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After a tough start for Yoann, crossing the start line early and having to take a four-hour penalty, he was able to undertake the momentous task of making his way back through the fleet. Yoann quickly put his mind to the challenge and soon was nearing the front of the fleet as they made their way across the North Atlantic. As the Class40s closed in on Guadeloupe, Yoann solidified his position and claimed first place in the Class40 Division of the Route du Rhum 2022.

Along with taking back-to-back wins in the Class40 division, Yoann has also set a new race record taking 14 days 3 hours 8 minutes 40 seconds to finish the 3,542 nautical mile race. This new race record cuts 2 days and 19 hours off the previous race record which Yoann set in 2018 when he claimed his first victory. The back-to-back victory is a feat that has never been done in the Class40 division of the Route du Rhum.



Created in 1978 by Michel Etevenon, La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe is regarded as the queen of solo transatlantic races. For 44 years, competitors have raced from Saint-Malo in Brittany to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe. This competition musters the biggest ocean racing fleet to converge on the same starting line. This transatlantic course, at a total distance of 3,542 nautical miles, has become legendary with the range of different classes and the mix of competitors it draws. Some of the best solo racers in the world of sailing, professionals and amateurs, meet every 4 years to taste "the magic of the Rhum".

On November 6 2022, this legendary race will set off once again, taking on the Atlantic whilst appealing to a broad mass of public fans and followers. They are offered the chance to dream, to escape, and share the wonder with the solo racers who are all ready to go to sea and challenge the autumn Atlantic.

For this edition of the Route du Rhum, Zhik is proud to partner with three amazing athletes that are set to excel in the IMOCA and Class40 divisions of the 138-strong fleet. First up is Yoann Richomme from France, winner of the Class40 division from the 2018 Route du Rhum, who will be back to try and claim back-to-back wins. Second is Alberto Bona, a well-known Italian ocean racer who is having his first attempt in the Class40 division. Lastly is young gun James Harayda from Great Britain who has recently joined the IMOCA class and has his sights firmly set on making his mark in the class and pushing toward the 2024 Vendee Globe.


With Zhik constantly looking to push the boundaries and stay at the top level in sailing and water sports equipment, the gear that we produce needs to be tested and proven to be functional, durable and exceptional in extreme sailing situations. Partnering with world-class sailors like Yoann, James and Alberto sets the perfect testing platform. 

Throughout the design, testing and development process Zhik has always been committed to working with athletes from all aspects of the water sports world. The athletes' feedback and insights are a foundational part of product development with new designs being reviewed and evaluated as they train and race in real-life situations.

Throughout the 3,542 nautical mile race, the competitors are set to encounter many different weather and water conditions. In the early parts of the race as they leave France and head out into the North Atlantic the competitors will face a very unpredictable racecourse with strong winds and large waves. This poses many threats for them, firstly making sure that they are able to protect their boat from damage while trying to sail as fast as possible but also protecting themselves from the wind and waves which will be constantly sweeping across the deck of the boat. As they move through the Atlantic and make their way across to Guadeloupe, conditions will settle down before joining up with trade winds that will propel them the last stretch to the finish line at Pointe-à-Pitre.

With the sailors constantly being exposed to the elements, both day and night, rough and calm, it is imperative that they choose gear that is up to the challenge. For these sailors, they will be out on the open ocean for around 2 weeks with no time to stop or relax. Read below for the gear that these three athletes will be taking with them as they embark on the magical Route du Rhum.


   Yoann Richomme

Aged 38, Yoann Richomme was born in Fréjus and has travelled the world to tackle many sailing endeavours. He studied naval architecture in Southampton, England. He currently lives in Larmor Plage and has two young daughters. Flying the colours of Paprec and Arkéa, in 2022 he built a Class40 to defend his momentous  Route du Rhum title from 2018 in the highly competitive class. At the same time he is also building an IMOCA to compete in the next Vendée Globe. 

    James Harayda

James Harayda is the skipper of Gentoo Sailing Team. The 24 year old British sailor has recently come off the back of a campaign in the Mixed Doublehanded Offshore class where he competed alongside fellow Brit, Dee Caffari. James has competed in the top level of offshore racing, has represented Great Britain in the Mixed Doublehanded Offshore European Championships and has won two National Championships in this class. 2022 will be James' first year in the IMOCA Class.

   Alberto Bona

Alberto has a degree in philosophy and the sea in his DNA. At 19, he built a dinghy and crossed the Tyrrhenian Sea. Ocean racing is his goal: at 23, he discovered the Mini 6.50 and in 2013, he finished 5th in his first Mini Transat. In 2017 he participated in the Transat Jacques Vabre, but had to retire in 6th place. In 2019 he decided to enter the "school of the greats": La Solitaire du Figaro. The only Italian to enter, he finished 7th in the novice class, and the following year he finished 16th overall.

What the athletes are wearing 

For a journey such as the 3,542 nautical mile Route du Rhum, athletes will be taking a range of gear that suits the various conditions and applications they will face throughout the many days on the ocean. Many factors including air and water temperature, wind speed, boat speed, wave state and more all contribute to the sailors' choice of gear to take onboard and use. The sailors will be utilising Zhik gear for their base layer clothing, UV protection, mid layer warmth and outer layer protection.

Base layer items will include the Superthermal Hydrobase which will provide them with leading moisture wicking technology to quickly pull sweat away from their skin to keep them dry and warm. On top of this, they will be utilising the UPF 50+ protection of the UVActive tops to block the sun’s harmful rays whilst being lightweight and flexible to stay comfortable throughout the day.

Mid layer warmth and outer layer protection will be a major factor for the sailors as they battle long days and nights out in the open ocean. To maximise heat generation and trap dry, insulating air around their bodies the sailors will be wearing the versatile Full Zip Fleece constructed from 159gsm Polartec® 100% recycled microfleece, or the Cell Insulated Jacket with Repreve® recycled synthetic insulation which reduces water retention and significantly reduces dry time. The outer protective layer is the main barrier between the sailors and the harsh condition so will be looking for a highly water repellent, durable, yet breathable, to keep them functioning at their best. The OFS800 and OFS900 will be the gear of choice as they have been developed, tested and proven to perform by the world’s leading sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race and more.

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