Route du Rhum, the Italians “are there” all right!


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Silver for Andrea Mura in the “Rhum” category, tenth place for Giancarlo Pedote among the Class 40s, sixth place finish for Alessandro Di Benedetto in the IMOCAs. A Route du Rhum (3,542 miles solo from Saint Malo, Brittany, to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe) in which the Italians proved they “were there” and had a say.

Well done Giancarlo Pedote, despite numerous breakdowns: among the Class 40s, aboard Fantastica, provided by Lanfranco Cirillo. with a total time of 18 days, 14 hours, 26 minutes and 43 seconds, finished in 10th place. The list of “setbacks” for the Florentine sailor was really long, worth scrolling through:

the explosion of the foresail hook on the first night of sailing, which required the Italian sailor to climb to the masthead in over 20 knots and rough seas to free the sail;
the borosa imbroglio that prevented a third coat of reefing while 40 knots of wind were blowing and forced Fantastica and its skipper into a five-hour technical layover in Roscoff. Five hours that are actually 12 if we count the trajectory changes to get back and leave port;
AIS failure at the Finisterre passage;
the recovery of the large spi that fell into the water due to a lascing break that occurred on Monday, Nov. 17, at noon;
– the bursting of the same spi, which that same night, subjected to great strain, split into two parts;
fleet antenna failure, a failure that forced it as late as Monday evening to sail without weather data or fleet-related information until it arrived at Point-a-Pitre;
– the ensuing struggle with Damien Seguin, made more difficult by other incidents that occurred shortly before the approach to the island. A break in the sock of the small spi rendered this sail unusable just when it was most needed (during the difficult weather conditions of the night between Wednesday and Thursday) and forced Giancarlo Pedote to hoist the gennaker, which, however, was stuck and could not be lowered when needed. It was a moment that came quickly: off the archipelago on the morning of Nov. 20, a large and heavy kelp tree got stuck in Fantastica’s keel, making her ungovernable.
Giancarlo Pedote was able to free the keel of the Class 40 only in the evening of November 20, when taking advantage of a drop in the wind due to the proximity of land, he was able to cut the halyard of the gennaker and then finally lower the sail, redoing then two plumbs on the halyard. An operation that lasted three hours at the end of which the Italian skipper was able to reverse and thus free the keel, immediately recovering at least three knots of speed.

Having recovered his gait, however, Giancarlo Pedote could no longer climb back to ninth position and crossed the finish line tenth in this his first Route du Rhum after a sheave burst in front of Basse Terre (the sheet of the spi got stuck in the sheave, which the skipper had to hammer out in order to free the line).
Upon arrival at Point-a-Pitre, he recounted his regatta as follows: “At first, morale was not outstanding. I had a problem with the foresail, then one with the mainsail (the inability to give the third coat of reefing – ed.), so I had to stop. Then I set off again, exhausted, with the battery at zero… Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to recover physically because when I got to Roscoff I was in hypothermia and 5 hours was not enough…Mentally it was a thrashing too, because when you stop you know you are out of the possibility to play 100%. It is possible to recover a stop at Vendéé Globe, but not at Route du Rhum. However, I continued my race to the maximum and managed to catch up. It was great. I also had some pleasant moments when I saw that my efforts were being rewarded. I saw that I had the speed, although I made many mistakes in maneuvering because I did not know the boat well. Normally with a result in this position I am not happy, but if nothing else I made a good comeback. When I left Roscoff I was last… Every day I would choose to pass skippers and I would say to myself: now it’s him, then it’s going to be him…I gave myself small goals that allowed me to come back little by little. I only missed Damien (Seguin, ed.).”

1456045_10152910605191057_5483567253432995213_nWALLS SECOND AMONG THE “RUMS”
A complex Route du Rhum for Andrea Mura and his Open 50 Vento di Sardegna, which will be retired after this adventure to make way for the new IMOCA 60 on which the Sardinian sailor will take part in the Vendée Globe. A hard-fought race, full of pitfalls and “dead zones.” That’s the way it is with sailing: it’s not enough to do calculations when the weather becomes unstable and the wind waits. It was a wind that seemed to be in the skipper’s favor, holding his own during the gales between the English Channel and the North Atlantic, but he was trapped in the Azores anticyclone, passed unscathed by the fast fleet of Ultime-class maxi trimarans and the IMOCA fleet, but instead caught Vento di Sardegna slowing down for two days on its way to Point à Pitre in the French Antilles. Behind him was a trimaran, ANEO, lightly led by Anne Caseneuve, who was adept at taking advantage of Mura’s empasse to gain the lead and never let go.

andrea mura - wind of sardinia 2010ONLY THOSE WHO FALL CAN RISE AGAIN
A race marked by a splendid comeback: Mura, having slipped to fifth place, bravely and relentlessly climbed up the ranks to second place overall finish. Fighting and planning, sacrificing hours of sleep and looking for the best set-ups to get back into the race. “It was a tiring Route du Rhum full of unexpected events, harder than the 2010 edition” – said Andrea Mura – “after the gales in the first part of the race and the calm phase in the Azores anticyclone, in the final part it was an exciting challenge and an honor to fight with Sir Robin and, despite some minor breakdowns, cross the finish line as first of the monohulls.” Impressive roster for Vento di Sardegna, the fast Open 50 designed by Felci and protagonist to date of four victories and a second place in its five “official” appearances (Route du Rhum 2010, Twostar 2012, Quebec-S. Malo 2012, Ostar 2013, Route du Rhum 2014).



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