With under 24 hours to go before the start of the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe, on Sunday, November 4, Jérémie Beyou looks calm and confident, despite the meteorological complications hanging over the fleet in the coming days. Beyou knows how to peak for these races and is looking forward to the 40th anniversary of this blue ribbon quadrennial fixture of the solo offshore sailing calendar.
Beyou’s newest IMOCA60 on the pontoons, Charal, nicknamed “The Rocket”, is monopolising all eyes among the thousands of spectators roaming the quays of the Bassin Vauban in Saint-Malo. “The boat is ready,” Jérémie Beyou said from on board. “I’ve enjoyed the last week, talking to spectators and the teams from Charal, who support me. The best thing has been that everyone could see the Charal stand was always packed. Now that the start is approaching, we’re analysing Sunday’s weather and the first few days of the race.”
An uncertain forecast If some of the weather forecasts are accurate, the IMOCA60 could face very difficult conditions overnight from Monday to Tuesday, with up to 40 knots of westerly wind gusting up to 50 knots. There could be big waves, with heights (trough to crest) of 9-10 metres.
“We’re setting the boat up in anticipation of some pretty muscular conditions,” said Beyou, who points out however that the American and European weather files do not quite agree and so there is still a degree of uncertainty. “There will be real choices to be made between performance and safety,” he said. “We will need to show good seamanship because these are conditions that we’ve not encountered so far with our new boat and they may last several days. We went from summer to winter without the autumn transition. We’ll have to show a lot of humility.
With a new boat, we have more unknowns. But Charal is still an IMOCA and the conditions will be the same for all my opponents. The important thing for us is to finish the race.”
Physically and mentally ready Like any high-level athlete who is passionate about his sport, Beyou knows how to be ready mentally and physically for this solo race. “Physically, I'm in good shape,” he said. “But I’m still doing some quite intense strength and conditioning. I’m lucky to have a new boat and, psychologically, I’ve never felt as relaxed as I do now. I’m very happy with the work of the team, who’ve left nothing to chance. It’s an environment that gives you a lot of confidence and energy. We have a great project.”