End of the suspense on the pontoons of the corsair city. The start of the 12th edition of the Route du Rhum, initially scheduled for this Sunday and postponed due to the weather, will be given on Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. in Saint-Malo, in milder conditions. “The start will be given next Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. on the planned line at the Pointe du Grouin, the weather is more favourable. It remains committed, but it is completely acceptable”, explained Francis Le Goff, race director, at a press conference.
The 138 skippers entered were initially to set off this Sunday, but the weather conditions, gusts of wind at 100 km / h, seas engaged with hollows of 6 to 7 meters, announced off Brittany had led to a report, a first in racing history. “In the new niche, the weather conditions are going to be more manageable,” detailed Francis Le Goff. “The start of the race will be less tricky than if the start had been given on Sunday. Coming out of the Channel, on the other hand, there is still around 4 meters of hollow. It remains good offshore conditions”.
“I’m happy not to leave on Sunday, we would have had very difficult conditions. This new date is much better and I’m going to take the opportunity to cut and see my family until then,” reacted the British sailor. Samantha Davies (Heart Initiatives). “That doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy time. At the start, we have a headwind, we’re going to have to tack with 138 boats in the water. Off Brittany there’s always a second in front, less strong of course, but it will still shake”, tempered the Bordeaux Arnaud Boissières (Mie Câline).
On the pontoons, many boats were empty on Sunday, the sailors interviewed by AFP wanted to take advantage of the day to rest before “getting back into the weather reports” next Monday. “We will have to prepare another start and especially another race. We will leave with other weather conditions, another tidal coefficient”, explained Paul Meilhat (Biotherm) winner of the event in 2018 in the Imoca category.
Closing of the village at 5 p.m. this Sunday
The 38 Imoca and the 8 Ocean Fifty entered will leave the basins of Saint-Malo on Tuesday afternoon while the Class40s and the Rhum Mono and Rhum Multi categories will enter the lock on Wednesday morning. Seven Ultim, giant trimarans stars of the race, left Friday and remain moored to buoys near Dinard until the start.
The village of the event, which has welcomed hundreds of thousands of people since its opening on October 25, last at 5 p.m. this evening, specified Joseph Bizard, general manager of OC Sport, in charge of the organization . “It is necessary so that life can resume its course in Saint-Malo. We will leave a pontoon device so that the boats can be at the dock and the sailors can do so,” he explained.
The Route du Rhum, a famous solo transatlantic race, has departed every four years since 1978 from Saint-Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe. The fastest sailboats aim to cross the Atlantic in about a week.