Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, departure on November 6 in Saint-Malo
The record for participating in a single-handed transatlantic race is thus broken. On Sunday, November 6, in front of Pointe du Grouin near Saint-Malo, 138 solo sailors, men and women, professionals and amateurs, will start: 138, that is 12 more than in the English Transat 1976 and 15 more than in 2018 For this 12th edition, a total of 149 requests ended up at the desk of Francis Le Goff, the new race director who replaces Jacques Caraës. About 11 skippers will remain on the quay, the vast majority of the participants in the Class40 and in Rhum Multi.
The pools are full
“We suspected we would have to move the walls to have more boats,” said Hervé Favre, OC Sport Pen Duick boss. We made a great effort by bringing 138 boats.” The organizers faced three major constraints. Two physical limitations: first, the size of the port of Saint-Malo. “By bringing the Ultimes inside, it costs us running meters, so we use all the available space in the pools. So it’s full.”
The second limitation concerns the locks: it is not possible to open the two gates and let the boats out at high tide. So there will be locks that depend on the tide. “We will have to start setting up the boats on Friday for a departure on Sunday.”
Finally, the last limitation is human since it concerns the size of the race management (5 people) who must always be able to steer during crisis situations. Beyond 138 boats it becomes difficult to manage.
The line-up promises to be sublime, grandiose with six Ultimes, 25 Imoca, eight Ocean Fifty, 55 Class40, 12 Multi Rum and 12 Mono Rum. With the 18 invitations, the ranks will grow, undoubtedly in Imoca and Rhum Multi. As for Mono Rums, we note the return of Catherine Chabaud, MEP, at the helm of the boat with which she became the first woman to complete the 1997 Vendée Globe, and of Jean-Pierre Dick.
The sailors of the last Vendée Globe will all be there (Editor’s Note: Bestaff awaits his invitation), some with new Imocas. The Ocean Fifty fleet has never been so dense and of such quality. In Class40, with Richomme, Macaire, Douguet, Lipinski, Carpentier, Tréhin, it promises to be a hellish fight.
Finally, Les Ultimes, rocked by the Gabart affair, whose trimaran SVR Lazartigue would fail to fulfill its purpose, we have six very high-flying skippers. Including Francis Joyon, title holder, who at the age of 66 will try to show that it is not necessary to have a flying trimaran to win. His multihull has already achieved three successes in the Rum.
The Ultime Class must wash their dirty linen first…as a family.
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