Japanese Skipper Kitada Ready For Route Du Rhum

Japanese skipper Kitada ready for Route du Rhum

Japanese skipper Hiroshi Kitada will at 54-years-old embark on his first Route du Rhum next month with the modest goal of finishing the demanding race and inspiring his compatriots in the process.

Lorient, France, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 26th Oct, 2018 ) :Japanese skipper Hiroshi Kitada will at 54-years-old embark on his first Route du Rhum next month with the modest goal of finishing the demanding race and inspiring his compatriots in the process.

A former chemicals company boss with a spirit of adventure Kitada moved to the French port of Lorient with the intention of racing the Route du Rhum some years ago.

Since then he has been building up to the big race from Brittany to Guadeloupe starting November 4 aboard his 12 metre single hull Class40 yacht 'Kiho'.

He explains he first got into sailing at 40 as an ideal way of getting away from the stress of business. Then he decided to quit work altogether.

"For 10 years or so, until around the age of 39, all I ever did was work," said Kitada, who still owns the chemicals company, but who now spends his time with his yacht on France's Brittany coast.

Kitada looks a picture of happiness as he manoeuvres out of the port, the wind in his silvery hair and his hand on the wheel.

"It's a beautiful day for sailing," he says, going on to explain his grandfather was a fisherman and that he himself grew up by the sea.

"The first time I saw a yacht sail with just the power of the wind i was transfixed," he said.

On November 4 he will become the first Japanese to embark on the daunting Route du Rhum, a race run from Saint Malo to Pointe-�-Pitre, in Guadaloupe, the French governed archipelago in the Caribbean.

Back in 2016 he embarked from Plymouth for New York as the first ever Japanese skipper to attempt the Transat, a 3,000 mile (5,650km) solo trans-Atlantic race.

- Dangerous race - He made it home in last place but completed the remarkable feat in 23 days, or four days faster than legendary French skipper Eric Tabarly on his fabled Pen Duick II back in 1964.

"It was a dangerous race in tough conditions with the wind at 50 knotts," he says. "But I did it, I made it, crossing the finish line is a sensation of such force it is beyond explanation." Kitada now has seven races under his belt and has impressed esteemed French sailor Halvard Mabire, who will also be on the Route du Rhum race.

"He'll push through with anything he sets his mand to, he's not just another participant and he won't be the last one home this time," the 61-year-old Mabire told AFP.

Kitada laughts off the praise.

"I'm just an amateur, I see these champions as way ahead of me, there's a world of difference between us, I'm happy to be in contact with them but there is no competition between us," he said.

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