Canadian sailor Mike Birch, inaugural winner of Route du Rhum, dies at 90


Canadian skipper Mike Birch, who received the Route du Rhum solo trans-Atlantic race by 98 seconds, has died, the occasion’s organizers mentioned Wednesday. He was 90.

Birch, who was born in Vancouver, entered the legend of offshore crusing again in 1978 when he claimed the inaugural version of the Rhum by an astonishingly small margin after 23 days at sea. In his 12-meter Olympus Photo trimaran, Birch pipped Frenchman Michel Malinovsky’s larger, extra highly effective monohull to the road.

Race organizers mentioned he died “peacefully” throughout Tuesday night time at his dwelling in northwest France.

“Anyone who has ever raced or dreamed of multihull ocean racing remembers the picture of Mike Birch,” race organizers mentioned. “That of his Olympus Photo first, preventing in opposition to the commerce winds within the Canal des Saintes to grab victory from a monohull twice its measurement within the first version of the Route du Rhum-Guadeloupe.”

The subsequent version of the Route du Rhum will set sail on Nov. 6 from the French port metropolis of Saint-Malo to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

‘Character from a novel’

Before embracing boat racing, Birch had skilled a spread of jobs together with being a gold digger and a cowboy.

“A personality from a novel,” mentioned Frenchman Thomas Coville, who sailed with Birch within the Nineties. “I found very late that he had had this life earlier than and rode the nice open air. I learn his e book, one of the uncommon seafaring books that I learn to the top, as if I had learn a narrative by Jack London.”

Birch was 44 when he competed in his first transatlantic race, the OSTAR between Plymouth, England, and Newport, Rhode Island. He took half in seven editions of the Rhum.


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