In the 44 year history of the Route du Rhum there has never been so many solo skippers set off as there will be at the start of this year’s edition.
On this 12th Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe 138 solo racers will compete on the classic race which leaves Sain Malo and heads across the Atlantic to Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe. And on Wednesday in Paris’ Mogador Theatre, the assembled skippers were presented at the official Press Conference alongside the Telegramme Group who are the owners of the event, the exclusive major partner which is the Guadeloupe region and main partners the city of Saint-Malo, Brittany Region and CIC, the official partners as well as the organizers and the media. And so effectively the countdown is now running towards the 1302hrs start gun on November 6 off Saint Malo.
The press conference is a great time for the record number of skippers to catch up, to share dreams and smiles, to compare plans and ideas, all within the famous Mogador theatre. There are the well known superstars of the sport and the intrepid first timers, all are introduced one by one before lining up in the six different divisions for their group photos at 46 days before the start.
Start day and indeed the start line itself is always filled with emotions. For the sailors it is time to buckle down to their solo endeavours, whilst for the public, fans and enthusiasts sharing the adventure takes on a real dimension. From the big teams and their carefully prepared machines and skippers the challenge is every bit as important as for the first timer looking to realise a long held dream. The strength and uniqueness of the legendary Route du Rhum is that it brings together solo racers of all different profiles and backgrounds as they seek to take on the Atlantic alone in the depths of Autumn. Alongside the top names and their perfectly prepared big race boats there are many amateurs set off to pursue the dream of a lifetime.
An increasingly international entry
On the starting line, there will be eight entries in the Ultims and eight in the Ocean Fifty division. 37 IMOCAs will be there, 55 Class40s as well as 16 in the Rhum Multi category and 14 in Rhum Mono fleets. Among the 138 competitors, 5% (7) are women across the IMOCA, Class40 and Rhum Mono. The start line is also a good representation of the internationalization of ocean racing. Fourteen nationalities will be represented, including Japanese and Chinese skippers. In total, 20% of the participants are from outside France. Half of the French skippers are either residents or natives of Brittany where the race starts from. And there are also 6% Guadeloupeans among the competitors.
New features to enjoy at the start in Saint-Malo at the race village which opens on October 25
Just as it does every four years, Saint-Malo is preparing to live to the rhythm of this great event over 13 days in a huge race village which opens on October 25th. Everything is on hand to make the experience as unforgettable as possible for the hundreds of thousands of spectators expected. The race village is free and open to all and this time is open for 13 instead of 12 days and with 15% more ground area at 70,000m2. The entire fleet will be grouped along the iconic docks beside the Intra-Muros and the Palais du Grand Large. For the first time, the Ultims will be moored actually in the basins in the heart of the city in the Vauban and Duguay-Trouin basins.
Among the innovations of this year, the competitors will parade near the coast and in the locks when entering the basins in order to show their boats to visitors who can see the Ultims and the Ocean Fifty on Tuesday 25 October, the IMOCAs on Wednesday 26, the Class40s on Friday 28 and the Rhum Multi and Mono on Saturday 29.
At the finish in Guadeloupe as well, the festivities are set to be enormous and centred around the Memorial ACTe village, a place of culture and memory, where sailors, the media and the general public will come together from 11 November to 4 December, as well as in the villages of Marina du Bas-du-Fort from November 11 to 27 and in Basse-Terre from November 10 to 13.
Major partners fully on board
The 138 sailors taking part in this 12th Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe can count on the support a very large and passionate group of partners. Guadeloupe Region are the exclusive major partner and they will be present in Saint-Malo, inviting visitors to travel, as well as providing a prefect welcome to the racers on arrival. The city of Saint-Malo and its teams will welcome the skippers, their teams, the media and the general public for 13 days of celebration. The owners of the start port the Brittany Region and the Bretons will be the most fervent supporters of this record and historic fleet of women and men who will set sail, driven by the dynamism of an entire territory. Finally, for its first “participation” in La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe are CIC, the regional bank which serves the local economy. CIC share common foundations of shared core values, entrepreneurial spirit, self-transcendence and societal commitment.
La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe promises to be the unmissable offshore sailing sports event of the year. Join the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe from October 25 in Saint-Malo and from November 11 in Guadeloupe.
Credit: Source link