Alex Pella takes out Class40 division in Route du Rhum

While Spain's Alex Pella is riding a wave of sheer happiness after finishing first across the finish line for Class40 in La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, confirming he is setting his sights now firmly on the Vendée Globe, the Class40 podium is set to be completed this afternoon in Pointe-a-Pitre.

Thibaut Vauchel Camus took second across the line at 17:33:41hrs UTC, for an elapsed time of 17d 4h 33m 41s, and so finishing 10h 46m 33s after Class 40 winner Alex Pella. While Kito de Pavant has marked an excellent return to solo ocean racing with third, finishing just 5 miles behind second place, sailing the Verdier designed Tyker40 Evolution3 Otio-Bastide Medical.   

Both skippers will share similar levels of satisfaction. For sure De Pavant would have liked to be higher up the podium but a solid result gets his longstanding career back on track. 

De Pavant is back in the Rhum after taking part in the 2010 race aboard his 60-foot IMOCA, when he was forced to retire after suffering damage to his keel, but this time the skipper from Port Camargue in the south of France has fulfilled all the promise this time aboard a 12.18m boat. Better than that, he achieved a place worthy of all his experience after going through six years in the IMOCA 60s with so many disappointments during his round the world attempts, abandoning two Vendee Globes and the 2010-11 Barcelona World Race. 

It is a bit of an understatement to say that his return to the solo transatlantic race was particularly important for the skipper from the Mediterranean, who so wanted to do well with this Made in Midi project that he has fought so hard for. Thanks to his wealth of perience, the ocean racer who was,winner of the 2002 Solitaire du Figaro, lived up to his reputation as favourite at the helm of a boat that performs well, but which nevertheless was slightly lacking in speed in comparison to the boats skippered by his closest rivals up at the front.

Meantime Briton Miranda Merron who is on course for ninth place, due to arrive in Pointe a Pitre early tomorrow morning, had a sharp reminder of what can go wrong in the final stages of the 3542 miles solo race from Saint Malo to Pointe a Pitre.  While sailing at high speed on Campagne de France she wiped out when her rudders struck a large fish: 

“I am allowing myself to start thinking about the finish.  I have plotted all the fishing perches, the buoys and the finish line. I have no idea what time I'll finish as there is always that parkign lot around the island. I never allow myself to think or look at the finish until I am close enough. I have 20-23kts of wind with quite big seas.” reported Merron. 

“I was sailing under the Code 5 magic sail and wiped out. I could not get the boat to come down at all. I could not steer at all and had to back down to get the fish off. Not good at all.” 

“I am so happy for Alex Pella. I told him in Saint Malo that he was my pre-race favourite and he went bright, bright red!” 

Anne Caseneuve the Rhum Class leader was approaching the finish this afternoon, set to win by a comortable distance on her trimaran Aneo, her best success on her fifth Route du Rhum.  

– Race Media

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