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2 December 2002, 03:43 pm
Finish Closes on 8 December
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Mike Birch ©Y.Zedda

Route du Rhum
Pointe a Pitre

Three weeks after the second start in Saint Malo, twenty singlehanded sailors are safe and sound in the shelter of Pointe à Pitre.
Five winners of the six classes have already been crowned and the closure of the finish line is set for the 8 December at 2038 GMT for the ten competitors still racing.

All the Anglophones have already finished aside from the very unfortunate Conrad Humphreys who dismasted very early on in the race. Yesterday's latest arrivals here in Guadeloupe were Miranda Merron with Mike Birch hot on her heels all the way. Today the tasks at hand are slightly less demanding than they have been for the past few weeks, time simply for reflection, consolidation of things learnt about the self as well as the boat, and future projects.

For Ellen MacArthur, she is not just thinking about what is ahead of her, she's actually with her new boat, Kingfisher 2 preparing for the Jules Verne in a month and a half. Similarly Mike Golding is well ahead with his forthcoming project which is set to be the talk of the London Boat Show, which is where it will be announced in January.

Nick Moloney has his sights set on the Vendée Globe in a couple of years and will doubtless be full on with his campaign now that he knows that not only is he capable of finishing, but also he has the potential to win. Forcing yourself to do the things you don't like or that you're not good at seems to be the secret of his success; sailing endless miles for pre-race training upwind for that very reason. As long as he continues in the same vain it will clearly be only downwind sailing from now on and he has earned it.

Miranda Merron, like Moloney, is targeting the not so distant Vendée Globe. She has plans for a new boat and it would certainly be interesting to see what she would really be capable of if she had the financial back up, the boat and the support team of Ellen MacArthur. Throughout the Route du Rhum she has been easily recognisable at every radio session by her laugh and it is that attitude which will take her far.

For Mike Birch his fantastic sailing career is far from over but he will be easing up on the reins over the years to come. For Conrad Humphreys this race in contrast, will surely be just the starting block for further far flown events in the yachting calendar. The potential of these budding stars is ripe for the picking. Despite being only 6 amongst a grand total of 59 entrants the Anglophones have weathered the storms of this seventh Route du Rhum with incredible success. In four years time for the next race, sponsors and the media in English speaking countries may well have honed in on the vastness of the renown of this worldwide race and the very real possibility of using up all the prize money paying for excess baggage on a few suitcase loads of cups on the flight back from Guadeloupe!

Class Results So Far

ORMA 60 Multihulls

Position Skipper Boat Av. Speed (Kt.)
1 Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) Geant 11.1
2 Marc Guillemot (FRA) Biscuits La Trinitaine 10.71
3 Lalou Roucayrol (FRA) Banque Populaire 10.35

IMOCA 60

Position Skipper Boat Av. Speed (Kt.)
1 Ellen MacArthur (GBR) Kingfisher 10.91
2 Mike Golding (GBR) Ecover 10.61
3 Joé Seeton (FRA) Arcelor Dunkerque 9.23
4 Roland Jourdain (FRA) Sill 9.12
5 Antoine Koch (FRA) L'Héautontimorouménos 8.43
6 Patrick de Radigues (BEL) Garnier Belgium 8.19
7 Didier Munduteguy (FRA) 60ieme Sud 7.29
8 Miranda Merron (GBR) Un Univers de Services 7.04
9 Mike Birch (CAN) Tir Group/Montres Yema 6.87

Class Two Monohulls

Position Skipper Boat Av. Speed (Kt.)
1 Nick Moloney (AUS) Ashfield Healthcare 10.91
2 Luc Coquelin (FRA) Florys 7.31
3 Roger Langevin (FRA) Branec III 6.92

Class Three Monohulls

Position Skipper Boat Av. Speed (Kt.)
1 Régis Guillemot (FRA) Storage Tek 7.01

Class Two Multihulls

Position Skipper Boat Av. Speed (Kt.)
1 Franck Yves Escoffier (FRA) Crepes Whaou! 8.99
2 Anne Caseneuve (FRA) Yachting-casino.com 8.22
3 Hervé Cléris (FRA) Vaincre La Mucoviscidose 7.85
4 Claude Thélier (FRA) Archipel Guadeloupe 7.72
Kate Jennings/ISAF News Editor
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