Keelboats and Bermuda Shorts
It’s tough to beat the J/105 when it comes to an affordable high-performance 35ft racer-cruiser that is easily sailed and attracts top-shelf international Corinthian talent. The class ran its 2014 International Invitational event, which was hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, in late November. After three days of warm-water racing, Peter Bromby and his Chequemate crew took top honors, followed by Jason Owen’s Morning Glory and Bill Lakenmacher’s Passion.
Lightning Strikes Twice for M32 class
Jason Carroll and his Argo teammates made history in early December when they won the Melges 32 Worlds for the second consecutive year, busting the dockside myth that the title couldn’t be won twice by the same team. Carroll and his crew, which includes tactician Cameron Appleton, were joined on the winner’s podium by Edoardo Lupi’s Italian-flagged Torpyone team, and Naofumi Kamei’s Japanese-flagged Mamma Aiuto.
Banque Populaire VII in the Route du Rhum. Photos courtesy of 2014 Route du rhum [/caption]
Route du Rhum record
The fabled Route du Rhum takes place every fourth November and carries singlehanded sailors from Saint Malo, France, to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, a straight-line distance of 3,542 miles. Sailors can compete in a variety of classes, ranging from the tidy Class 40 monohulls to the “Ultime” division filled with multihulls longer than 60ft. The hard part is sailing these vessels through the often storm-tossed Atlantic Ocean. This proved problematic this year for several skippers who struggled to clear the English Channel in rough weather and heavy shipping traffic that contributed to an unusually high attrition rate.
Fortunately for the rest of the fleet, this year’s race provided fast and furious conditions that allowed Loick Peyron, racing aboard the 105-foot trimaran Banque Populaire VII, to set a new course record of 7 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes and 32 seconds at an average pace of 19.34 knots.
Peyron was pinch-hitting for skipper Armel Le Cléac’h, who injured his hand two months before the start. “I never imagined that I would win a Route du Rhum on a boat like this,” said Peyron, who originally planned to race aboard the 39-foot yellow trimaran Happy—a replica of Mike Birch’s Olympus Photos, which won the inaugural race in 1978. “I was able to sail the boat well, but [I] was scared. It is stressful for the boat to withstand such high speeds in bad seas. You have to constantly manage the boat. One night I fell asleep at the helm and nearly capsized.” Good thing Peyron is a light sleeper.