Nice Guy Finishes First

By Kimball Livingston Posted November 10, 2014

Loïck Peyron was not scared to use the word “scared” in describing himself in his record Route du Rhum crossing.

Anyone who has met this radiant, unassuming, generous man (ask the wheelchair folks at BAADS) will doubly appreciate what a force of nature he is. Or perhaps we take it for granted that one human will undertake an Atlantic crossing of 3,500 miles in a 103-foot hotrod trimaran at speeds that most sailors never see in a lifetime?

A through-the-water average of 22.93 knots?

And a new record of 7 days, 15 hours, 8 minutes, 32 seconds for the route from Saint-Malo to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadaloupe.

Peyron was a late stand-in for the intended skipper of Banque Populaire VII, Armel Le Cléac’h, who injured his hand two months ago and instead formed half of the weather routing team ashore. Together they pocketed the race early on, with Peyron negotiating a tough beat out the English Channel and then making the turn first into open ocean at Ushant. That gave him a jump that he never lost, even when the rubber band tightened briefly in light breeze near the Azores. At the finish, Peyron had a lead of 180 miles on Yann Guichard and the even-larger trimaran, Spindrift.

Banque Populaire VII on an earlier, fully-crewed mission

Banque Populaire VII on an earlier, fully-crewed mission

In 2010, Franck Cammas won the Route du Rhum on the same boat in a time of 9 days 3 hours. It was known at the time as Groupama, after one of the other French companies that find it worth their while to fund these ventures.

“I was supposed to do the Rhum race on a very small yellow trimaran,” Peyron said, “which will be the case in four years time, I will be back. But it is not a surprise because I knew that the boat was able to do it. I knew that the team was able to help me a lot.

“It is stressful for the boat to withstand high speeds in bad seas. I was able to sail well, but I was scared. This is what the multihull game is all about. One night I fell asleep at the helm and nearly capsized the boat. But this is a great victory, possibly one of the nicest, and breaking the record is the cherry on top of the cake.”

Peyron, 54, first raced trans-Atlantic as a 22-year-old. He has now raced across the Atlantic 49 times, including 18 solo passages, and he holds the around-the-world record. Is there any wonder that Artemis Racing would keep him on the team? And he has a real nice truck that he keeps in California. And he shows the world a lot of love, and he gets it back. Here is Loïck sailing in a BAADS regatta at South Beach, San Francisco.

That would be the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors . . .

Photo by Chris Barrineau

Loick doing his celebrity number. Photo by Chris Barrineau

With apologies to R. Crumb, we can only say, Loïck,



The word from the team —

Yann Guichard has finished the 10th edition of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe in second position. After 8 days, 5 hours, 18 minutes and 46 seconds of racing, his maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 crossed the finish line in Pointe-à-Pitre today (Monday, November 10th) at 14:18:46 local time (18:18:46 UTC). The runner-up of this record-breaking transatlantic crossing finished 14h 10mn 14s behind the race winner, Loïck Peyron (Banque Populaire VII). Yann completed the official 3,542 nautical miles race at an average speed of 17,95 knots, although in reality travelled 4334 miles at an average speed of 21,96 knots!

Photo by Thierry Martinez

Photo by Thierry Martinez

The 40-year-old Spindrift 2 skipper has not only successfully crossed the Atlantic in a 40m trimaran, the largest ever to compete in this race, but has achieved a magnificent second-place finish. His performance has gained the plaudits of his peers and of the huge crowd that has gathered at Pointe-à-Pitre’s main square, Place de la Victoire, where the atmosphere is incredible.

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