were on the water this afternoon for the start this legendary single-handed transatlantic race.

Boatshed Yacht Brokers, always keen to keep their fingers on the pulse of everything boat related, positioned themselves a quarter mile down wind from the start line.
"Having a huge Trimaran bearing down on you, fully powered up, at 25+ knots is a sight to be seen" reports Neil from

It was appropriate for the record fleet of 85 skippers who set off from Saint Malo this afternoon on the ninth edition of the Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale that the send off proved nearly perfect in every way.

Given the choice a large proportion of the solo skippers spread across the five different classes, from the 105 feet long giants of the Ultime class, to the venerable 12m multis in the Rhum class, might have preferred a little more breeze than the gentle SE’ly which sent them on their way, answering the start gun off Saint Malo’s Pointe du Grouin at 1302hrs.

But the light going was ideal for those feeling their way into the first few hours of what promises to be an engaging race, a complex weather situation marking the early strategic decisions on the classic 3542 miles passage from Saint Malo to Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadeloupe.

The early grey skies rolled back to offer a day of pleasant Autumn sunshine for the huge crowds who had begun assembling from long before dawn.

Undoubtedly the enthusiasm and warmth of the send-off was buoyed by the appreciation that the magnitude of the fleet has broken records already, 24 multihulls and 60 monohulls: nine Ultime giant multis, nine IMOCA Open 60’s, 12 Multi 50’s, 44 Class 40 monos, and 11 Rhum monos and multis. Visitors numbers passing through the Corsair City’s Route du Rhum-La Banque Postale race village also surpassed all expectations.