Postcard conditions for Route du Rhum

Published on November 9th, 2022

Saint Malo, France (November 9, 2022) – Postponed for three days due to stormy conditions in the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay, today’s rescheduled start to the 12th Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe was blessed with near perfect weather conditions as the record sized fleet set sail on the 3542 nautical miles solo Transatlantic race from Saint Malo to Guadeloupe.

Held every four years, all entries were together on the 3.5 mile long start line (8 Ultim 32/23, 8 Ocean Fifty, 38 IMOCA, 55 Class40, and 29 Rhum Multi/Mono), powered upwind by a southwest/westerly wind of 11-15 knots with clear skies for the six classes.

The start was not without incident as  there were line jumpers, with video being reviewed to confirm the guilty boats. The standard penalty is four hours to be taken in the first 48 hours. More drama followed soon as 32 year old Brit Sam Goodchild, one of the favorites in the Ocean Fifty multihull class, was injured and had to be evacuated ashore to hospital in Saint Malo.

“Whilst trimming the sails of his Ocean Fifty Leyton during the start phase, Sam Goodchild suffered injuries to his arms and face,” said his team. “A technical problem caused the pedestal winch to backwind and he was hit hard by the handles. He was evacuated from the boat and taken to hospital by doctors. He was able to see his family. It is with deep sadness that he is forced to abandon the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe.”

The 17 miles upwind passage to Cape Frehel saw many of the pre-race favorites stretch away in the solid breeze.

Ultim 32/23 skipper Charles Caudrelier on the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild was first to break the CIC gate at the Cape to pass this traditional final milestone before the open Atlantic. Caudrelier broke the gate at 1521hrs local time, Armel Le Cléach on Banque Populaire XI some eight minutes later.

In the IMOCA flee, favorite Charlie Dalin was also first to pass Cape Fréhel, displaying the renowned upwind speed superiority of his fully optimized APIVIA. At three hours after the start gun, Dalin was pursued by Saint Malo’s Louis Burton, over 1.5 miles behind on the Manuard designed Bureau Vallée with Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) in third. The first new, 2022 launched boat was Jérémie Beyou’s Charal II in fourth, threatening Ruyant and going well.

At the Cape Fréhel buoy just around 1700hrs, there was a collision between Japanese skipper Kojiro Shiraishi and Swiss rookie Oliver Heer, with both IMOCAs suffering damage and this evening were heading back to Saint Malo. Heer’s boat has a damaged bow but both boats will be fully assessed when back in port.

Class 40 teams were still awaiting final confirmation as to which boats were over the start line and will therefore have to take the requisite four hour penalty. As for the defending champion Yoann Richomme, he was in the leading group but among those confirmed to start early.

In the Ocean Fifty fleet, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus on Solidaires en Peloton ARSEP made the best start but soon gave up the lead to Quentin Vlamynck (Arkema) which seemed quicker upwind. But as the lead group set into the bay at Saint Briuec to seek shelter from the current, there was less than a mile between the top five, suggesting the opening phase is being raced at Ocean Fifty grand prix pace rather than that of a solo Transatlantic.

Also returning to Saint-Malo is Rhum Multi skipper Oren Nataf after damage to his mainsail, who hopes to find a technical solution to set off again, and Rhum Mono skipper Jean-Sébastien Biard.

DetailsSkippersTracking

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

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