Storm postpones Route du Rhum
Published on November 5th, 2022
Saint Malo, France (November 5, 2022) – The start of the 3542 nm Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe solo race across the Atlantic from Saint Malo to Guadeloupe, which was due to be tomorrow at 1302hrs local time has been postponed, because of the forecast for storms which would have hit the 138-boat fleet during the first hours of the course and particularly in the English Channel.
The decision was announced today at 10:30 am during the skippers’ weather briefing because of the forecast weather situation in the Channel during the first 36 hours of the race. This decision is made in particular because of the the passage of a very violent depression, accompanied by a very big sea blocking the course during the first night and leaving no escape for the sailors to get out of the English Channel.
After consultation with Météo Consult forecasters, OC Sport Pen Duick, the organizer of La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe, and Race Director Francis Le Goff, will wait to find a next more favorable window for a new start on November 8 or 9.
With 20 to 25 knots of westerly wind anticipated tomorrow, the latest 48-hour accurate weather reports had a very active cold front to follow with average winds of around 40 knots and gusts above 50 knots to be accompanied by a very big swell created by tropical storm Martin, creating a seven metres swell in the Channel on November 7.
Many skippers and their routers had expressed concern over the past 24 hours which they considered very serious. The decision takes account of all the factors but most importantly the safety of the 138 sailors. The decision aims to maximize the safety of the fleet and the best possible conditions for the sporting success of the event, for sailors and the general public.
France’s Charlie Dalin, a favorite in the 38-boat IMOCA fleet, was surprised by the news. “I was fully expecting to go, I was ready to go and follow the organization’s will. But I respect the decision. I will be ready to go whenever the start is. I am neither happy nor unhappy about it, I just get on and deal with it.”
GBR Medallia’s skipper Pip Hare added, “Nobody really wanted to go into that. The wave height was nasty. I just was not expecting this decision. I am surprised and processing it. I thought they would say ‘it is your decision to race’ and then give people the option what to do. So, I am surprised. And it makes it very difficult for the teams like ours now.”
In the 44 year history of the Route du Rhum, there has never been so many solo skippers planning to start November 6 (now delayed) as in 2022. On this 12th edition, 138 solo racers with compete on the classic race which leaves Saint-Malo, France and heads across the Atlantic to Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe.
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 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.
Source: OC Sport Pen Duick