APIVIA second place in the IMOCA class

Charlie Dalin took second place in the IMOCA class on the twelfth Route du Rhum


Charlie Dalin took second place in the IMOCA class on the twelfth Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe in the IMOCA category. His race time was 11 days, 19 hours, 38 minutes and 11 seconds. He finished just 2hours 1 minute and 46 seconds after the winner Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut).

After his wins in the three big solo events this season, the Bermudes 1000 Race, the Vendée Arctique and the Défi Azimut, 38 year old Dalin was considered the out and out favourite to win this Route du Rhum, even he was technically a ‘rookie’ as this was his first ever challenge on the legendary solo race from Saint Malo to Guadeloupe.

But taking second today, overshadowed by the sailor who has become his nemesis and most regular rival on the race course, Thomas Ruyant, Dalin has again had to settle for second, just as he did on 2020-21’s pinnacle Vendée Globe and last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre which followed a similar pattern, Ruyant’s LinkedOut proving superior VMG running in the trade winds.
This is not the position I had hoped for,” smiled the visibly exhausted Dalin, “But with a welcome like this, I can’t help but smile. That is three times in the major races I’ve been second now.”

He recalled, “The race started well for me. The manoeuvres went well, but I never got a transition allowing me to make my getaway. The hardest part was coming out of the ridge – winds were light and I couldn’t get away. I had to winch by hand that day for twenty minutes at a time, so it was a tough day. I did the whole crossing with three winches as a part broke a few minutes after the start.

Apart from that things went well. Downwind it was more complicated. Being in front wasn’t an advantage as I couldn’t extend my lead.”Last night the duo were just five miles apart as they approached Guadeloup,
Dalin having closed down over 15 miles but the leader, Ruyant, got the advantage. “ He got two squalls this morning and got away. I had been looking forward to a duel around the island. I thought he might get stuck but everything worked out for him.

On his last race ever with the boat which he has sailed round the world on and now done two Transatlantics with, Dalin revealed that last night he had specifically routed to a more open angle just to have one last full speed blast on his Apivia 1, a fitting farewell to the boat which is now going to Clarisse Cremer,
This was the final race aboard this boat for me. I completed all of the races. I had hoped for a bit better than second place. With each transition, it was hard to find a way to make my getaway. I sometimes say it will be different with the next boat. In theory, she will be faster. This race is a sprint. I didn’t have time to do anything else than focus on the race.”

He added, “ This morning I was extremely tired and didn’t really see much of the coast of Guadeloupe. In this race you have to keep at it all the time. You wear yourself out, get few naps. In the Solitaire over 3-4 days it’s fine but 11 days, it’s tough. The second part was particularly tough. Usually you have time to send photos, to shave but not on this race. Gaps can widen and narrow quickly with these boats. When there’s no wind, it’s the same, but when there’s some wind, they are fast. I’m pleased to see all the new boats are still racing. I find it hard not to get first place. In the past I would have been more stressed but I raced this as if it was a Figaro. I still love this sport. Sailing downwind in the trade winds with the boat gliding along is fantastic; I’m lucky to have a job like this and a boat like this.”
He sailed the 3542 miles of the theoretical race course between Saint-Malo and Pointe-à-Pitre at a speed of 12.49 knots on the Great Circle Route. Out on the water, he actually sailed 4353.88 miles averaging 15.35 knots.

His race
Charlie Dalin set the tone from the first hours of racing. The skipper of Apivia was the first past Cape Fréhel. On the way out of the English Channel, he led the group southwards. The worsening sea conditions, tricky weather patterns … nothing was to stop him. Sailing close to the wind, there was no stopping Dalin. On 15th November, six days after the start, he was less than 2000 miles from the finish with a lead of 70 miles over his nearest rival, Jérémie Beyou. “Since the start of the season, I have been in tune with my boat and I’m pleased that has been the case since the start of this race. Of course, I do wonder at times and I haven’t found all the answers to my questions. Some things don’t work out, but this is all so far removed from what I experienced in my first year, when I was learning how to tame the boat… Things happened back then, but now I’m in control.

In the trade winds, Charlie Dalin’s lead was threatened by Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and on 18th November, with just over 1000 miles to go, Ruyant took the lead. A magnificent duel followed between the two frontrunners. Dalin passed the Tête à l’Anglais buoy to the NW of Guadeloupe eighty minutes behind Ruyant. There was just the voyage around the island offering a final possibility, but in spite of his hard work, the skipper of Apivia had to be content with second place, as in the 2020-2021 Vendée Globe and the 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre.

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