Unprecedented

François Gabart doesn’t lose singlehanded ocean races, right? In the most perfect match of talent, experience and peerless seamanship it was 62-year-old Francis Joyon who ended Gabart’s winning streak a few hundred metres off the coast of Guadeloupe. But James Boyd finds the youthful French skipper grateful to at least cede the crown to the Grandmaster himself

The end of the 2018 Route du Rhum for the Ultime class will certainly be fondly remembered in the history of France’s oldest singlehanded transatlantic race, with 62-year-old veteran record breaker Francis Joyon pipping the young favourite François Gabart to the post to win the race from St Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe by just 7m 8s.

It was a fitting result given that this will be one of Joyon’s last races – it is unclear if he will compete in next year’s Brest Oceans race, the new non-stop singlehanded round-the-world race for the Ultimes.


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