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news - Investment Strategy - Groupe Bel leads Route du Rhum

Nov 03 2010


Nov. 3, Atlantic Ocean, Route du Rhum: Groupe Bel in the lead

A smart passage through Ushant before banking southerly miles, profiting from the more favourable wind direction has been the key to Kito de Pavant’s early lead in the IMOCA Open 60 class on Groupe Bel. He confirmed today on the live radio call that his lead may prove transitory, tracking 20 miles south of second place Roland Jourdain on Veolia Environnement, but while Bel was consolidating slighty, converging with the tracks of his rivals astern and to his NW, Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia was on a lone march, heading more south and more east, inshore of Bel. Transat Jacques Vabre winner Marc Guillemot on Safran admitted that his first day has been tough, spending a lot of time on the helm, whilst trying to deal with an unspecified technical issue, one which he and his technical team are reported as noticing just in the pre-start period.

Kito de Pavant  (Groupe Bel):

“I have passed the first 24 hours with more than I expected, and it’s flown in. I had some little scares under kite when the breeze started to head and I did not pass far from rocks at 20kts. At the moment I am just taking all the breeze I can get on this side of the anticyclone, to benefit from it while I can and get this wind to get south because the direction is better. We will find ourselves in the same system and the benefit will even out.

We know the boats are all pretty close in performance and on them we have skippers who can all get across the Atlantic well solo, so it will be pretty competitive. You really don’t want to start off in the red, but you need to keep pushing because the first day was complicated. I kept the spinnaker up in 25 knots for a while which is not easy in these boats.

We will all work down to the top of the anticyclone and will work the fringes for three days. Or you’ll do lots of miles in the north while not passing far from the Azores. And on top of all that the active lows in the very south will break up the trade winds.”