Ultimate is defined as extreme or supreme and in the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe the Ultimate class represents the battle of the giants, the extreme multihulls fight for supremacy. The Ultime class was created back in 2010 the giants return in 2014 for the historic tenth edition of the legendary solo Transatlantic from Saint Malo to Guadeloupe
. Racing the Ultimes is one of the most pure human challenges in the race.
This year they are eight trimarans in this Ultime category. All are capable of completing the course to Pointe a Pitre in less than eight days and to maintain speeds of more than 30 knots. But all eight are different in their dimensions and their design philosophy depending on what their original purpose was. But all will require enormous levels of skill and stamina. And for each, just reaching Guadeloupe will be an achievement.
In order of size, here are the Ultime eight.
The Maxi Spindrift skippered by Yann Guichard is the biggest trimaran ever built to compete offshore and was conceived as a crewed record breaking machine. It is 131 feet long and the mast is 130 feet tall.
Then there are three trimarans of around 100 feet. Banque Populaire VII won the Route du Rhum 2010 in her previous colours and this time will be raced by Loick Peyron, Francis Joyon races Idec Sport and Thomas Coville the new Sodebo Ultime.
There the lighter Maxi80 Prince de Bretagne of Lionel Lemonchois.
And there are three near identical 70 foot trimarans, slightly revised and adapted MOD70s which are now set up for solo sailing: Multi70 Edmond de Rothschild skippered by Sebastien Josse, Musandam Oman Sail skippered by Sidney Gavignet and Paprec Recyclage sailed by Yann Elies.
The Route du Rhum starts November 2nd.