Now that I have convinced most of you that the "Vendee Globe" is a fantastic race I would like to convince you that "The Route du Rhum" is not a lesser race. In fact, this one the Vendee and the VOR are my favorite races.
I guess most of you didn't heard about this race.Why is it outstanding? Well, the number of racers, the quality (all the best) and the quality of the boats (the best), I mean the best among solo sailors because this is a solo Transat race that takes place in November each 4 years.
Regarding the number of sailboats, on the lastrace you had almost 90 boats. There are sailraces with a lot more, but none with so many pure top racing boats and so many professional racers. Here the cruiser-racers are a very small minority and in fact they are in the same category of other racing boats that don't fit in the different classes:
This event is open to multihulls and monohulls, which are divided into several classes according to their overall length (LOA):
ULTIMATE classLOA in excess of or equal to 60 foot without a size limit.
Multi 50 classsuch as those set down in the Multi 50 Class Multihull Rules.
IMOCA class (Open 60's) such as those set down in the IMOCA Rules
Rhum Category LOA between 39' and 59'.
Class 40such as those set down in the Class 40 Rules.
Have a look at the history of the race:
Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale 2014 Official Web site
I guess that it only lacks one thing to this race to be absolutely perfect: An unlimited class to Monohulls.
Anyway it is already pretty crazy an unlimited class for multihulls. Last year Frank Cammas won the unlimited race sailing the giant Groupama trimaran that was used previously to beat the world record circumnavigation, with a big crew. Not even the crew of Groupama thought that it was possible to sail that boat alone. Well, impossible for almost all, not to Frank Cammas.
Last year the other giant trimaran, the one that holds now the World circumnavigation record, Banque Populaire, was prevented to enter since they had mechanical help in what regards winches. I guess this year someone will be mad enough to sail that boat without any help. There are also a new one, Prince de la Bretagne.
Then you have the Open 60's. All the best will be there.
Then you have one of the most spectacular (and dangerous classes) the Multi 50. The boats are very light and powerful without the huge RM of the big trimarans. To race this boats at top level is a sort of acrobatic feat. They are many times on the limit and that is the class with more capsizes and breakage, but also one of the most spectacular.
Then you have the 40class, the one with more boats, at least 25. All the best young sailors will be there.
Then you have the Rhum category that I think it should be open to all class of sailboats over 39ft that don't fit the other classes but that unfortunatelly is limited to monohulls between 39 and 59ft.
The race has a huge tradition (see history on the link above) and teams are already training for the BIG ONE.
Some Images, let's start with that 50ft multihull Class that I find quite incredible (very tricky to sail):