It is, along with the Vendée Globe, one of the legendary meetings for navigators and sailing enthusiasts.
Every four years, the Route du rhum leaves from Saint-Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre, in Guadeloupe. A single transatlantic race that revealed skippers and inspired vocations. It was by following the 1990 edition won by Florence Arthaud, where he had a teenage crush, that Romain Attanasio, then resident with a colleague in Chauny, began to dream of sailing around the world. Since then, the skipper, who took his first tacks in the Lacroix-Saint-Ouen stretch of water and the family is still based near Compiègne, has made his way by becoming a professional navigator and preparing to start the Route du rhum. But from his car, on the side of the road and sometimes “scrambling” drafts caused by passing trucks, he participated in the show. The one who took part in the last two Vendée Globes really took advantage of the two days of rest before joining the starting village in Saint-Malo and went into the pre-race without much sleep.
More calmly, Jean-Luc Van den Heede connected from his apartment in Les Sables d’Olonne, a very fast from the channel that also hosts the start and finish of the Vendée Globe, this race around the world every four years . alone and without help. An “Everest” of the seas that the native of Amiens fought twice in a career as a sailor, among other things, of twelve passages of the Cape Horn in the race and a record for circumnavigating the globe against wind and current.
“The journey of Romain (Attanasio) and Jean-Luc (Van den Heede) shows that you have to believe in your dreams”
On the plateau, Justine Fallet, who comes from Saint-Valery, represents both the departmental committee of the Somme and the sailing enthusiasts who ride in the Bay of the Somme and are fascinated by the offshore race: “The Romain course and Jean-Luc shows that you have to believe in your dreams, reiterated Valéricaine during the show as well as behind the scenes. We have a beautiful coast but also bodies of water that allow you to practice sailing and be a great one! »
And why not a day at the start of the Rhum or the Vendée, which both start at 1:02 pm… because their organizers ensure a live broadcast at 1:00 pm television news! Something to make people dream and still encourage vocations…
Etienne Hochedé, the Abbevillois of Guadeloupe
In addition to Romain Attanasio, another competitor with Picardy origins is preparing to start on Sunday: former Abbevillois mechanic Etienne Hochedé will experience his third Route du rhum at the age of 66. In his “PiR 2”, an aluminum trimaran built in 1983, he is one of the deans of the race. Participating in the Rhum Multi class, he has already made a crossing in the opposite direction since he was established in Guadeloupe for several years and will therefore come “home” to Pointe-à-Pitre! In 2018, Hochedé finished third in his class (19 days and 18 minutes), then won hands down by Amiénois Pierre Antoine (in 15 days and 1 hour 15 minutes). The latter even picked up Lalou Roucayrol after his trimaran capsized and met him for two days, just like Jean Le Cam and Kevin Escoffier experienced in the last Vendée Globe!
Out of 138 boats entered in various categories, only 7 will be jumped by women. Justine Fallet never failed to underline that sailing was one of the only sports with horse riding to put men and women on equal footing at the outset.
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