feel but then you trust the boat. I have never felt unsafe.”
” It has been three years since I started with this boat. And I train 150 days a year. I can do that. So a lot becomes automatic, sometimes it feels more comfortable than others, but I have practised so much it is automatic a lot of the time. Against the first two Ultimes there was no real race for me butwe had a nice group where we fought.”