The Route du Rhum is about as hard core as offshore racing gets. Racing 3,500 miles singlehanded across the north Atlantic in early winter is tough going, arguably on a par with the major round-the-world races. Despite the challenge of racing from Saint-Malo to Guadeloupe in November, or perhaps because of that, the 40th edition of the Route du Rhum was booked to capacity. An all-time record 122 entries were on the start line on 4 November, with an estimated crowd of two million predicted to descend on Saint-Malo for the massed start.
Many of these solo adventurers were wearing Musto clothing for the race. They won’t risk wearing anything else. Three of the better-known participants are Jérémie Beyou, Sam Davies and Sam Goodchild. Beyou’s new steed is Charal, a space-age IMOCA with the most outrageous set of foils yet seen on an IMOCA 60. Having finished runner-up in the last Route du Rhum four years ago and twice being forced out of the Vendée Globe with gear damage, Beyou was determined to put in a good showing. That said, it’s early days on the water for Charal and the Route du Rhum provided a severe test for this cutting-edge design. Read on.