The Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe will start on Sunday 6 November from Saint Malo.
For 2022 a record 138 boats spread across six classes, Ultim 32/23, IMOCA, Ocean Fifty, Class40, Rhum Multi and Rhum Mono will start at 13:02 hrs local time on a course of 3,542 miles (6,500 km) to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe.
British interest will focus on just four entries, headed by French based British 32 year old skipper Sam Goodchild.
Goodchild lines up for his second Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe as one of the widely tipped favourites to win the Ocean Fifty multihull class.
“Of course I have the potential to win, I did everything to be here in the best possible condition, but I’m not the only one.” He says
“Armel (Tripon) won four years ago, Erwan (Le Roux) won in 2014 and he has a new boat that goes fast, Thibaut (Vauchel Camus) knows his boat by heart and he is not afraid,.”
“Sébastien (Rogues) won the Transat Jacques Vabre 2021 and it was he who set the pace for the Dhream cup, Eric (Péron) has a great boat of breeze and Quentin (Vlamynck) is the winner of the Pro Sailing Tour this ye . . . ” is Goodchild’s assessment.
The other three British entries are in the 38 strong IMOCA 60 fleet . . . Samantha Davis – Initiatives-Coeur, Pip Hare – Medallia and James Harayda – Gentoo Sailing team.
For Sam Davies, this will be her second Route du Rhum and she is sailing the recently launched – 30 July – Initiatives-Coeur.
It takes time to fine tune these highly technical boats, so what are her ambitions?
“I’m really pleased with how Initiatives-Coeur performs. Sometimes, I’m rather surprised by her average speeds and how easy it is to get her sailing fast.”
“The timing has been a bit tight to fine tune the boat and get all the systems up and running” (Sam will be sailing without ballast tanks).
“I can’t wait to get out there on my boat. I’ll be learning a lot. It’s hard to give myself a clear goal, as I haven’t really raced sailed a lot against the other boats.”
Approaching her first Route du Rhum Pip Hare is taking a necessarily cautious approach, especially for the first 24-36 hours.
She has more than enough deep ocean racing miles, even with her new foiling Medallia, to race the course at close 100 per cent.
But most of all she is under huge pressure just to finish the race into Guadeloupe to accumulate miles to secure qualification for the next Vendée Globe which is currently oversubscribed.
“This is a massive fleet. I am really, really nervous about the start.” Hare contends, “Can you imagine having a collision at the start and in the first 24 hours?”
She continues, “I think I will approach this all with a sailplan I can handle quickly and easily with the top (roof) open, fully kitted up, alarms on and the minimum possible sleep. I need to be super vigilant and if the situation looks ‘iffy’ at all then just back off a bit.”
Hare also needs to get her Medallia back to the UK quickly for a refit which will see her graduating to new, latest generation foils which will be fitted this winter in England.
Another looking to the next Vendée Globe race is James Harayda of the Gentoo Sailing team.
Harayda has a wildcard for this year’s Route Du Rhum race, his first step towards the target to be the youngest sailor to compete in the 2024 edition of the Vendée Globe race.
Harayda has twice been crowned as British Champion in the Doublehanded Class with teammate Dee Caffari, but this will be a tough initiation into the world of single-handed IMOCA 60 racing.
The whole complexion of IMOCA racing has changed because of the constant quest to finish big races and clock up qualifying miles for the 2024 Vendée Globe.
And the Route du Rhum is a high tariff, valuable miles building race.
The Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe
Some of the best solo racers in the world of sailing, professionals and amateurs, meet every four years to taste “the magic of the Rhum”.
Created in 1978 by Michel Etevenon, La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe, for 44 years the transatlantic course at a total distance of 3,542 miles has joined Saint-Malo in Brittany to Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe.