Caudrelier blows away race record as tragedy mars Route du Rhum finish

2. Yachting
French skipper Charles Caudrelier raises the trophy after winning the Route du Rhum solo sailing race with his Ultim multihull Gitana — Edmond de Rothschild, on November 16, 2022, in Pointe-a-Pitre in the French west indies. (Photo: AFP)

POINTE-À-PITRE, France — Charles Caudrelier won the Route du Rhum on Wednesday, smashing the record in the transatlantic race when he sailed his maxi trimaran Edmond de Rothschild across the line in Guadeloupe.اضافة اعلان

The finish was marred by tragedy. Two people died as a boat chartered by race organizers, which was following Caudrelier, capsized off the coast of Guadeloupe, the public prosecutor of Pointe-a-Pitre told AFP.

The prosecutor, Patrick Desjardins, said a judicial investigation has been opened for manslaughter.

According to local media, a dozen people were aboard the boat which was part of the flotilla accompanying Caudrelier to the finish line.

The local fire department said the French National Sea Rescue Society rescued the survivors.

Caudrelier, a 48-year-old French sailor became the first competitor to finish in less than seven days when he completed the 12th edition in six days and 19 hours at 05:02 local time.

He was almost a day faster than the time set by compatriot Francis Joyon who won in 7 days 14 hours and 21 minutes in 2018.

“I’m not even tired surprisingly,” said Caudrelier after docking. “The race was exhausting, but I did well to find my rhythm. I wanted to win this race so badly.”

“I had never been able to do it. It was a huge frustration.”

He was chased for much of the race by Francois Gabart in SVR Lazartigue.

“There was a real fight with Francois,” Caudrelier said.

“We talked a lot about the record, but that’s normal because my boat is newer than Francois’s.”

Gabart, overtaken by Joyon in the final stages in 2018, was still a few hours from the finish as Caudrelier crossed the line. Thomas Coville in Sodebo was lying comfortably third.

Edmond de Rothschild, launched in 2017, is the first trimaran designed to rise entirely out of the water on foils. Caudrelier was part of the crew that broke the Fastnet race record in it in 2019.

“I found this boat crazy. It’s a complicated boat, which has always had to evolve against new boats,” he said. “Our team is like a Formula 1 team and I’m the driver, all year long.”

One of the pre-race favorites, Armel Le Cleac’h, had seen his chances of success dashed a day after setting out when he returned to Lorient in Brittany last Thursday to repair the damage to his boat.

Le Cleac’h — who capsized after just two days in the previous edition four years ago — set out again after two days of repairing his dagger board, the retractable fin attached to the keel.

However, despite seeing his hopes of victory shattered, the 2016/17 winner of the Vendee Globe said he was determined to finish the race.

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