The Route du Rhum 2022 won’t set sail tomorrow: a wise decision’
Upon reading the grib files, the echoes around the docks were proving to be increasingly insistent over the past 24 hours. Francis Le Goff, Race Director of the Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe, put an end to the suspense this Saturday morning during the briefing, which gathered together all the solo sailors competing in this 12th edition of the legendary transatlantic race. Despite what is deemed to be a manageable start tomorrow offshore of Saint Malo, the weather is set to deteriorate very quickly at the north-west tip of Brittany. With very meaty winds and particularly heavy seas, conditions for the first few days at sea were believed to be too dangerous, prompting the decision to delay the start. It’s a tough but brave decision, which was welcomed by Charles Caudrelier and the majority of his fellow skippers. A start late Tuesday through into Wednesday morning was mentioned.
Reaction from Charles Caudrelier following the announcement

Could you quickly describe for us the conditions which prompted this delay?

“Had we set sail tomorrow, conditions were set to be very full-on upon exiting the English Channel. Put simply, there is currently a wall of wind between Spain and Ireland with huge seas to negotiate. Seven-metre seas and winds of around 45 knots in the first depression… And it didn’t get any better further down the track! Yesterday evening, one of my routers said to me that he hadn’t seen such a deep depression in the Atlantic for a very long time. The urgency of the situation is further heightened by the short time between each wave, leading to boat-breaking conditions. You can well imagine that with our large multihulls, we wouldn’t have been the ones who came out worst.”

You had no solutions for avoiding this rough weather?

“That’s exactly what the problem is for the start of the course and the exit from the English Channel where we’d have had no exit route. On top of that, we’re competitors and we’ve been preparing for this race for 4 years, so I’d have opted for the best and fastest course, and clearly that was also the most full-on. You have to put the race to one side in the conditions we were set to encounter and that’s obviously not what we’re after. Setting sail tomorrow would have turned the race into a survival of the fittest and that’s never the plan.

In your view, was this decision the right one?

“Yes, no question! It’s a wise and brave decision and Race Management and the organisers really need to be applauded as it’s always a tough decision to make. Postponing a race start doesn’t just affect the sailors, it has an impact on everything that surrounds it.”

What’s on your programme over the coming days?

“It’s the start of another period of waiting and together with my team of routers, we’re getting back down to work preparing for this new schedule. I’m going to head off for a bit of time with family and also try to stay connected to the boat so as not to lose focus. We need to be patient as the race will be all the finer in 2 or 3 days.”

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