As the 2022 Route du Rhum approaches, we take a look at some of the top names set to compete in the race. Toby Heppell looks at Yannick Bestaven’s chances
Yannick Bestaven was declared the 2020/21 Vendée Globe winner finishing third on the water, he earned the win thanks to a time compensation of 10 hours and 15 minutes which he was awarded for his role in the search and rescue of fellow competitor Kevin Escoffier back in November.
For Bestaven this was his second tilt at the Vendée Globe, having dismasted in the 2008/09 edition. Since 2008, Bestaven has taken two victories in the Transat Jacques Vabre in Class 40, and fourth place in the Route du Rhum in 2014. Having secured sponsorship from Maître CoQ, Yannick managed to purchase the first foiler designed by architects Verdier – VPLP for the Vendée Globe 2016 – formerly Morgan Lagravière’s Safran.
Bestaven has always been known for his autonomy. In 2001, he won the Mini-Transat on a boat that he’d built himself with the help of Arnaud Boissières who actually finished third. For the 2020 edition of the Vendée Globe, he was his own shipowner, responsible for the project from start to finish.
This all-round knowledge of a well-sorted (if not absolute latest generation) boat contributed to a Vendée which has gradually moved from impressive to standout and he led the fleet back into the Atlantic having moved up into first just south of Australia and is still fighting hard within the leading pack of four boats.
The 2022 Route du Rhum will see Bestaven competing in a solo transoceanic race for the first time in a brand new IMOCA 60, the build for which was agreed with his sponsor Maître CoQ shortly after his victory in the 2020-21 Vendee Globe.
IMOCA 60 Maître CoQ V
Sail number: FRA 17
Designer: Guillaume Verdier
Builder: CDK Technologies
LWL: 18,28 m
Beam: Not published
Draught: 4,5 m
Weight: Not published
The 2022 Route du Rhum is the first big race Bestaven will take part in onboard his brand new IMOCA 60 and, as such, there are likely to be some teething problems with the boat – as is always the case with such high-tech offshore racers.
Verdier and CDK are a well established designer and builder combination, though so there should not be any significant surprises. And a sailor like Bestaven, who is so used to being self-sufficent is unlikely to have any significant issue working though the inevitable gremlins.
Certainly with a Vendée Globe win under his belt, years of solo offshore experience, and now a brand new IMOCA 60 under him, Bestaven surely must feature in anyone’s pick of podium potentials for both the Route du Rhum and Vendée in 2024-25.