French based British skipper Sam Goodchild lines up for his second Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe as one of the widely tipped favourites to win the Ocean Fifty multihull class.
Others in the class may have newer more modern boats but Goodchild is happy to be equipped with a solid, fully proven all-round, optimised boat.
He has the hard ocean miles under his belt and is backed by a supportive, well-resourced international partner. This is very much Goodchild’s time to shine.
“Yes, I’ve got a chance to win.” He smiles aboard Leyton at the Saint Malo race dock among the eight boat Ocean Fifty fleet, “ But I’m not the only one. The aim is just to do my best. I dropped out four years ago and I don’t want to end up like that again, but I do want to make the most of my chance now.”
Third on last year’s Transat Jacques Vabre, racing two handed with the Leyton team’s Aymeric Chapellier, the duo were on the back foot early in the race on a rich get richer course to Martinique, but came back from fifth at Cape Finisterre course to be second by the Brazilian coast.
But the Route du Rhum is a very different animal, racing solo on the fast, light Ocean Fifty requires maximum attention and focus as the multihulls can be prone to capsizing.
“You still have to consider that sailing across the Atlantic is a challenge in itself. And then when you’re in this solo racing environment, you need to do things very well all the time. There is no room for mistakes.”
“The Route du Rhum happens every four years and so it’s a big, big event. I want to be the one that comes out on top in the end.”
“And as a team that’s what we’ve been putting our time and energy into. And believe me doing it on a multihull puts it into a whole different dimension from doing it on a Figaro or Class40.” Goodchild attests.
While the quietly spoken, hugely experienced 32 year old Brit whose formative years were spent on boats in the Caribbean, on the island of Grenada and in the south west of England, is playing down the dockside and media-room chat in Saint Malo during the final week before this Sunday’s start . . . he firmly believes he has every chance of his first major ocean racing victory.