Following yesterday's departure of the monohulls and smaller trimarans, today it was the turn of the 18ft 60ft trimarans to take the start line of the 2002 Route du Rhum.
Despite forecasts anticipating much more wind in the end the start for the water borne birds of prey was relatively light. It was Yvan Bourgnon on board Rexona Men who got the best start, but Philippe Monnet was also showing good pacet the outset aboard his new, but little raced Lombard design, Sopra Group.
Like yesterday the fleet started off St Malo and headed towards mark off Cape Frehat some 20 miles to weather. In addition to the assembled throng at the pre-start and the locking out of Basin Vaubin, traditionally Cape Frehat is the best place to watch the start of the Route du Rhum and for the gathered masses on the cliffs it was day to remember.
Once the singlehanded sailors had got the bit between their teeth - and it takes few minutes to crank these boats up if you're on your own - the form began to show with The Daily Sail's race favourites Franck Cammas on Groupama and Loick Peyron on Fujifilm locked in a tight match race to the mark.
Fairly evident even within these first few miles was that those who felt home with their boats were showing clean pair of heels to those who weren't despite many 'name' skippers racing newer and supposedly faster boats. Particularly disappointing was the new Gitana X sailed by Lionel Lemonchois, who rounded in last position and Vendee Globe sailor Michel Desjoyeaux who was 16th at the mark.
Tacking singlehanded even for some of the old hands was proving awkward with the pacey tris coming to a standstill or sailing backwards as their lone skippers attempted to wrestle their way on to the new tack. It is possible that with the new cockpit layouts of these boats, which these days are geared up more for fully crewed grand prix than solo sailing, has not helped the speed of manoeuvres while having all manner of canting masts and daggerboards also can do nothing to speed up the process.
Cape Frehal mark roundings
1 Peyron Loïck - Fujifilm 15 H 04 00
2 Cammas Franck - Groupama 15 H 04 37
3 Guillemot Marc - Biscuits la Trinitaine - Ethypharm 15 H 07 55
4 Bourgnon Yvan - Rexona men 15 H 09 23
5 Monnet Philippe -Sopra Group 15 H 11 15
6 Gautier Alain - Foncia 15 H 11 44
7 Nélias Jean-Luc - Belgacom 15 H 12 43
8 Joyon Francis Eure et Loir-Lorenove 15 H 13 42
9 Fauconnier Karine - Sergio Tacchini 15 H 15 42
10 Coville Thomas - Sodebo 15 H 16 25
11 Le Peutrec Frédéric - Bayer CropScience 15 H 17 01
12 De Broc Bertrand - Banque Covefi 15 H 17 13
13 Soldini Giovanni - TIM 15 H 18 54
14 Roucayrol Lalou - Banque Populaire 15 H 19 04
15 Le Cam Jean Bonduelle 15 H 21 35
16 Desjoyeaux Michel - Géant 15 H 22 20
17 Ravussin Stève - TechnoMarine 15 H 23 48
18 Lemonchois Lionel - Gitana 15 H 31 37