Saturday, October 30, 2010

La Route du Rhum - 2010

The Route du Rhum is the most famous transatlantic single-handed yacht race in the world, which takes places every four years in November. The race is between Saint-Malo, Bretagne, France and Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, France in the Caribbean. The first competition, won by Canadian Michael Birch in his boat Olympus Photo by a margin of 98 seconds over second-placed Michel Malinovsky in Kriter V was held in 1978, and was marked in tragedy by the disappearance of Alain Colas during the crossing.

On Sunday October 29th, 2010 at 1:02, at least one million fans will cheers on the cliffs of Brittany at the start of the race. This event will be broadcast on television all over the world and 5 million French citizens are likely to watch it live on Sunday afternoon, celebrating the magic single TransAtlantic Race. This event compares to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games.

On Monday, first and second graders of L'Ecole Francaise du Maine will watch the start of the race to cheer Etienne Giroire, the sole American participating in the race. Our students have been exchanging emails with Etienne and communicating via Skype with him in the cockpit of his boat in Saint Malo. Etienne's boat was designed in Yarmouth, Maine by Walter Greene.

Four years ago, L'Ecole Francaise du Maine followed famed Freeport sailor, Kip Stone, during his victorious race (Class 40). Kip came to the school to describe his preparation and the danger he faced alone in the North Atlantic. He later invited our students onto his boat, "Artforms". In Westbrook, our students learned "tee-shirt printing" as Kip is also the owner of "Cool at as Moose" stores in Maine and Quebec.

A special thanks go to Thornton Ring who got a complete chart of the North Atlantic, so that Didier's students can plot Etienne's position each day. The race will last 20 days.