Time for a summary: pictures and Ari’s posts during the fabulous and tough Route du Rhum 2018.

Visit also Tekniikan Maailma, who made a nice Finnish summary worth taking a look.

The start day Nov 4th weather was good which was a pleasure not only for the skippers but for the hundreds of thousands of followers at the sea and offshore, too. 

Ukkoverkot, HPP Attorneys and Containerships visited the Route du Rhum race village and waved fair winds to Ari. Photo: Jari Salo, Sailing Images

Photo: Jari Salo, Sailing Images

Took the start easy and safe. My goal is to finish the race. That makes me avoid risks and 123 boats in the same starting line is a risk itself.

For Ari the start of Rout du Rhum meant also another big thing. He just made sailing history becoming the 1st ever Nordic IMOCA skipper starting in Route du Rhum or any official IMOCA races. 

There were about to be two depressions but Ari faced four. The conditions were merciless for every boat and skipper.

Nov 5th: Last night one of the lazy jack ropes got caught by one of the mainsail’s batten cars. Finally, I had to go up the mast to sort it out. The only way out was to cut the rope and tie it again. I switched to solent from the fractional code5, and rigged the staysail in place. All ok now.


Nov 6th: What a night. +40 knots of wind and terrible waves. It seems a bit better for a moment > breakfast and rest. Good mood. Just gotta keep myself and the boat safe.

Nov 6th: All good again. Heading South. Sea temperature 19. Should be getting more West to avoid headwind near Southern Spain. Anyway, according to the forecast this should work.

Big and messy waves are a major risk for all boats in the race. A lot of damage has been done already. 

Nov 6th: Strong headwind and bumpy road continues for the 4th day in a row. Nevertheless #Ariel2 and her crew are doing fine. Spirits are high. I am still super happy to be in this race with my 😍 #imoca.

Nov 7th: All ok. Another night with 30-40 kts winds. For the moment 25 kts. Hard and unconfortable.

Nov 8th:  Worst night so far. Should have already been easier – not.

Nov 8th: Bad morning. Wind sensor gone from the the mast. Fixing ahead.

Two tired but strong voyageurs.

Strong headwind and bumpy road continues for the 4th day in a row. Nevertheless #Ariel2 and her crew are doing fine. Spirits are high. I am still super happy to be in this race with my 😍 #imoca.

Nov. 9th: Last night was all about engineering again. B&G autopilot works again now. And Raymarine is of of course ok. I just hope being able to turn south-west someday. Headwind and big waves continue.

2 reefs. Staysail to solent. Gained more speed. Headwind continues for couple of days more but the waves have calmed a bit. Route will pass Madeira late Sat evening. Talked w/ Joff (tech manager). All ok. Can feel the air warming up. Midlayer not needed anymore.

Also there have been issues w/ autopilot but Ari was able to fixed those.

Nov 10th: Good morning. Great night (no setbacks) and beautiful morning. 7th day and 1st time in sneakers. 1 reef and soon maybe able to hoist main. Routing says we’ll be passing Madeira late tonight. 140 nm there.

Nov 10th: Week 1 day 3 food package opening now on day 7. But have not been so hugry and sweet boxes almost untouhched, too.

Goal was to get to Guadeloupe in two weeks. Due to the three storms and lack of wind data the ETA become some days more.

Nov 11th: Good morning. Madeira and Funchal lights were nice to watch last night. Headwind 8th day in a row. What has changed is that the wind is not so stable anymore. That makes sailing (without wind data) more challenging. Today evening the wind should turn.

Nov 11th: 8th day began w/ beautiful sunrise. Stronger headwind than forecasted. Hope that the whining noise from the wind in the standing rigging would get quieter. Big thanks to you all for the great amount of supportive messages!


Nov 12th: Brushing teeth twice a day is an important routine also at sea.

Nov 12th: Tailwind. Finally after 8 days at sea. Code 5 up and moving nicely forward. Dried and cleaned the boat all over. Lovely pink surprise jumped to hug me. Great travelling company for the rest of the race. Have a nice week you all!

Nov 13th: Ariel2 and Alcatrazit-Faceocean (Rhum Mono) collided early morning today. Damage in the rear railing. Both boats continue in the race.

Was awake when heard radar alarming. Saw Destremau’s boat on AIS. Called him by VHF two times without getting an answer. His boat was sailing straight towards us with 12-17 knots of speed, depending on gusts. Ran out. Nothing could be done anymore.

