Key moments 2022

Record-breaking Route du Rhum!

My multihull highlight for this year is the Route du Rhum, one of the world’s biggest sailing events. At least, it’s got to be right up there with the America’s Cup, the Fastnet, the Newport-Bermuda, the Sydney-Hobart, and so on.

Every four years, the most futuristic craft battle it out on a course from Saint Malo in northern France to Guadeloupe in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. I live just outside St. Malo, and I’ve gone along to see the boats every time for probably 25 years now. And every edition, things seem to get bigger, notably the crowds. Sure, there are monohulls as well, but everyone really goes to check out the Ultims and the other multihulls.
And when I say everyone, this year, attendance was estimated to be in the order of two million people over the thirteen-day period that the “Village” was open. And having seen the traffic locally, including additional trains, and with the number of people calling asking whether I had a room for rent or knew someone who did, I really don’t doubt this figure. But hang on a minute, 2 million? That’s nearly 1 person in every 30 in this country! Does 1 American in every 30 go to the Superbowl or the Indy 500? Or 1 Brit in every 30 go to the FA Cup?
Clearly the answer is No. So this isn’t one of the world’s biggest sailing events, it’s one of the world’s biggest sporting events. And just in case that record isn’t enough, I’m sure you’re aware that Charles Caudrelier crossed the line aboard his Edmond de Rothschild in 6 days, 19 hours and 47 minutes. What numbers will the 2026 edition bring us?

Graham Shaw

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