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Oliver Heer Completes Route Du Rhum

At 21:37 on the 29th of November, Swiss Skipper Oliver Heer and his IMOCA Gitana 80 finally finished the 2022 edition of the famous Route du Rhum Race Destination Guadeloupe. 

The first-time solo skipper did not have an easy start to his Route du Rhum including a delayed start, and a port starboard collision that he was later cleared of fault. An electrical fire onboard, three 50-knot weather fronts trapping him in the Biscay, a faulty autopilot, and a final loss of AIS and both autopilots just 48 hours pre-finish. 

For most, just one of those issues would have hampered their race attempt, but amazingly, Oliver Heer has displayed superior resilience, determination, and inner strength to meet his objective to finish the race and qualify his passage to count to the Vendee Globe 2024 solo round the world race. 

On the dock, Oliver Heer said “ This has been one of the hardest challenges of my life. In St Malo I was ready and so was my boat. But this was certainly not the race I was expecting. It has been difficult for me and the team and not your standard route to get to the finish line here in Guadeloupe. But I'm very pleased to have finished the race, which allows me to now count these miles towards the Vendee Globe qualification. I am very happy to finally be here and am grateful to my team, partners, family, and friends who have supported me thus far.”

Just one week ago, after 10 days at sea, the Jury granted Oliver 84 hours of redress after the Port Starboard collision with DMG Mori. This was the full amount of time spent in St Malo and Port la Foret repairing his boat. That time means that Oliver will move up the ranks to now place 32 and be permitted to use the race as his Vendee Globe Qualifying Passage. 

The consequences of the collision meant that Oliver had to sail his own race in completely different weather conditions from the rest of the IMOCA Fleet, challenging him with 50 knots constantly as he restarted his race and then forcing him to take a longer, more southerly path to Guadeloupe to avoid the low-pressure systems and light airs. 

The race has certainly been a challenge for the team and while still looking to secure a title partner and keep their 2024 Vendee Globe attempt alive. But to have overcome many obstacles, met our objectives, and gained a lot of experience and learning for the future is a big tick in the box for the team.

The skipper will now take a few well-deserved days off while his shore team prepares the boat for the sail home in just seven days' time.


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