a barrier. Lock Peyron: “The Rhum Route is simple: depart Saint-Malo in winter, arrive at Guadeloupe in summer…” – Sailing



How do you explain this enthusiasm for Rohm Road?

Why is there so much success in individual races in France? The first person to take charge is Eric Tabarly and the second probably General de Gaulle who shook hands with him in 1968. We must not forget that, we must go back to our roots far enough away. We have an impressive French naval and sailing culture. We have three iconic figures, Eric Tabarly, General de Gaulle, Florence Orthod and Laurent Bourgonne, all missing today, with incredible stories. The Rhum route is easy to understand: you depart in the winter from Port Saint-Malo, from Corsair, to Guadeloupe in the summer, here are the ingredients. The race doesn’t last long, and there are no other events that could be of interest to the public in November.

Solitary is the other reason for success?

Solitaire has become a French specialty, moreover, too much. There are not enough foreigners. You don’t have to win to succeed. It’s a paradox and it has become the selling point for all seafarers today to go to any partner and say “I’m going to tell you a great story no matter the outcome”. So we have the historical, the attractive, and the economic components to justify the fact that there are so many people out there. Even if I were to turn into a veteran, I think we’d catch “a lot of people”. There are too many people in all classes, from Mini to other series, except for Ultimes who get in their way when there aren’t enough of them, and all series suffer from “too many people”. This doesn’t mean you have to level up or not down, it’s not just about keeping the best, you have to keep the chance of those in first, that’s the beauty of sailing, but I find that there are too many cruise ships departing from the Rom Way. Doing the Route du Rhum remains a personal memory, but it’s not a job for half of them. I think it is not easy for the regulators. It’s also not easy for sailors who want a career out of it and who find themselves on the same line of competition as the others.

Francis Guyon wins the Route-de-Rom at 62, and he’s doing it again at 66…You’re younger than him: are you thinking of going back there?

Francis has no physical problems, or at least he doesn’t show them (laughs). It is very impressive. This aspect is important. In addition, Francis is always motivated. Honestly, it’s different. And by the way, this is good news. About two years ago I was in Transpacific, on the Orma trimaran, from Los Angeles to Honolulu, It was nothing but blissful, five days downwind, perfect, but for the first time, I wondered what I was doing there. For the first time in half a century, I finally said to myself, “Hey, this piques my interest a little.” I had the pleasure of finally feeling such a little exhaustion, to tell myself that I was learning less, and that I had a few more pleasant things to do, give, or share. Solitary sailing is a great and exciting activity, no matter the size of the boat, but it totally calms down for me. I’m like a glider, I slowly descend. I spend a lot of time at this time in La Roche Bernard, near a beautiful river called La Vilaine and slowly swapping out my blue shoes for green ones (note: he’s renovating a house). I will not masquerade as Jean Rochefort or a noble farmer, but come close to the earth.

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