Route du Rhum

Route du Rhum: the 10th edition of the best of the Transats…

Published on 01 october 2014 at 0h00

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A little history: 36 legendary years, and a passion which remains intact

1978: Michel Etevenon was an advertising man who felt that ocean racing needed reviving. He created a transatlantic race, leaving from St Malo, destination Guadeloupe. There were 38 boats at the start, of which only a quarter were genuine racing boats. But the legend had begun, and this first edition stood out, with a finish which would go down in the annals of ocean racing. After 23 days at sea, Mike Birch, aboard his little trimaran, Olympus Photo, beat Kritter, the big 21-meter monohull, skippered by Michel Malinowski, on the line, by 98 seconds! This tiny difference after an Atlantic crossing was to have enormous repercussions, and monohulls would never again beat multihulls in a race... A new era had been born.
Unfortunately, this first edition also saw the disappearance of Alain Colas, aboard Manureva, the former Pen Duick IV. Amongst the other participants, we already found Poupon, Arthaud, and Pajot, who would later add their names to the record...

Four years later, there were 52 boats on the start line, all equipped with an Argos beacon, which allowed them to be followed. A plus for the skippers’ safety, as well as for communication. For the only time in the race’s history, the competitors had to round a mark in Martinique. 1982 was the year of Rosière, Guy Delage’s proa, which folded up on the start line... But it was above all the year of the first giant multihulls, one of which ...

This article appeared in issue 138. To read the article in full, buy this issue individually

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