Desjoyeaux the victor

Le Professeur adds Route du Rhum title to Vendee Globe win

Saturday November 23rd 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
This evening at 20:38GMT Michel Desjoyeaux's Geant was the first of the three remaining 60ft trimarans to complete the Route du Rhum. Geant charged at full speed across the finish line, with hundreds of spectator boats attempting to keep up and supporters cheering on the French hero and Vendee Globe winner in the late Guadeloupe afternoon.

Desjoyeaux left Saint Malo on Sunday 10 November at 1245 GMT and cut the finish line today, Saturday 23 November at 20:38:00 GMT (1638 local time in Guadeloupe) giving a passage time of 13 days, 7 hours, 53 minutes and 0 seconds. This was outside the multihull record time of 12 days, 8 hours 41 minutes and 6 seconds set by Laurent Bourgnon four years ago, but faster than Ellen MacArthur's time aboard Kingfisher.

Between St Malo and Pointe a Pitre, Desjoyeaux sailed 4555 nautical mile - just over 1,000 miles more than the great circle course, at an average speed of 14.24 knots.

"It is really excellent to finish at 30 knots (!) in the bay of Pointe à Pitre," commented the victor on his arrival. "Solo, it’s full on, but I wanted to give this moment to all the people who came out here to greet me. These boats are really fantastic!

"The Route du Rhum in a trimaran, is harder than the Vendée Globe. And this isn’t down to the fact that 15 boats have been wiped out. The competitors in the smaller categories will also be proud to finish, to have succeeded in surmounting all the difficulties of the race."

Commenting on the carnage in the 60ft trimaran fleet that has seen only three of the 18 starters finish Desjoyeaux commented: "We have known for a long time that to win in mechanical sports you first have to finish. And my ambition, already from the start was to cross the finish line. We should not forget that on a unfortunate mistake another competitor gave away his position. Stève [Ravussin] was two days ahead of the rest of us and charged harder and it is true that I could have had a faster pace, but the most important thing was to arrive first in Guadeloupe. And to be at the startline! I want to credit the whole team. If we hadn’t worked like mad for months, I would not have been here today."

See page two to read the chronology of Desjoyeaux's race

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