“Surprisingly for the eve of a race start, I slept very well. Together with the whole team, we’ve been preparing for this event for the past eight months and I’m keen to get going today. The first few hours of racing are already promising to be lively. All the weather systems described over the past few days are in position, with around fifteen knots of breeze forecast for the start. Potentially we’ll have two tacks to put in to make Cap Fréhel. Following that the wind is set to pick up gradually, reaching 20 knots offshore of Perros-Guirec, 30 knots off Aber Wrac’h then 35 knots as the front rolls in tonight as we approach Ushant. It will be a boisterous introduction with a sleepless night in perspective where it will be tough to let go of the helm, particularly given how important this race start will be for the next stage of the race. Tomorrow afternoon, we should be able to breathe a little before the wind builds again early into the second night.”
The competitors will find themselves in something akin to a chamber of appeal in the twenty minutes preceding the race. On-board on the trot mooring last night, David Boileau and Benoit Piquemal watched over her before being joined this morning by the skipper and the members of Gitana Team. All together, they’ll hoist their sails and make the final adjustments before leaving Sébastien Josse alone on the boat to set a course for the start line. At 1400 hours on the dot this Sunday, the skipper and the 90 other sailors competing in this 10th edition of the Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe will set sail on the 3,542-mile course. As with the previous editions, the whole fleet, multihulls and monohulls alike, will cross the one imaginary line all together. Positioned North-South across the Pointe du Grouin headland, this start line will be split into two sections of equal distance with one zone reserved for the monohulls and the other for the multihulls. Around this imaginary line and for a greater degree of safety for the racers, Race Management and Maritime Affairs have set up a protected zone where all boats are forbidden to enter, even the technical teams. As such Sébastien will make headway singlehanded for several minutes before the start procedure. Once the start has been given, the whole fleet will make for Cap Fréhel where a course mark will be positioned some 19 miles from the start line and as close as possible to the headland to put on a show for the crowds. And what a spectacle it promises to be if yesterday’s crowds, out in force to bid farewell as they passed through the lock gates, are any indication. Despite the capricious weather, the Race Organisation is also expecting a lot of boats to come out and accompany the fleet. Vigilance will be key for the skipper of the trimaran with its five-arrow emblem, the public not necessarily aware of the speed of these formula 1s of the seas. The passage around Fréhel will also mark the split with the Gitana Team, who will bid a final farewell to their skipper Sébastien Josse before they see him again in Guadeloupe.
To follow the start live on Sunday 2 November:
- Cartography: updated from 1345 hours with fresh positions every 6 minutes as far as Cap Fréhel, then every hour.
- Twitter: @routedurhum https://twitter.com/routedurhum #RDR2014
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/routedurhum.officiel?fref=ts
From the coast:
From the Pointe du Grouin to Cap Fréhel where a mark is positioned (to be left to starboard for the competitors).