Race leader disaster

The carnage continues in the Route du Rhum

Wednesday November 20th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Sailing under gennaker with one reef in the mainsail, the Swiss skipper leading the fleet in the Route du Rhum capsized last light at 22.21 GMT, 734 miles from the finish line in Guadeloupe.

Ravussin was in the interior of the boat when a fierce squall lifted the boat. The leeward bow crashed into a bigger wave than the others. Ravussin tried to ease the sheets and let go of the sails, but in vain the boat flipped over.

“I had less than 15 knots of wind, under gennaker and one reef when I went to have a rest. I was woken when I felt the boat accelerate in a squall. I pulled out the gennaker sheet which I had lead down below, but it was too late. The floats had already ploughed in. With the inertia of the mast, everything was going very quickly. The boat capsized stern over bow. As this moment I was on the point of getting out of the cockpit and I suddenly found myself with my head under water but protected by the hood.

"In the interior of the boat, everything is in a jumble. I immediately set my batteries on to charge for my Iridium telephone (…) It’s really sad and I am thinking about all those who have supported and helped me in this adventure. When everything is reduced to nothingness you have to ask yourself if you would do the same thing tomorrow”.

TechnoMarine-Match TV (originally Alain Gautier's Brocéliande and later Foncia), lost its starboard foil a few days earlier, which enabled the leeward float (the float on pressure) to lift higher, and not dive in the waves.

Stève Ravussin is safe and sound onboard his boat. His shore crew is currently organising a rescue operation for him and his boat.

Géant is now leading the three remaining 60-foot trimarans, 1401 miles to go to the finish. Michel Desjoyeaux was not happy to hear the sad news this morning, “The stress is just as high as the first week. We know perfectly well that with these boats and 500 square metre sail cloth, anything is possible.“

Lalou Roucayrol on Banque Populaire has suffered long frustrating days stuck in the anticyclone, but has finally almost reached the trade winds. He was exactly 1000 miles behind Géant at 0700 GMT.

Ellen MacArthur is once again widening the gap between Kingfisher and Ecover. At 0700 GMT she was 63 miles in front, 905 miles from the finish, and the closest boat to the finish line!

During the night Mike Golding’s second and last spinnaker (first one ripped) got twisted up and Golding will have to climb the top of the mast during the day to try and recuperate it. Mike Golding will be seriously handicapped if he cannot recuperate his spinnaker.

Joé Seeten on Arcelor-Dunquerque is still third of the IMOCA monohulls, Roland Jourdain on Sill is 109 miles behind.

Australian Nick Moloney on Ashfield Healthcare is still leading the 50-foot monohull fleet with Luc Coquelin on Florys 77 miles behind.


Positions 20/11/02 07:00:00 GMT
Pos Boat name Skipper Lat Long Dist SOG COG
60ft tris
1 Géant Michel Desjoyeaux 26 00.00' N 39 33.00' W 1401.3 18.2 288
2 Banque Populaire Lalou Roucayrol 30 12.32' N 40 00.80' W 1500.9 2.6 236
3 Biscuits La Trinitaine - Ethypharm Marc Guillemot 25 29.72' N 35 02.20' W 1629.3 18.1 201
ABD Fujifilm Loick Peyron          
ABD Banque Covefi Bertrand deBroc          
ABD Sergio Tacchini Karine Fauconnier          
ABD Sopra Group Philippe Monnet          
ABD Bayer CropSciences Frederic Le Peutrec          
ABD Belgacom Jean-Luc Nélias          
ABD Foncia Alain Gautier          
ABD Groupama Franck Cammas          
ABD Rexona Men Yvan Bourgnon          
ABD Sodebo Thomas Coville          
ABD TIM Giovanni Soldini          
ABD TechnoMarine Steve Ravussin          
ABD Gitana X Lionel Lemonchois          
ABD Eure&Loir-Lorénove Francis Joyon          
ABD Bonduelle Jean Le Cam          
Open 60s
1 Kingfisher Ellen McArthur 24 07.80' N 48 54.32' W 905.4 13.6 239
2 Ecover Mike Golding 24 12.20' N 47 36.04' W 968.3 10.1 248
3 Arcelor-Dunkerque Joé Seten 25 03.56' N 39 22.28' W 1397.5 13.2 240
4 Sill Roland Jourdain 24 38.56' N 37 06.00' W 1507.3 12.1 267
5 L'Heautontimoroumenos Antoine Koch 24 58.08' N 31 26.08' W 1707.2 12.6 272
6 60ème Sud Didier Munduteguy 27 37.44' N 33 10.16' W 1762.6 4.8 197
7 Garnier Belgium Patrick De Radiguès 21 46.96' N 30 59.52' W 1792.4 12.4 270
8 Millimages-Gédéon Patrick Favre 29 40.00' N 29 31.00' W 1979.9 6.2 231
9 Un Univers de Services Miranda Merron 24 34.68' N 27 44.76' W 1992.5 7.5 223
10 Tir Groupé-Montres Yéma Mike Birch 27 13.08' N 27 40.88' W 2037.8 7.2 262
11 Dinan Pays d'Entreprises Frédéric Lescot 29 25.96' N 26 26.00' W 2134 8.1 236
12 Ciments St Laurent-Ocean Georges Leblanc 29 43.48' N 24 47.28' W 2221.5 7.6 232
13 Leasecom Elie Canivenc 42 35.84' N 8 46.28' W 3168.3 0 0
ABD Virbac Jean Pierre Dick          
ABD VMI Sébastien Josse          
ABD La Rage de Vivre Loïck Pochet          
ABD Temenos Dominique Wavre          
Class 1 monos
1 Ville de Dinard Bruno Reibel 35 53.96' N 25 17.68' W 2314.4 7 214
ABD Un Autre Regard Ensemble pour l'UNHCR Nicolas  Peitrequin          
Class 2 monos
1 Ashfield Healthcare Nick Moloney 27 44.48' N 32 07.40' W 1817.8 8.2 235
2 Florys Luc Coquelin 28 48.08' N 30 58.76' W 1894.9 8.8 228
3 Branec III Roger Langevin 30 22.56' N 30 58.96' W 1926.1 8.6 215
4 Mille Visages Hervé Vachée 29 44.44' N 30 04.20' W 1957.7 6.9 175
5 Laiterie St Malo Clément Surtel 30 08.12' N 28 02.84' W 2061.4 8 227
6 Adecco Etoile Horizon Bob Escoffier 30 57.44' N 19 36.76' W 2499.2 7.8 233
ABD Apic A3S Christophe Huchet          
ABD République Dominicaine Yannick Bestaven          
ABD Défi Vendéen J. F. Durand          
Class 3 monos
1 Storagetek Regis Guillemot 30 49.86' N 31 13.44' W 1916.8 7.9 226
2 Passion Entreprendre Jérôme Thiriez 32 25.40' N 26 15.84' W 2195.1 7.6 226
3 Grain de Soleil Etienne Svilarich 37 10.40' N 25 47.96' W 2322.6 7.2 196
4 Fantasy-Forest Alain Grinda 46 33.72' N 4 29.28' W 3403.5 4.4 149
ABD Hellomoto Conrad Humphreys          
Class 2 multis
1 Crepes Whaou! F. Y. Escofier 25 10.04' N 41 24.92' W 1306.4 10.2 246
2 Yachting-casino.com Anne Cazeneuve 27 09.54' N 36 18.30' W 1595.7 9.1 211
3 Archipel Guadeloupe Claude Thelier 27 27.96' N 30 30.36' W 1895.3 6.5 267
4 Vaincre la mucoviscidose Hervé Cleris 26 55.26' N 29 42.48' W 1906.2 11 253
5 Lehning-Lapeyre-Blanchet-Gourbeyre P.Y. Guennec 31 00.64' N 25 12.76' W 2226.6 6.6 232
ABD E-Sat Tri Sélectif Pascal Quintin          
ABD Groupe France Epargne Patrick Morvan          
ABD Chaleur Fioul Elan Didier Levillain          

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