La Route du Rhum: Bon Vent Michel!

Foncia has been the first IMOCA boat going out of Saint-Malo - photo (c) Windreport'/Team Foncia, used by permission

Today, October 31st, Michel Desjoyeaux and 84 other skippers will leave St Malo for Pointe-a-Pitre in the Caribbeans. According to the boat category, it will take them between 7 days (for the multihulls) and up to 20 days for the smaller boats to cover the 3543 nautical miles of  “la Route du Rhum – la Banque Postale“. But for all, it is a sprint race that will represent a physical and sporting challenge. Good luck to all and may the best one win!

As usually before a race, all the participants are present in the port of departure a few days before. At that occasion, I had the opportunity to meet the team and visit the real boat (that I had only seen virtually). I must say that the boat seemed very familiar to me (if it’s not familiar to you yet, then read this!) Ramping inside reminded me of the online experience I had done earlier. Besides that, I was impressed inside by the noise of the water hitting the boat. I can’t imagine what it must be like in the middle of the ocean. Although I could hardly hear what Michel was saying when I interviewed him, here is a quick question I was able to ask him before his departure.

The other part that impressed me the most is the number of boats registered for the race: 87 (85 finally participating). There are 3 main categories: Monohulls (55 boats, including Michel’s FONCIA 60 ft.), Multihulls (21 boats) and Catégorie Rhum (11 boats). Here is a picture of the multihulls which, by the way, will be competing for the first time against each other on this race.

The organizers expected over 1 million visitors at the sponsors’ village. The peak is the day of the departure with more than 700 boats following the different participants. Each category start separately. Michel Desjoyeaux and his boat will leave at 1pm on Sunday. This morning in the early hours, FONCIA has been the first IMOCA class boat to leave Saint-Malo harbour (see first post picture).  He is expected in Pointe-a-Pitre in about 12 days. We wish him all the best for this race and will be behind him all the way. As we say in such a situation , “bon vent”!

2PM, Paris Time Update: they’re gone! I can see the boats on France 3, French channel covering the race. I could see Michel on FONCIA several times. The boat seems to go quite well, it looks like a great white bird spreading its wings. I guess Michel is saying to himself  “ça tartine gentiment” (desperate translation attempt: ” it spreads mildly”).

FONCIA starts the Route du Rhum - photo (c) Foncia, used by permission

7:30PM, Paris time Update: FONCIA is second in the IMOCA category 0,4 mile behind Virbac Paprec 3 (Jean-Pierre Dick). Michel has made a pretty good start and is gently navigating at 10.5 knot  (currently the quickest IMOCA boat).

Stay tuned for more news about Michel’s race!

Marc PavageauMarc Pavageau, WW Online MarCom Manager