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What is Route du rhum?

Le 11/09/2019

Route du rhum is a yacht race, held every 4 years.

The captains, called skippers, leave from Saint-Malo, in Brittany, and cross the Atlantic Ocean, solo, to reach Pointe-à-Pitre, in Guadeloupe.

The name means “Rum Route” because rum is an alcohol made in Guadeloupe where the race ends.

How is this famous yacht race run?

About 100 professional and amateur skippers start from Saint Malo.

They must sail over 4000 miles to reach Pointe à Pitre in the shortest possible time using only wind power.

There are six categories of boat: monohulls (yachts with one hull), and multihulls, which go much faster.

State-of-the-art, they speed along at 34 mph, skimming over the surface of the water.

That is how some champions finish the race in a week, like Loïck Peyron did in 2014.

But it’s not easy: the skippers have to face storms…

And they don’t sleep much; 20 minutes every four hours, when an automatic pilot steers the boat.

Even if this race is still very masculine, more and more women take part and dream of following in the wake of Florence Arthaud, who won it in 1990.

2018 is the 40th year of Route du rhum and it continues to inspire sailors everywhere.