With 11 days to the first start of the Route du Rhum, 56 of the 59 racing skippers have completed their qualification runs.
In the last week's rough conditions, the Vendee Globe 2000 winner Michel Desjoyeaux was the last to have completed his 1000 qualification miles on his 60 foot trimaran Géant.
Claude Tellier who has replaced Vincent Beauvarlet at the helm of Archipel Guadeloupe is still at sea finishing his qualification miles. He is expected today Tuesday 29 October in Saint-Malo.
Elie Canivenc on the open 60' Furtif has been waiting for the conditions to get better to complete his qualification miles on time.
The last skipper to sign up for the race was Canadian Mike Birch, who at the age of 72 will participate for the seventh time in the Route du Rhum, and thereby has entered all editions of the race. Legendary for this race, Birch won the first edition 1978 on his small trimaran Olympus Photo. This year he will skipper ex-Uunet, an open 60' monohull belonging to Frenchman Philippe Monnet. Birch left for his qualification run yesterday, Monday 28 October. The Canadian sailor is still looking for funding to complete his budget.
Pierre Yves Guennec on Lehning-Lapeyre-Région Guadeloupe and Yannick Bestaven on Lightning, who both signed up for the race in the last minute, and Frédéric Lescot who finally decided to be at the start line with a 60 foot monohull, have all finalised their qualification.
André Jantet on Bettle Juice has decided in the last moment not be on the start line the 9 November, as he could not find enough funding.
This means that 59 skippers and their boats should be present in Saint-Malo from 1 November.
The start of the multihulls in class 2 and 3 is on Saturday 9 November at 13h35
The start of the monohulls Imoca 60' and the monohulls in class 1, class 2 and class 3 is on Saturday 9 November at 13h45
The start of the multihulls Orma 60' is on Sunday 10 November at 13h45
Around ten of the competitors have undergone medical training sponsored by Bayer and authorised by IEFS (European Institute of Health Training), that has already trained the skippers of the Vendée Globe 2000, The Race 2000 and the Jules Verne Trophy 2001.
The pedagogical methods were agreed on unanimously, which were based on adaptability, common reflection and interactivity. That allowed the participants according to themselves to, "project themselves into the reality of an accident onboard but also to take the drama out of crisis situations and to approach them in a concrete way."
Doctor Jean-Yves Chauve, was pleased with the motivation of the skippers,"they understand more and more the interest and the importance of the medical kit onboard,"
and also,"that the sense of solidarity is of decisive importance in this type of training, that deals with crisis techniques when sailing solo or with crew and handling other rescue situations at sea."