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Azimut Challenge, A Return and Charal Flies

Take off for Charal
© Yvan Zedda / Défi Azimut

The last big meet up for the IMOCA fleet before the Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe, the weekend’s Defi Azimut, proved a fitting warm up for the November transatlantic with brisk, breezy conditions reminiscent of what the solo racers will likely encounter during the big Autumn race.
There was a 250 miles 24 hour race as well as some speed runs, both of which provided some interesting insights.
First up the 24 hours Azimut solo race confirmed the welcome return of 2004-5 Vendée Globe winner Vincent Riou (PRB) after an absence of nearly two years. Riou, sailing his VPLP-Verdier design which is now fitted with foils won the race from Sam Davies (Initatives Coeur) who underlined her strong start to the IMOCA season after winning the Drheam Cup. And Yann Elies (UCAR St-Michel) proved he is competitive too, finishing third. And Paul Meilhat (SMA) also did well racing on his classic monohull set up with no foils.
Sunday morning’s speed runs principally confirmed the potential of Charal, Jérémie Beyou’s newly launched IMOCA which dominated the speed challenge, more importantly foiling lifted clear of the water. A new frontier has been crossed. Roll on the Route du Rhum!

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