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3 November 2010, 09:17 am
Groupama Makes Express Getaway In The 2010 Route du Rhum
Franck Cammas makes express getaway in Route du Rhum

La Route du Rhum 2010
St Malo, France - Guadeloupe

Suffering from strong chest pains, nausea and extreme fatigue, Bernard Quentin (Cote d'Or II) was evacuated from his trimaran this morning by the Spanish navy who transferred him to the charge of the medical team at Burela.
Meantime Franck Cammas on the giant trimararan Groupama has taken the lead in the Ultimate class since early on Tuesday morning, continuing to set a fierce pace as his southern routing takes him under the critical Azores high pressure system.

Dr Jean-Yves Chauve, the race doctor, in consultation with the Maritime Medical Consultation Centre of Toulouse, and race director Jean Maurel, asked the ill skipper of Cote d'Or II, to activate his distress beacon. Bernard Quentin had complained at 0830hrs on Tuesday morning of nausea, disturbed vision, strong chest pains and extreme fatigue which he had been experiencing since 01:00hrs. The MRCC at Griz Nez, who coordinate rescues relating to the race, passed responsibility to MRCC Madrid for evacuating the skipper off Cote d'Or II, sailing approximately 70 miles to the north of the Spanish port of Ribadeo.

At 11:40 the Spanish navy's helicopter lifted Quentin off his trimaran and passed him immediately to the Spanish medical team. A Spanish team is currently trying to recover the abandoned trimaran which had all sails up.

Two days into the 2010 Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale and Franck Cammas is continuing his wholesale gains in the south. After taking the lead early this morning, Groupama 3 has continued to make huge strides south, consistently 10 knots faster than Cammas' rivals. Already 65 miles clear of second placed Sodebo, Thomas Coville now slowed as he tries to skirt around the north of the Azores high pressue, Groupama 3's gains look set to increase to more than 100 miles by this evening.

Tuesday afternoon Cammas was already south of the centre of the high pressure system, sailing downwind 450 miles SEE of the Azores in around 15 knots of breeze. Francis Joyon (Idec) and Yann Guichard (Gitana 11) are taking the same southern routing, in fourth and fifth, 160 and 205 miles behind the leader respectively. With the most northerly routing Sidney Gavignet (Oman Air Majan) lies third.

Clearly impressed with the swift southerly departure executed by Cammas is Michel Desjoyeaux, following albeit slower paced southerly routing on Foncia in the IMOCA Open 60 class. "I watched the 0400hrs positions every day and can really appreciate that Mr Cammas has done the disappearing act on his rivals. Which is not a big surprise, Now he has the motorway south and the trade winds in front of him. He has already passed the high pressure and is on the fast route."

Proving the IMOCA Open 60 is as competitive as ever, Armel Le Cléac'h remains the fourth skipper in the fleet of nine boats to have taken the lead on this race. After being first to tack up to the north at around midnight on Monday. While the majority of the leading group are between 150 and 210 miles north west of Cape Finisterre, Michel Desjoyeaux and Arnaud Boissières continue to make favorable progress just 60 miles off the Portuguese coast, on the more south easterly routing. But it will be some days before it si possible to say which option will pay the best dividend.

Armel Le Cléac'h and Roland Jourdain (Veolia Environnement) were the first to work to the north west, towards the rhumb line route to Guadeloupe and have benefited, while Christopher Pratt (DCNS 1000) shows an attack which belies his lack of solo racing experience on an IMOCA Open 60. The 29 year old Open 60 rookie still holds third just 11 miles behind Le Cléac'h, runner up in the 2008-9 Vendée Globe and double winner of the Figaro Solitaire.

Class 40
The duel continues in Class 40 where Thomas Ruyant (Destination Dunkerque) leads Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) by a small margin now, while Nicolas Troussel (CMB) lies third but has made the almost singular choice to go for the southerly routing. After two days of racing the top ten comprises a mix of the pre-race favourites and the unexpected, but they are within 26 miles of each other in terms of distance to the finish, nothing at all on a course of 3550 miles to Guadeloupe.

Samuel Manuard (Vector Plus), Eric Defert (Drekan Terralia Energy-Group), the German Jorg Riechers (, Damien Grimont (Monbana), Yvan Noblet (Appart City), Jean-Edouard Criquioche (Picoty Group) all hustle but they still have work to do to catch Ruyant and Stamm, who already has two round the world race wins on his extensive CV.

Kiwi Conrad Colman on the Owen-Clarke designed 40 Degrees is making solid progress in 22nd place, whilst Britons Richard Tolkien (ICAP Orca) and Pete Goss (DMS) are in 26th and 29th respectively.

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