Joé Seeten crossed the finish line at Pointe à Pitre on Monday 25 November at 13:36:51 after 16 days, 00 hours, 51 mins and 51 secs of racing at an average of 9.23 knots.
In so doing he takes the third on the podium behind the British duo, after a race characterised by his Northerly option at the start of the course. Roland (Bilou) Jourdain and Franck-Yves Escoffier are also expected in today and the welcoming band have stocked up on vitamins for what promises to be a spectacular day.
This seventh Route du Rhum has proven that in order to be well ranked, you have to know how to preserve the structure of your boat. And this is exactly what Joé Seeten knew how to do on board Arcelor Dunkerque, a 60 foot Finot which is none other than the former Active wear of Marc Thiercelin (as well as sister-ship to Ecover). He came in 2 days, 11 hours, 20 mins and 4 secs behind Ellen MacArthur.
Of all the competitors figuring in the leading pack, Joé Seeten is without doubt the one that headed furthest North after exiting the Channel. His trajectory enabled him to escape the worst of the storm which raged during the 12 and 13 November. For the first three days of the race, the skipper from Dunkerque wavered between sixth and seventh place. On the 13, while part of the fleet endured a very big blast, Joé passed into fourth position behind Roland (Bilou) Jourdain situated further South.
But Bilou tore his mainsail, lost miles, and had to make a pit stop in Madeira. Since that 14 November, Joé held onto third position right up to the finish line in Point à Pitre. Far from the leading duo comprised of Ellen MacArthur and Mike Golding, Joé couldn't have hoped for better. That said, he was able to keep his pursuers at bay (not literally!) and most significantly foil the comeback of Sill whilst skirting the Azores High.
This third place (his best in ocean racing), is a superb reward for this 45 year old master-sailmaker in his first participation in the Route du Rhum. Roland Jourdain on Sill just 59.9 nautical miles from the finish line at the 1100 GMT ranking (thus winning the annual Imoca 60 class outright). Miranda Merron and Mike Birch in eighth and ninth respectively have around 1000 miles to go and hope to be here in Guadeloupe before the week is out.
In the Class 1 monohulls the sole remaining Bruno Reibel on Ville de Dinard lies 1713 nautical miles from victory. Nick Moloney, leading the Class 2 monohulls had 637.1 nautical miles to go and is expected on Wednesday or Thursday.
Regis Guillemot is continuing to storm the rankings in the Class 3 monohull category 944 nautical miles from glory, 655 nautical miles ahead of Passion Entreprendre of Jérome Thiriez.
And finally hot on the heels of Joé Seeten, Franck Yves Escoffier aboard Crepes Whaou!, currently 111.2 nautical miles from Guadeloupe, is set to win the Class 2 multihull category hands down with over 300 miles on current second place Anne Caseneuve on Yachting-casino.com