Record turnout for solo classic
Published on September 21st, 2022
The Route du Rhum is among the famous shorthanded races, a transatlantic solo event taking place every four years within the international calendar of offshore competition. The 3543nm race from France to Guadeloupe, when translated, is ‘Rum Route’ in French… go figure!
In the 44 year history of the Route du Rhum, there has never been so many solo skippers planning to start November 6 as in 2022. On this 12th edition, 138 solo racers with compete on the classic race which leaves Saint-Malo and heads across the Atlantic to Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe.
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 endeavors, whilst for the public, fans and enthusiasts sharing the adventure takes on a real dimension.
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.
“Four years ago, there was so much joy and happiness,” said Paul Meilhat, 2018 winner in IMOCA division. “It is four years’ worth of memories that go back: the family, the friends, loved ones…
“The intensity is very strong, it’s a sprint that lasts 10 days. Those who start badly do not have the chance to come back behind. It is necessary to find the right pace, the right level not to break the boat at the beginning but to maintain a very high pace.”
Six divisions will compete, beginning with the eight entries in the Ultims and eight in the Ocean Fifty division. Thirty-seven IMOCAs will be there, 55 Class40s as well as 16 in the Rhum Multi (64-feet and less) category and 14 in Rhum Mono (39+ feet) fleets.
Among the 138 competitors, 5% (7) are women across the IMOCA, Class40, and Rhum Mono. 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, while there are also 6% Guadeloupeans among the competitors.