Leader capsizes in Route du Rhum

Published on November 23rd, 2022

(November 23, 2022; Day 15) – At 1920hrs today, the race management of the 12th edition of La Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe received a message from CROSS Antilles to tell them that Gilles Buekenhout (JESS) had triggered his distress beacon.

Buekenhout was the long-time leader of the Rhum Multi Class on the Martin Fischer-Benoit Cabaret designed 12m trimaran. 

The skipper contacted Race Direction some seven minutes later to say that he had capsized 225 miles NE of the Tête à l’Anglais, located at the northern tip of Guadeloupe. The Belgian skipper is on board and reported that he is not injured. 

After speaking with their skipper, the JESS technical told race management at 1950hrs that the 60 year old skipper is fine. His backup Iridium phone is working. Two cargo ships have been diverted by the CROSS Antilles Guyane, as well as competitors Loïc Escoffier (Lodigroup) and Roland Jourdain (We Explore) as requested by race management.


In the 44 year history of the Route du Rhum, there has never been so many solo skippers planning to start November 6 (postponed to Nov. 9) as in 2022. On this 12th edition, 138 solo racers will 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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