The 10th edition of the Route du Rhum is well underway now with most of the 91-strong fleet having spent three full days at sea.
In this singlehanded yacht race all navigational systems are authorized including routing systems to help with the journey between St Malo and Pointe a Pitre.
A routing system is the boat’s own meteorological and tracking consultant who is based on land and helps the skippers with strategical choices – notably to help them try and beat the race record of 7 days 17 hours and 19 minutes set by Lionel Lemonchois in 2006.
Loïck Peyron Skipper of Banque Populaire said: ‘‘We have the equivalent of an instant messaging software that we have of ipads, iphones, actually all tablets.
‘‘It will wake you up with an alarm. I am not overly fond of these routing systems. But it is necessary, because sooner or later skippers will lose some lucidity.
‘‘Skippers will have trouble in recovering from constant maneouvers which with these boats are extremely demanding, physically – especially at my age. When you get to the end of the race you are exhausted.”
Peyron added : “These are computer systems that for years, even decades now are based on statistics, weather forecasts. These are extremely complex systems that calculate weather routing.
Strangely it makes me feel old you because it can get very stressful.
It’s demanding, but it is an amazing thing because for those who are into these things you can really control the situation.
After just three days of sailing 16 of the record 91 starters have abandoned, 2004 Vendee Globe winner Vincent Riou being the latest.
Currently leading 3542 mile race to Guadeloupe is Peyron who had a 60 plus nautical mile advantage as he passed west of Madeira.