Route du Rhum: lively, hectic, but a very beautiful start! – Route du Rhum

Route du Rhum: lively, hectic, but a very beautiful start!  - Route du Rhum

Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe

Early this Wednesday morning, the last skippers pass the big lock, the last gate before the open sea. The smiles are visible, the faces seem much less tense. Normal, the postponement of the start, from Sunday 6 to Wednesday 9 November, has completely changed the situation. No more question of going to be badly shaken in the Channel and in the Atlantic. The sea has calmed down, spirits have lightened.

The sea of ​​wind

In the port of Bas Sablons, Erwan Thibouméry, skipper of the trimaran “Interaction”, strolls quietly on the quay, oilskin on his back. His boat is waiting for him at anchor with his team. The Malouin is smiling, the latest weather forecasts report a westerly wind of 15-20 knots, generous sunshine and a residual swell: “It suits me very well as a start. It will be cooler for all of us”. All the more so cool as there are fewer people on the water. Fewer passenger launches, fewer spectator boats. Less risk of collisions. Less stress.

On board the media star, which has taken on board a photographer, a cameraman for live TV and a social network specialist, we put on the life jackets, which are mandatory. We also begin to attach the material. Indeed, barely out of the port, we all understand that it will shake. The famous “sea ​​of ​​windis there. The hollows are not huge, say 1.5 to 2 meters, sometimes much more. Downwind, surfing the waves, everything is fine but upwind, against the wind, it won’t be the same story…

Stolen starts, injured skipper

30 minutes from the start, the start area, moored in front of the Pointe du Grouin, comes alive in all directions: monohulls to the south, multihulls to the north. Superb show. The line is huge and even with its 3.5 miles long (6.4 km), difficult to know where to stand to get the best angle.

We finally land in front of the line. With the Ultimes and the Ocean Fifty, it’s a game of elbows. Armel Le Cléac’h is looking for a mousehole for his “Banque Populaire”. Hot, very hot.

The VHF radio crackles: “Start signal… There are stolen starts”. Impossible to know who grilled the departure.

The radio crackles again: “A casualty on Leyton. The skipper is injured in the arms and a wound in the face”. Briton Sam Goodchild is in trouble. We learn that a doctor is dispatched to the area, that the skipper, conscious, is taken care of and will be evacuated. This is what weighs down the general euphoria.

The S for the A

On board the press launch, everyone does what they can. Despite 740 hp engines, it shakes, it stirs inside, even worse outside: one hand for yourself, one hand for the boat. The cameraman works miracles, the TV journalist, responsible for intervening live, too.

The TikTok specialist does not lead far. And feed the fish.

The production asks to follow the Ultimates, gone to take a long tack to the north. Bad idea. The star, which hits each wave, can’t keep up. We fall back on the Imoca, which are slower.

The VHF tells us that 1h 15′ after the start, Charles Caudrelier took the lead at Cap Fréhel ahead of Armel Le Cléac’h and François Gabart. The three big favorites are already there.

Inside the star, everything is soaked, everything has collapsed. A journalist tries to write his paper live. On his Azerty keyboard, when he aims for A, he hits S. He foams.

But for nothing in the world, he would have left his place. As always, this departure was magical, intense. Lively, restless, sometimes stolen, but absolutely beautiful.

The Route du Rhum is just beginning, everyone knows that the road is long and strewn with pitfalls before seeing the island of Guadeloupe.

Come on, good luck everyone.

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