Wednesday, October 27, 2010

La route du Rhum - 2006 - Victory for Artforms,  by Caroline Kurrus

Photos by Marie PREAUD

Stone first in class and sets record in historic Route du Rhum - by Caroline Kurrus 

November 16, 2006. Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe. American sailor Kip Stone crossed the Route du Rhum finish line off Point à Pitre, Guadeloupe, to win the Class 2 monohull division at 10:38 GMT today (5:38 EDT). The 3,500 mile solo transatlantic race started October 29 in St. Malo, France. Stone also set a new class record of 17 days, 22 hours, and 36 minutes, beating Australian Nick Moloney’s 2002 record by approximately 18 hours. 

Stone, of Freeport, Maine, is the first American to win a class in the celebrated Route du Rhum, which has been held every four years since 1978. Stone joins Americans Phil Weld, Walter Green, and Steve Fossett in completing the race. 

“This is a very demanding race from all perspectives," said Stone upon arrival in Point à Pitre. "It’s a fabulous race and I’m really very happy. We ran into all kinds of conditions - wind from zero to 40 knots; a very hot sun, lots of rain, winds from every direction. I don't think I saw the sun at all the first week out.” 

Stone had his share of mishaps along the 3,500 mile route. A sudden front moved through on day 10 and shredded one of his headsails. To secure the flapping sail, he used a knot known as the Prusik to ascend the rig in 20 knots of wind. On another day, he was smacked in the back of the head by a flying fish. 

Over 70 sailors in eight classes competed in this year’s event. Servane Escoffier, the 25-year-old French sailor, came close to overtaking Stone in the second half of the race. “It took me a while to maneuver so that I was able to cover her. It was a tight race," said Stone. 

Stone's win in the Route du Rhum adds to an impressive solo sailing resume. He won the Open 50 class in the 2004 Transat from Plymouth, England to Boston, Mass, and set a new course record. Stone and designer Merfyn Owen partnered in 2005 to win the Bermuda 1-2 and placed second in the double-handed France to Brazil race, the Transat Jacques Vabre. 

Artforms, a fifty-foot carbon-fiber ocean racing vessel, known as an Open 50, was designed by Owen Clarke Design, built by McConaghy Boats, and launched in Sydney, Australia in 2003. Stone sailed Artforms halfway around the world to Plymouth, England, to compete in his first solo transatlantic, the 2004 Transat. 

Stone is the 45-year-old owner of Artforms, a screen printing company in Westbrook, Maine, and the Cool as a Moose retail stores in Freeport and Portland, Maine. He graduated from Middlebury College in 1987.

For the Route du Rhum, Stone teamed up with L'Ecole Française du Maine, a French immersion school in Freeport, Maine. Third graders at the school are learning math, science, geography, and more as they follow Kip and Artforms. 


For more info on Kip Stone and "Cool as a Moose" products visit