People walk along the docks of the Saint-Malo harbor (Britanny, North Western France), the 26 October 2006, where the 74 sailing boats remain before taking the start next 29 October of the solo sailing race "Route du Rhum - Banque Postale" from Saint-Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre (French West Indies). AFP PHOTO MARTIN BUREAU
At 1600hrs local time this afternoon the race village for La Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe was opened, ready for an estimated influx of up to two million visitors expected over the next week leading up to the start of the four yearly race from the historic walled town of Saint Malo to Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe. The mayor of Saint-Malo, Claude Renoult and Alix Nabajoth, President of Guadeloupe's Sports Commission shared the honours in declaring the sizeable village area open whilst the 91 competing craft line the docksides of the basins, in place before today's 1830hrs deadline for the boats to assemble. And so the festivities which are set to be enjoyed up until the start gun, next Sunday November 2nd at 1400hrs local time.
The 1830hrs time limit for the race fleet to muster in Saint Malo ensured that the atmosphere today has been electric. The public turned out in big numbers to see the five different classes assemble, the Ultimes, Multi50, IMOCA Open 60s, Class 40 and the Rhum divisions. Tonight all are safely moored up from the biggest – the 40 metres Spindrift 2 of Yann Guichard to the smallest the 12 metres Acapella of Charlie Capelle and Jean Paul Froc's Bilfo-Group Berto.
Claude Renoult the Mayor of Saint-Malo said: "It will be a fabulous week in Saint-Malo. We feel the buzz already. This is always a week which starts off strongly and gets more and more exciting. It has been building up here for ten days. And this has been a 36 year love affair with this race. And we must not forget Guadeloupe and Michel Etevenon, the creator of this race. Guadeloupe were the first to support the Route du Rhum, to creat the link with Saint-Malo. And the town is so involved with the 300 volunteers and the sailing club, the SNBSM. We are expecting maybe 1.8 to 2 million visitors. It will feel like the centre of the world!"
Guadeloupe is the main partner of the race and Guadeloupe and its islands are central to the race village culture and festival. There are four great ways to enjoy Guadeloupe in Saint-Malo:
The pavilion of the islands of Guadeloupe, every day, a storytelling workshop and lessons in Creole are offered by renowned Guadeloupe storyteller Benzo (mornings from 10 am to 11:15 am and afternoon 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.). Throughout the day, the singer Dimba is the host of typical Creole musical interludes. And there are no less than 60 exhibitors from the islands and it is easy to immerse yourself in Guadeloupean culture!
In Hall 6, 100 m2 are devoted to La Guadeloupe as an innovative region. Economy, heritage, culture ... all are presented so we can better understand the Guadeloupe and its regions Basse-Terre and Grande Terre), the Saintes, Marie Galante and Désirade.
In the cultural centre of Saint-Malo, a contemporary art exhibition will be held from October 25 to November 4. The opportunity to discover the archeology of Guadeloupe and its islands, and Kaly Art (Guadeloupean artists).
In the streets of Saint-Malo, two legendary carnival groups will parade: Nasyon entertains Neg Maron and Magma. 200 businesses in the city live in the colours of Guadeloupe, several hotels offer small Guadeloupe lunches.
Position report at: 24 Oct 18:40 UTC
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 0 0 3335.6 14
Team Brunel 6.4 0 3342 14
Team Vestas Wind 15 18 3350.6 16
Dongfeng Race Team 89.7 32 3425.3 17
MAPFRE 128.4 31 3464 16
Team Alvimedica 138.8 30 3474.4 16
Team SCA 157 31 3492.6 16