Euronews is in Guadeloupe for the 2014 Route du Rhum.
Our correspondent Rémi Pelletier was on the finish line as the IMOCA class – widely considered the toughest boat race in the world – drew to a close.
“Welcome to Guadeloupe and the finish line of the Route du Rhum. The distance between the buoys is 440 yards (402 metres). All competitors must cross the finish line in front of the Creole Beach in Gosier. Right now, we’ll see who’ll win the IMOCA category.”
Manning ‘Massif’, skipper François Gabart was this year’s victor. We spoke to him following his win.
“The people of Guadeloupe have certainly had the Route du Rhum in their blood for a long time. It’s part of the island’s history and we’re always given a warm welcome”, he said.
“It was great to see the island from downwind. The conditions are not always easy, but a lot of boats came to see us. And this was lovely. It means we had the support of many people. And so our arrival at Pointe-à-Pitre was just magical.”
The winners broke all speed records for multihulls and monohulls.
Second-placed Jérémie Beyou skippered the Maître Coq. He described the total physical commitment needed just to take part in such a competition.
“The IMOCAs – the Vendée Globes – are very difficult boats because there are many sails. To advance at the fastest speed possible, you need to change the sails constantly and move all the equipment on board. My body feels broken! I’m hurting everywhere! It’ll be good to get a water massage, then when I feel a bit perkier I’ll do some kite surfing. The wind has picked up and I’m really keen to get out there.”
Skipper Marc Guillemot’s Safran took third place, completing the podium.