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11/19 - 01h31

Alessandro Di Benedetto finishes sixth IMOCA into Guadeloupe

Very early Wednesday morning at 00:04:30hrs TU (Tuesday 18 20:04:30 local time Pointe-a-Pitre) Franco-Italian solo skipper Alessandro di Benedetto crossed the finish line of La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe in sixth place in the IMOCA 60 class. The skipper of Team Plastique-AFM Telethon took 16d11h4m30s for the 3542 miles course from Saint Malo, sailing at theoretical average of 8.96kts. In reality he sailed 4391 miles at 11.11kts average. His delta to IMOCA winner Francois Gabart is 4d6h25m35s.  
It is Di Benedetto's first participation in the Route du Rhum, adding to his recently completing both the Vendee Globe in 11th place and last year's two handed Transat Jacques Vabre to Brasil in 9th place.

His target was to push his evergreen 1998 Finot-Conq design close to its limits. The boat is inherently less powerful than his rivals, using only a fixed - rather than canting - keel. He had a few problems which compromised that attack, not least an initial back strain which he struggled with, food poisoning and a rudder problem which required a composite repair, tying himself to the stern of the boat while he made the fix, which required him to sit head to wind for several hours. He expressed his concern he might not be able to finish the course, such were his difficulties but he made it, holding off Tanguy de Lamotte by about 20 miles.

Di Benedetto arrived on the dock in Pointe a Pitre to a warm welcome. He remarked that this was his first return to Guadeloupe since 2002 when he sailed the Transatlantic alone in a Hobie 16 sport catamaran from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. 

He said:

"It was intense! I congratulate all those who finsihed before me. Congratulations to those who are on the podium, they sailed a great race. I think with the boat I have  I made a good race. I have a boat that is 16 years old, we were 9 that started in Saint-Malo and I am here sixth. "
"It was stressful because Tanguy was eating up the miles. His boat is from 2008 and it goes faster. I am very happy."
"I have been here in Hobie Cat 16, it was a world first, but this is the first time I get to race here in Guadeloupe! "     

"It was intense. It was hard. I am tireder than when I finished the Vendee Globe, there was less time to rest, I had no time to make crepes it was all freeze dried food."
"I had some bad stomach ache, something that I ate, but it was not too dangerous and I spoke with Dr Chauve all the time, I took some painkillers and it was OK. The other problem was the rudder which was breaking away from its fixings. And so I had to make the repair with epoxy and carbon fibre. I had to go  in the water to make the repair, one like Tanguy had to stop for, but he had a very fast boat. I was in the water but it meant I could keep on going. I was thinking I would finish in between 14 and 18 days, so a little bit more than 16 days is good. I am happy with sixth. Now I would like to find a sponsor to do the next Vendee Globe with, but if not I will find something new to do."


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