Got a VHF-answer from Destremau later. He said he had been sleeping without noticing the collision. He thought his autopilot had just stopped working.

Pushpit, stanchion and right side hydrogenerator damaged. Possible repairs done. Am continuing the race.

Nov 14th: Still feeling blue. But sailing forward. It assume it’ll take at least 9 days to Guadeloupe. All ok. Morning coffee out on the sundeck.

Nov 14th: Thank you all for your support. Began some engineering again. Created one working hydro generator from 2 not working ones. Next I‘ll fix some solar panels.

Nov 15th: Peaceful night and got some rest. 20kts gusts come and go. Without wind data I have to take it easy in order to sail safe.
Porrige, tea and crisp bread for breakfast.
Flying fish have arrived. Brings lot of cleaning every morning and during the day time, too. Not so happy landing for this one.

Nov 15th: Solarpanel electricity issues fixed as well as possible.
Sikaflex work not so pretty but protects the damaged hull from hydration.

Nov 16th: Most beautiful sunrise so far. 5 ✈️🐟 found and deck cleaned. Routing and media jobs after breakfast. Jib ➡️ West ahead. Good mood.

While eight IMOCAs have already crossed the finish line, seven still continue racing towards Guadeloupe. Ariel2 had around 700 miles to go. Despite all the setbacks Ari was in a good positive mood.

Nov 17th: Next 3-4 days will be this direction. Good, since can use hydrogenerator and product electricity well. Solbian – Energie alternative Srl solarpanels were also producing nice amount of 10 ampers yesterday. I’d just wish a bit more speed. Now 10kts but 15 kts would be 👍.

No wind data and broken main sail batten make sailing slower but happily the energy back up systems now work fine after repairing.

The vertical wand at the top of the mast has broken and the back up forward facing wand has also been damaged. This means Ari can only use the autopilot in compass mode which has meant he has had to make sure he doesnt have to much sail up as the boat can not follow wind shifts in Compass mode. Also batten 6 has broken 100cm from the leech of the mainsail. This is the bottom batten and is roughly in the same area as reef 2. The lack of a working batten means the mainsail is lacking strength and can put extra pressue on the batten car which slides up and down the mast.

We have a spare batten onboard to replace this but it is a major job to try to replace on your own. Also we have a spare wand onboard but again it means a mast climb to the very top (30meters) which is now safe due the sea state. The wands got broken and damaged only a few days into the race in one of the storms so Compass mode has been used for most of this race for Ari, says Mikey Ferguson.

The goal of finishing the race in two weeks had already expired. The current goal was to finish the race. Ari was sailing in the 11th place of twenty IMOCA’s started.

Nov 18th: Light wind but the directions varied quite much. One amazing sunrise more. But it’s really hot. Ariel2 has become a #sauna. Normal morning routines. 10 ✈️🐟.Music turned on. Good mood. In my wish list there is just some more wind.

Nov 19th: Stonger winds last night. Final thousand miles to Guadeloupe. Better speed offers some relief from the heat. Enjoying the race. Super week to you all, too!
Nov 20th: Perfect sunset and almost full moon. Nights are gonna be light for the rest of the race.
Nov 21st: Awsome night. Full moon, no clouds, almost as light as daytime. Fantastic sailing. Just wish enough winds for today, too – the slow speed is so frustrating. For the 10th day Ariel has 2 reefs and code5 (Read about the reasons here https://www.arihuusela.com/2018/11/20/700-miles-to-go/ )
But now some sun lotion and out!
Nov 22nd: No gusts at night. Full moon. Gybed and heading to the direction Guadeloupe. Decided to shake the reefs out. Gusts so Code 5 up still. Morning playlist is #buenavistasocialclub and #lesvikingsdelaguadeloupeGetting to the right mood!
©Jari Selin, Sailing Images
Nov 23rd: Maata näkyvissä😃👍 Land ahoy!
©Jari Selin, Sailing Images
ARI HUUSELA became the 1st ever Nordic skipper to race an official IMOCA race.
In Route du Rhum 2018 he became 11th IMOCA over the line in 19 days 13 hours and 31 minutes.
©Jari Selin, Sailing Images
©Jari Selin, Sailing Images
Long video summary is already available in You tube. Click here to watch it.




Featured photo: Jari Selin