Mariner’s Diary No. 3 by Edgard Vincens
Looking back at the Route du Rhum 2022
The most significant sailing event of the end of 2022 is, of course, the Route du Rhum. The Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe. This is an opportunity for me to look back on the Route du Rhum 2022.
The start was delayed by three days because of very rough weather. A very strong low-pressure system formed at the mouth of the Bay of Biscay with very strong wind and waves of 6 to 8 metres. As a result, many boats suffered various structural failures. Several boats dismasted. Weather wasn’t the only cause: today’s boats are designed with a round bow and a flat bottom, and thus have a considerably larger surface in contact with the swell. As a result, they’re more susceptible to physical damage.
We debriefed the race with the shipyard and the architects to analyse the damage caused, and optimize preparation for the next race. Fortunately, our boat didn’t suffer damage due to the violence of the weather, thanks to the chosen “Lifts V2” design. This confirms the robustness of the boat under construction and the technical choices we made.
The 2022 edition was especially difficult, with a very strong high-pressure system in the Azores which prevented the trade winds from settling north of the route. The competitors had to take routes further west to find favourable downwind conditions and less wintry temperatures.
I also went to Guadeloupe to be at the finish, which showed me how perilous sailing round the island can be, depending on the conditions. Several boats were delayed, then stopped and were finally overtaken because of the changeable winds, in particular outside the Basse-Terre buoy in the south-west of the island.
In any case, the skippers were very talented and the race was very competitive. This shows how hard I’ll need to work in the next few years to rank for 2026!