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Route du Rhum: The grandfathers of sailing


Route du Rhum: The grandfathers of sailing


While most competitors have already arrived, the category of veterans or the ‘grandfathers of sailing “ remain at sea, notably England’s Sir Robin Knox Johnston – a legend of the sea.

In 1969 Sir Robin became the first man to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.

St Malo native Bob Escoffier – another veteran competing in the Route du Rhum – arrived at the finish line by plane after his ship sank during the race.

Escoffier explained: “I was sleeping, I was awoken by a strange water noise at the front of the boat. I went to check it out and there was one metre of water on board. It took me 20-25 minutes to lower the sails – put the staysails up – to haul down the main sail by that time there was water half way up the engine so I knew the game was over.

‘‘One hour and 15 minutes after being airlifted by helicopter, unfortunately the boat – Guisnel Group – had sunk. It’s was extremely difficult to take – it’s like you have nothing.’‘

Before the race Sir Robin, who is currently fighting for second place in the Rhum category, said: ‘‘Because we are older we are quite experienced people just like Loïck Peyron.

‘‘We are older, we have lot of experience and therefore less apprehension because we have done this before. It doesn’t mean will not be cautious we will probably be more cautious because we are older, but that is a safety thing.’‘

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