Steve Ravussin’s TechnoMarine becomes the 5th Route du Rhum multihull to capsize – 700 miles from a virtually uncontested 1st place

Late last night, Steve Ravussin became the 5th multihull skipper to capsize in the Route du Rhum. He was leading by a margin of nearly 700 miles in TechnoMarine, Alain Gautier’s old Foncia, and was only 734 miles from the finish in Guadeloupe when he was caught unawares by a squall. When the leeward bow buried in a wave, the boat flipped over. His shore crew is trying to arrange a rescue.

This report from Ravussin was sent this morning by the Route du Rhum press office:

“I had less than 15 knots of wind, under gennaker and one reef when I went to have a rest. I was woken when I felt the boat accelerate in a squall. I pulled out the gennaker sheet, which I had lead down below, but it was too late. The floats had already ploughed in.

‘With the inertia of the mast, everything was going very quickly. The boat capsized stern over bow. As this moment I was on the point of getting out of the cockpit and I suddenly found myself with my head under water but protected by the hood. In the interior of the boat, everything is in a jumble. I immediately set my batteries on to charge for my Iridium telephone.

‘It’s really sad and I am thinking about all those who have supported and helped me in this adventure. When everything is reduced to nothingness you have to ask yourself if you would do the same thing tomorrow.’

Only three of the original 18 trimarans are still racing, led now by Michel Desjoyeaux in his new boat Géant. A victory by him would be a great triumph after a season marred by a dismasting and other technical problems. He is some 1,400 miles from Guadeloupe.

At the head of the monohull fleet, Ellen MacArthur has extended her lead over Mike Golding to 63 miles. During last night, Golding suffered a setback when his spinnaker twisted and he had to climb the mast to recover it. His other spinnaker ripped, so he needs to salvage this to power his fightback against Kingfisher.

Further back, Bilou has been taking a flyer on a southerly route after his stop in Madeira and has been overhauling other Open 60s at an impressive rate. Sill now lies 4th and is only 100 miles behind Joe Seeten on Arcelor-Dunquerque, so he has every chance of a podium position despite his early sail damage.

Miranda Merron is lying 8th, ahead of Mike Birch, in 9th, while in Class 2, Nick Moloney is still in front, though his lead is being eaten away by Hervé Vachée, who is less than 50 miles behind