Route du Rhum, Mura leading among pieces of sailing history


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Screen shot 2014-11-05 at 11:43:00 a.m.If everything continues to go the way it is going-the if is a must in any ocean race-there could be no better farewell between Andrea Mura and his trusty squire, the Open 50 Vento di Sardegna (which the Sardinian sailor will leave for a new IMOCA 60 in preparation for the Vendée Globe, the nonstop solo round-the-world race): the latest regatta they are tackling together, the legendary Route du Rhum (solo from St. Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe, for a total of 3,543 miles), sees them leading the heterogeneous Rhum category. With as much as 60 miles ahead of the first pursuers, after 3 days of sailing accomplished further north than the rest of the fleet: Vento di Sardegna is 2950 miles from the finish line and from a historic one-two punch (in fact, in 2010 he was the first Italian to win this race). The other Italians, Alessandro Di Benedetto and Giancarlo Pedote, sail in sixth position among IMOCA 60s and 17th among Class 40s, respectively.

The Rhum category had 20 boats at the start: very different from each other, they represent the history of the regatta. For example, there is Acapella-Amisep, twin sister of the trimaran Olympus with which Canadian Mike Birch won the 1978 edition of the regatta by only 2 minutes and 38 seconds ahead of Michel Malinovsky’s Kriter V (which, as it happens, is present under the name Krit’r V, skippered by Benjamin Hardouin). Loick Peyron was supposed to be on board, but following Armel Le Cleac’h’s injury that old fox has jumped at the chance and is leading on Banque Populaire VII in the Latest category (on Acapella is Charlie Capelle).

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston onboard his Open 60 yacht, Grey Power ahead of the start of the Route du Rhum.…AND CHARACTERS
However, it is not only the boats that embody the spirit of the oldest and most adventurous of “Rhum” sailing: scrolling down the provisional ranking, at the seventh step, we find a 75-year-old who has made history. Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, aboard the Open 60 Grey Power. The only one who in the Golden Globe of 1968 managed to complete the 27,000-mile circumnavigation of the globe in 312 days aboard his Suhaili, the 32-foot ketch he built himself. In 1971 he won the Cape to Rio with Peter Blake; in 1977 he triumphed in two stages of the Whitbread; in ’94, again with Blake, he won the Jules Verne trophy for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe. Not a newbie.



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