Certainly not by the number of boats, "only" 91 on this edition but probably the biggest in public interest, even more than the Vendee Globe and there is a reason for that: This was the first Transat that said no to the ratting rules. Here you arrive first and you win. Simple as that. Yes I know they have introduced classes but that is not the same thing as ratting. Anyway that's one of the few races where they depart all at the same time and off course, independently of the classes the overall winner is the one that arrives first, even if the classification comes in classes.http://interestingsailboats.blogspot.pt/2014_09_01_archive.html
Le Rhum, cap sur 2014 ! by routedurhum
On the first one, in 1978 there were no classes and it was the first Transat where you could race in a mono-hull or a multihull of any size for the win. And the win went for a Multihull...but only by 98s after 23 days racing. That was really incredible!!! of course the Monohull was a lot bigger than the trimaran that won, but sizes are free on this race.
You can pick the fastest mono-hull in a transat, that is certainly the new Comanche, and race it on this race on the class of monohulls bigger than 39ft (minimum size is the only limitation). There is a snag...someone would have to sail the huge Comanche solo :-)...because this is a solo race. Crazy? not more crazy then sailing on of the maxi trimarans solo (and they do it)...if someone has the balls and knowledge to do it and the rigging is adapted. Off course, probably you can count by the fingers of your hands the sailors that have the ability and the potential to do it and that is one of the things that make this race great: The boat counts but only the best have the ability to sail one of these monsters solo. Here the skipper counts more than in any other race. Just look at the size and speed of these boats.They have to be sailed by a solo master and they are all in this race, on different classes.
Yann Eliès sur Paprec Recyclage by routedurhum
Lionel Lemonchois sur Prince de Bretagne by routedurhum
Sodebo Ultim' - Thomas Coville : Objectif Route... by sodebo-voile
For me one of the most interesting boats racing are the Multi 50. They are very tricky boats to race, fast bur nervous and fragile. It's double interesting because in the end, specially if the weather is rough, their performance is very similar to the one of an Open 60. What normally happens is that just one or two manage to go faster on those conditions and it can happen that an Open 60 beats them all. As I say, they are fast but the risk of capsize is big, they are not that good upwind and have to have much more care not to break the boat than the guys on Open60's. Here you have them, being raced with a crew: look even with a crew how nervous these boats are. Really tricky for a solo sailor. To go really fast it has to be a very good one.
Multi50-2014 from Multi50 on Vimeo.
Sailing one of those solo is only for the best:
Actual - Yves Le Blevec by routedurhum
and then we have the well known IMOCA open 60's with all the stars from the Vendee Globe.
and the 40class, that here really looks like a promotional class. No, I know they are incredibly good sailors on those boats...except that they all want to go to one of the big ones and there are a reason why they have not arrive there yet...but the rising stars are all there, some coming from the mini racing. This racing is so interesting that an old legend could not resist to have a go at it.Route du Rhum : Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, doyen... by OuestFranceFR
He is going to race an old Open6o. Because it is an old one does not race on the IMOCA category but on the category of monohulls bigger than 39ft. Off course the boat is old, but brand new when compared with him: 75 years and still racing with the best!!! Damn, how can he do that? Thumbs up for him ;-)
The race starts November 2 at 14.00 (French Time GT+1)