The huge Route du Rhum fleet gets underway: but Briton Sam Goodchild is injured, and 2 IMOCAs crash

A huge fleet of 138 boats set off for the start of the Route du Rhum 2022, but a skipper is injured and two IMOCAs collide

With 138 single-handed boats at the start, the start of the Route du Rhum 2022 still promised to be spectacular.

Three days later than initially planned, thanks to a strong depression and the sea state forecast for the North Atlantic, the Route du Rhum 2022 started today in an almost perfect south-westerly wind of 11- 15 knots with sunshine.

The 138 entered – from the giant Ultime 100 footer to the smallest 40 footer – set off upwind from the same line, the largest multihulls furthest offshore, the huge fleet of 38 IMOCAs in search of fresh air middle, while the 55 Class 40s ducked and dove around each other at the inside beacon as if they were about to start a local club race, not a transatlantic against a multi-million fleet euros.

Photos: Tight race for the Ultimes from the start of the Route du Rhum 2022. Photos: Philpré Arnaud/Route du Rhum

Despite the fact that the race is 3,542 nautical miles from Guadeloupe, there were several boats called OCS at the start, including the overall leader, Charles Caudrelier on the Gitana Ultime (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild). The standard time penalty is four hours.

There was an incident at the start of the Ocean 50 class, when British skipper Sam Goodchild, the 32-year-old skipper of Leyton, was injured during the pre-start and had to be evacuated ashore to Saint Malo hospital. He was reportedly injured in the arms and face.

A statement from the team tonight said: “As he trimmed the sails of his Ocean Fifty Leyton during the start phase, Sam Goodchild suffered injuries to his arms and face. A technical problem caused the winch to roll back from the pedestal and it was hit hard by the cranks. He was evacuated from the boat and taken to hospital by doctors. He was able to see his family. It is with deep sadness that he is forced to abandon the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe.

The skipper of Ocean 50, Sam Goodchid, had to abandon the Route du Rhum following an injury. Photo: Philpré Arnaud/Route du Rhum

Two IMOCAs also returned to port after being involved in a port-starboard collision on the approach to the Cap Fréhel buoy, around three hours after the start of the Route du Rhum. Ollie Heer (Offshore Racing by Oliver Heer) and Kojiro Shiraisihi (DMG MORI Global One) both suffered damage, the most obvious being damage to the bowsprit and Heer pulpit while DMG MORI has damage on the starboard side which is being assessed tonight. Both teams will examine to see if it is possible to repair and restart.

Heer explained, “I am disgusted to say the least. This is a port-starboard incident at the Cap Fréhel gate. I was on the starboard side and Koji on the port side. I decided that even though I would have made it through the gate, I decided to move closer inland to get out of the tide.

“I tacked and was minutes away from tacking and I was about to go up the daggerboard to windward and there was a huge bang. I was thrown into the pit. I I was convinced that he had seen me. But now there is a huge disappointment and frustration, we have worked hard to come to this.

“But we have until Saturday to have it repaired. We are optimistic. The biggest damage is the bowsprit, the crash box suffered most of the impact and we have a small hole on the port side. We have a lot of people supporting us. I have Pete Hobson, who was the designer for Alex [Thomson’s] Hugo Boss, on the way here on the ferry. And we will try everything to get back. We are optimistic.

On the dock, Koji apologized, saying, “We were on the same tack near the mark and he veered off and I didn’t see him coming. Then the buoy was really close and I couldn’t avoid it. The damage is really high, but right now I’m really glad Ollie is fit and healthy.

The first leaders of the Route du Rhum

The first leader of the general classification was Charles Caudrelier on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild in the Ultimate category, chased by Armel Le Cléach on People’s Bank XI.

In the fleet of 38 IMOCAs, Charlie Dalin on Apivia was the first to cross the first passage mark of Cape Fréhel. At the start of the first night, his closest rivals were Kevin Escoffier on the new Holcim-PRBand his longtime rival Thomas Ruyant on LinkedOutwho had both taken a coastal line along the coasts of Brittany.

Although the fleet will avoid the most severe weather forecasts (gusts at 50 knots and sea state at 6-7 m), thanks to the postponement of the start, this same front has left difficult conditions for the skippers to face, and risks face high waves. up to 4.5m as they exit the English Channel this evening.

Tight race for the largest fleet, the Class 40s, from the start. Philpré Arnaud/Route du Rhum

The first big decision will come overnight, as skippers will have to decide whether to sail north or south of the Traffic Separation Scheme off Ouessant. Caudrelier seems to be the first to have veered southeast of it, and was sailing at over 30 knots this evening.

A front stretching from the west of Scotland to the Azores is currently generating stronger easterly winds, although this is also expected to generate stronger seas. An alternative route will be to cross the Bay of Biscay towards La Coruña, although this option will involve an additional number of upwind legs.

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