At 2:15 p.m. the starting gun for the 12th Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe off the Pointe du Grouin rang out for 138 solo sailors who were decidedly impatient to battle it out in exceptional and exhilarating weather conditions (15-20 knots of sunset, beautiful sea, sun).
During the start procedure, Britain’s Sam Goodchild in his Ocean Fifty Leyton, a big favourite, was injured and declared his retirement a few hours later. Meanwhile, the fleet led by the Ultim 32/23 lashed out to reach Cape Fréhel.
Magnificent images of the Ultim 32/23 with smoking bows, the IMOCAs cutting the swell, the Ocean Fifty on one leg and the magical crossings in the Class 40 and Rhum Multi – Mono, the first 20 miles turning towards the CIC Cap Trophy buoy Fréhel were of an impressive beauty. But even before crossing the headland, which was attended by large numbers of people, several boats had already turned around, such as Oren Nataf’s Rayon Vert trimaran, Sacha Daunar’s Class40 Cit’Hôtel – Région Guadeloupe, and two IMOCAs: DMG Mori – Global One (Kojiro Shiraishi) and Oliver Heer Ocean Racing.
This afternoon the strategies are being put in place and a speed race begins in this western part of the English Channel with positioning more or less close to the coast. Strong current, pebbles, wind zone, traps are numerous as night engulfs the fleet. Especially since the sea conditions will deteriorate when approaching the tip of Brittany with a west swell of between 3 and 4 m. Before leaving, the captains had clearly prepared themselves for a sleepless night. The waning full moon will be your best ally…