12th Route du Rhum – 09th November 2022


Originally scheduled for Sunday 6th November but postponed due to weather conditions, the 12th Route du Rhum got underway today, Wednesday, for the six classes and 138 contestants who left from Saint-Malo for Point-a-Pitre, including two Yacht Club de Monaco members, Boris Herrmann (Malizia-Seaexplorer) and Oren Nataf (Rayon Vert).


3,542 nautical miles strewn with hazards

It was at 2.15pm on the dot that the start of the 12th edition was launched. With a brisk 15-20 knot westerly set in for the duration, the 138 solo sailors left the Brittany coast on one of the most emblematic offshore races. Contestants faced a headwind to start, forcing them to tack repeatedly to get through the gate moored at Cape Fréhel, a lively few miles as they champed at the bit to get out to the open sea.


But before they sight Guadeloupe and drop anchor at Pointe-à-Pitre, they have much to do including a dose of the English Channel with its super-busy shipping lanes, the capricious nature of the Bay of Biscay, trade winds which can blow up to 25 knots, then the Sargasso Sea and its treacherous rafts of floating sargassum algae. So many obstacles to overcome before they can enjoy the Caribbean’s balmy warmth The fastest boats are expected to reach Pointe-à-Pitre in about six days, with the finish line scheduled to close 4th December.


Two men for one Rhum

Among the hopefuls are two Yacht Club de Monaco members, two men who are opposites in many ways except for their passion for the sea and desire to fly the Yacht Club de Monaco’s flag high. In the IMOCA class, the German Boris Herrmann is having a second crack at it, this time aboard Malizia-Seaexplorer. “The challenge was to build a new boat and this one is a mean machine. This is the first race of a whole series to come. I’m starting on the Route du Rhum without pressure for results. The idea is to arrive after two weeks of racing,” explains the man who finished 5th in 2018 but also 5th in the last Vendée Globe. This year again the level is very high in the IMOCA class with 38 entries on the start “including the best who will be unbeatable. You have to just be humble and happy to arrive,” says the sailor who paid tribute to the commitment and support of his friend Pierre Casiraghi, YCM Vice-President and founder of Team Malizia. “It’s thanks to him, the YCM and HSH Prince Albert II that we are here today. Pierre has been here every step of the way and it’s great. It’s a big support but it’s also a wonderful friendship. This, too, is what sport is about”.



Another class and another profile with Oren Nataf experiencing his first Rhum. A baptism of fire for a man who has only been sailing for ten or so years. The YCM member decided to take on this challenge aboard his Pulsar 50 Rayon Vert in the Rhum Multi class of 14 boats and is approaching it with great humility: “The goal is to get to the other side of the Atlantic, but before that I have several challenges to overcome, the first being to cross the Bay of Biscay”. Oren Nataf knows he has much to learn on this race, torn between apprehension and his desire to be on the open sea; “It’s a mix of fear, which is essential as it protects you, but also huge satisfaction to be heading offshore completely alone. It gives you such an incomparable feeling of freedom. What I fear most is the lack of sleep and how I’ll manage that. My goal is to stay in good shape throughout the race”. However, damage to the mainsail just after the start forced Oren Nataf back to Saint-Malo port to repair the tear. Under the race rules he has 72 hours to complete it and start again.


Solid support

Yacht Club de Monaco members and young sailors in the Sports Section followed the start of this 12th edition closely, very keen to encourage Oren Nataf and Boris Herrmann competing in this legendary race. Represented regularly on the main offshore races, YCM contributes to the promotion and international influence of the Principality under the aegis of its ‘Monaco, Capital of Advanced Yachting’ approach.