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Record fleet for elite solo test

Published on September 27th, 2018

Held every four years, the 11th edition of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe solo transatlantic race has attracted a record number of single-handed sailors to be on the start-line in the Bay of St Malo (France) on November 4 for the 3,542-nautical mile voyage to Point-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe.

The fleet of 124 boats in six classes will be made up of both professional and amateur sailors all looking for victory in the “queen of transatlantic solo races”, which is both a technological and sporting challenge, and for some an extraordinary experience or fulfillment of the dream of a lifetime.

This time the fleet is more varied than usual with a large representation of amateurs. For the first time in the history of the race, the amateur “Rhum” class is divided into two with a monohull division and a multihull division.

With 53 boats registered, the Class40 fleet also adds its share of amateurs setting out on an extraordinary adventure. Together they make up one third of the total field, and these architects, business leaders, physiotherapists, tobacco experts or firefighters will write a new page of Rhum history as they make their way westwards across the Atlantic.

There is a large contingent of French Breton sailors (47%), but 20% of the fleet is from outside France with British entrants the most numerous with six sailors including two women.

There are also sailors from Japan and Finland; there are two from Switzerland, three Germans, three Americans, three Belgians and one from Sweden. It’s a cosmopolitan fleet that underlines that the magic of the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe extends well beyond the borders of France.

Getting 124 boats safely away from the same start-line on November 4 is not going to be easy, so the race organizers have devised a line that will stretch for two-and-a-half miles and will be divided into four parts. The Ultimes – the biggest and fastest boats – will have one section to themselves, then it will be the sector for Multi50s and Rhum Multis, then a section for IMOCAs and finally a segment for Class40s and Rhum Monohulls.

With 50,000m2 dedicated to the event at the race village at the foot of the walls of the “Corsair city”, St Malo is ready to celebrate this anniversary edition of the race first staged in 1978. The Duguay-Trouin (IMOCA) and Vauban (Class40, Multi 50, Multi Rhum, Mono Rhum, Ultime Use it Again) harbours will welcome this extraordinary fleet, while the large trimarans in the Ultime category will gather at the Maritime Station.

From October 24 to November 4, the public is expected in large numbers – there were 2.2 million visitors in 2014 – ready to enjoy this great festival of offshore racing.

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Source: Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe

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