New owner for Giovanni Soldini's Telecom Italia
French Class 40 veteran Yvan Noblet will be on the start line of this autumn's Route du Rhum with a new Appart' City.
Having finished sixth in the 2006 Route du Rhum, Noblet has relinquished his yellow wooden Julien Marin designed Class 40 in favour of one of the most successful boats in the fleet - Giovanni Soldini's Guillaume Verdier-designed Telecom Italia - now flying the Appart' City colours.
The question is - while Noblet has proved his credentials repeatedly in the Class 40, is Telecom Italia still competitive against a Route du Rhum fleet that stands at forty two Class 40s including numerous examples of the latest Akilarias and Pogo sailed by a fresh influx of talented offshore sailors.
Noblet reckons he will be among the best prepared for the singlehanded race from St Malo to Guadeloupe. “I have sailed a lot this season, especially solo. I am among those who has sailed the most miles in a Class 40 and also in the Route du Rhum. This is perhaps an advantage. I observed the other competitors a lot. I feel good and I have a great confidence in my boat.
"Thanks to Giovanni, we haven't had much to do in our refit. We worked on the sails with Incidences. The new sail wardrobe is a synthesis of Giovanni's experiments and mine on my old boat."
This week Appart' City is having new rudders fitted.