Winning the class in the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe will require a high level of skill and strategy, but doubtless it will also require an element of good luck. Getting off the start line in a fleet of 138 boats will need maximum observation and awareness of all other boats, then the passage across the Bay of Biscay can be brutal in early November and then the choice needs to be made to pass to the north of south of the Azores before hitting the trade winds for the relentless – hopefully – sprint to Guadeloupe.
Four years ago, the top three arrived with the space of one day: Armel Tripon (1st, currently skipper of Les P’tits Doudous), 2014 winner Erwan Le Roux (2nd, currently on Koesio) and Thibaut Vauchel -Camus (3rd, Solidaires en peloton – ARSEP). All the three skippers will on the starting line again and will do everything to repeat their podium successes. But competition looks fierce. The winner of the last Transat Jacques Vabre, Sébastien Rogue (Primonial) will also be racing across the Atlantic as will the two skippers who won the first two editions of the Pro Sailing Tour, Sam Goodchild (Leyton) and Quentin Vlamynck (Arkema).
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Gilles Lamiré (Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires) already has four Route du Rhum races under his belt whilst Éric Péron (Komilfo) has been discovering the circuit this year. Both will be serious contenders, “The level is constantly increasing and it is particularly even and open”, underlines Lamiré. “It is very difficult to say who will win. Favorites? Well in my book, all eight! And that adds a little more to the excitement.”
Sam Goodchild (Leyton): “Our preparation has gone very well but as usual like all the other sailors, we would always like to have more time. On the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, we want to win and the objective is to reach the other side by doing the best possible. We sail on boats where the danger is one of the highest in the fleet, where there are always a lot of things to look watch over and often fix. This all helps to smooth out everyone’s performance and therefore makes the race so open We have had the chance to sail a lot throughout the year and that helps to strengthen the bonds, the camaraderie between all of us skippers.”
Gilles Lamiré (Groupe GCA-1001 Sourires): “The Route du Rhum has been the rhythm of my life for years. This amazing career I have is in part due to this race. When you’re finished all you can think about is coming back and doing it again! We are lucky to be part of a booming class with fast and modern boats, talented skippers and races full of suspense. By becoming more professional, the level has become very homogeneous. Everyone can win and it is particularly interesting. There are very close ties between all of us, even though we are competitors in the race. They are a class of enthusiasts with a deep respect for each other.”
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