The Rhum,

The Rhum,
Bigger Servings Soon Available

Duick, the organizing body of the Route du Rhum, has announced today that
the next edition of the race (2010) would be open to maxi multihulls…
The single handed French Transat is, 30 years after its creation by Michel
Etevenon, going back to its roots – after all, it had been set up in reaction
to the length limit imposed by the OSTAR following the 1976 edition that
saw Colas enter his 72-metres Club Med. It remained completely open until
1990, when the 60-ft limit was enforced. Interestingly, that year, three
competitors were denied access to the race with their 65 footers: Hervé
Laurent, Bruno Peyron and Francis Joyon… Names that clearly ring
a bell right? As a result from today’s announcement, Francis will be able
to take his revenge by entering his record-breaking IDEC2 (if he’s interested)
in 2010. Since it’s now pretty clear that the ORMA as we know it is dead
and buried, and that even if new plans are in place to revive the class
with a one-design fleet it won’t happen soon enough, the Rhum organizers
probably felt they needed to replace the race’s star class.

a few hours after that announcement by Pen Duick, Thomas Coville’s Sodeb’O
team issued a press release saying how pleased they were with that decision
– understandable, as the Rhum is the biggest offshore event in France
after the Vendée Globe, and you just don’t set off for a RTW record
every winter… so the big boats have to find other ways of making
the headlines. There was a gap to fill following the demise of the ORMA
class – if that wasn’t the principal motivation, the race would also open
to all sizes of monohulls, which is not the case – the IMOCA’s fine, thank
you, and would certainly not have let that happen. Oh and by the way,
Pen Duick’s release quoted the famous "One man, one boat, the ocean"
line, but let’s not forget that phrase was coined for the OSTAR – it is
generally attributed to Blondie Hasler, though sources tend to disagree
on that particular point. Anyway, it’s not a Rhum motto, and one would
think that given the rich history between the two events, such historical
confusions would be avoided?

Jocelyn Blériot