With a few exceptions, all the of the solo skippers who are set to take part in the 12th edition of La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe will have arrived safely in Saint-Malo by the end this Wednesday evening. There are already 37 out of the 38 IMOCAs already and were due to take part in a parade of sail before entering the locks and taking their place in the Duguay-Trouin basin.
The whole community in Saint Malo was set to share a moving minute’s silence as a tribute to Mike Birch, the first winner of the event in 1978, who passed away last night. That was to followed by the official inauguration of the race village.
Today largely belongs to the IMOCA class which finally took their place at the docks in Saint Malo complementing the Class40, Ocean Fifty, Ultim 32/23, Rhum Mono and Rhum Multi entrants which are already lined up to wait for the start on Sunday 6th November.
A total of 38 IMOCAs have entered this 12th edition of La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, a record. But “only” 37 will a priori be present this evening in Saint-Malo. The reason ? One of the skippers, Nicolas Rouger (Demain c’est loin), has had to sort out a technical problem. A change of keel was only completed this Wednesday morning in Port-la-Forêt. He should arrive around 1700hrs Thursday.
The race village of La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe is officially inaugurated
The village opened its doors to the general public on Tuesday, October 25 at 2:00 p.m., but the official inauguration of the 70,000 m2 of spaces to visit along the Vauban and Duguay-Trouin basins took place tonight. Gilles Lurton, Mayor of Saint-Malo, Edouard Coudurier, President of Le Télégramme Group, Jean-Claude Nelson, Vice-President of the Guadeloupe Region, Carole Le Bechec, Regional Councilor representing the President of the Brittany Region and Daniel Baal, Managing Director of the CIC gathered on the Main Stage to complete the ceremony.
Amateurs, the DNA of La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe
Among the six racing classes, if there is one class – that is to say a popular division governed by a measurement rule with circuit and class races each year – that is more “pro-am” at heart, that is Class40. Making ocean racing accessible to as many people as possible – starting with La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, is part of the DNA of the Class40, which was built and launched to foster racing for professionals and amateurs.
5 out of the 138 boats that will be lining up on 6th November are Class40 monohulls. Their presence cannot go unnoticed in the dock. Since their first appearance in 2006, when 25 of these 40-foot boats took part, they have always been the largest category in the fleet.
Competition is fierce between the top names in this class with around ten seen as serious contenders for victory. Halvard Mabire, the class president, explains why these boats attract so many enthusiasts. “Class40 means affordable racing. It guarantees a high standard of racing and some interesting technologies, but costs a tenth of the price of an IMOCA, yet certainly is not ten times slower… In terms of the speed to price ratio, they are among the best boats in the market.”
Marc Lepesqueux, who was there back in 2006 clearly identifies the vitality of the class. “I like it when there are a lot of boats at the start. This year, it’s a bit like when I raced on a Figaro and there were up to 55 in the Solitaire.” The sailor from the tip of the Cherbourg Peninsula believes the strength of these boats lies in the fact that they are halfway between being a prototype and a one design boat. This leads to “high performance boats that you can push without any worries.” The 54-year old aims to “finish in the top ten. That would be good. If I was in the top 5, it would be brilliant.”
Ian Lipinski is one of the favourites and is pleased to see that the class is thriving. ”In the class, we have fun, because the standard is so high. These are fairly big boats, but not too big and the budgets are reasonable, meaning that it is easier to find partners. We also spend more time on the water than in the yard.”
Franco British Luke Berry is back for the second time, this time aboard a brand new boat. He enjoys the friendly international atmosphere of the class, with eleven skippers originating from outside of France. The class attracts young sailors like Martin Louchard, aged just twenty. Halvard Mabire concludes, “This is a very open class which is of great importance in the world of ocean racing. It is the base of the pyramid, which attracts some skippers before they move on to other projects. However, some enjoy it so much that they stay with or return to these boats.” Talking of the return of Yoann Richomme, Halvard Mabire added that the winner of the last edition in Class40 “knows that lining up again on a Class40 means he can race at the highest level and will not be wasting his time. He is one of the serious contenders, but there are also many outsiders, so it is tough to place a wager on the outcome.”
The Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe
Created in 1978 by Michel Etevenon, La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe is regarded as the queen of solo transatlantic races. For 44 years, the race has joined Saint-Malo in Brittany to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe. It musters the biggest fleet ocean racing fleet of all levels on the same starting line. This transatlantic course at a tota distance of 3542 miles has become legendary as its unique magic is all about the range of different classes and the mix of competitors. 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 at the solo racers who are all ready to go to sea and challenge the Autumn Atlantic.
OC Sport Pen Duick
OC Sport Pen Duick is the French subsidiary of the OC Sport group which primarily runs offshore racing events. Created to manage the sports campaigns of Eric Tabarly, on the one hand, and Dame Ellen MacArthur on the other, both emblematic figures of international sport, the group faithfully perpetuates the spirit and the values which were dear to these pioneers: living and sharing unique experiences with the public, athletes and partners.
Historically involved in offshore racing, the group has developed unique expertise in professional sailing based on expertise in sailing team management and the organization of the most prestigious races (Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, The Transat CIC, La Solitaire du Figaro, the Transat Paprec, ARKEA ULTIM CHALLENGE – Brest…).
OC Sport is a Telegram Group company.