In a distinct break with tradition the Route du Rhum has its first ever monohull overall leader

Wednesday November 20th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
The Route du Rhum has always been a multihull event, ever since Mike Birch's trimaran rolled Michel Malinovski's maxi on the finish line of the first event in 1978. Since then it has always been won by multihulls - Marc Pajot's Elf Aquitaine cat in 1982, Philippe Poupon on board the tri Fleury VIII in 1986, Florence Arthaud on board the tri Pierre 1er in 1990 and on the last two occasions, Laurent Bourgnon on board his Primagaz trimaran.

Following Steve Ravussin's capsize last night, there is now the bizarre situation in the Route du Rhum where for the first time ever, a monohull - Ellen MacArthur's Kingfisher - is overall race leader. This point is likely to be only of academic interest though as in an unexpected re-enactment of the Vendee Globe Ellen is likely to be beaten on overall elapsed time once again by her old rival Michel Desjoyeaux on the trimaran Geant .

It should be remembered that the trimarans started 24 hours after the monohulls. At present Ellen is 900 miles from the finish, Desjoyeaux 500 miles behind her. But looking at the average speeds for the last 24 hours Kingfisher made 14 knots, Geant 16 knots which would bring Kingfisher in roughly 24 hours ahead of Desjoyeaux.

However these speed averages seem high for Kingfisher and low for Geant and it is likely that barring further disaster - something of a regular occurence in this race - Desjoyeaux will pip Ellen to the post as the boats approach the Guadeloupe finish line.

At present neither Kingfisher nor Ecover have been asked to assist in the rescue of Steve Ravussin.

On page 2 see the latest from Miranda Merron...

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