At 1600hrs local time this afternoon the race village for La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe was opened, ready for an estimated influx of up to two million visitors expected over the next week leading up to the start of the four yearly race from the historic walled town of Saint Malo to Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe.
The mayor of Saint-Malo, Claude Renoult and Alix Nabajoth, President of Guadeloupe’s Sports Commission shared the honours in declaring the sizeable village area open whilst the 91 competing craft line the docksides of the basins, in place before today’s 1830hrs deadline for the boats to assemble. And so the festivities which are set to be enjoyed up until the start gun, next Sunday November 2nd at 1400hrs local time.
The 1830hrs time limit for the race fleet to muster in Saint Malo ensured that the atmosphere today has been electric. The public turned out in big numbers to see the five different classes assemble, the Ultimes, Multi50, IMOCA Open 60s, Class 40 and the Rhum divisions. Tonight all are safely moored up from the biggest – the 40 metres Spindrift 2 of Yann Guichard to the smallest the 12 metres Acapella of Charlie Capelle and Jean Paul Froc’s Bilfo-Group Berto.
Claude Renoult the Mayor of Saint-Malo said: “It will be a fabulous week in Saint-Malo. We feel the buzz already. This is always a week which starts off strongly and gets more and more exciting. It has been building up here for ten days. And this has been a 36 year love affair with this race. And we must not forget Guadeloupe and Michel Etevenon, the creator of this race. Guadeloupe were the first to support the Route du Rhum, to creat the link with Saint-Malo. And the town is so involved with the 300 volunteers and the sailing club, the SNBSM. We are expecting maybe 1.8 to 2 million visitors. It will feel like the centre of the world!”
– Race Media