Founded by Michel Etevenon forty years ago, the quadrennial Route du Rhum has grown into one of the most important single-handed races today. A historically French affair, the race now celebrates its 40th anniversary having attracted a record number of entrants from all across the world.
The race began from the picturesque French city of Saint-Malo and will finish 3,542 miles southwest at Pointe-à-Pitre, the capital of the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.
This year is proving especially challenging for the diverse group of monohulls, catamarans and trimarans due to the powerful post-tropical cyclone stirring up the Atlantic.
Among the 123 skippers taking part in the race are Sam Davies and Romain Attanasio who, while competing in different classes with Initiatives Cœur and Pure - Famille Mary respectively, are wife and husband back on land. Phil Sharp, winner of the first Class 40 category back in 2006 is chasing a second win while remaining carbon neutral, thanks to advanced tech onboard Imerys Clean Energy.
The race’s new ULTIME class featured six of the most advanced multihulls ever to sail - or rather, fly across the ocean. Unfortunately, mechanical issues forced Sebastien Josse and the Maxi Edmond de Rothschild as well as Thomas Coville and the Sodebo Ultim’ to retire early in the race. It’s now up to the rest of the ULTIME fleet to try and beat the record of 7d, 15 hr and 8m set in 2014 by Loick Peyron and the Banque Populaire VII.
Partnering with the race is Ocean as Common, an initiative to preserve the Ocean’s natural environment through responsible management and collective responsibility.
We wish everyone taking part in the Route Du Rhum a safe journey - YB Tracking is with them every step of the way!
All pictures (c) Alexis Courcoux