On 23rd July at about 3 pm, Sam will cross the starting line of the DRHEAM CUP to sail from Trinité sur Mer to Cherbourg, via Fastnet Lighthouse in the south-west of Ireland.
With the race a qualifier for the Route du Rhum, competition is fierce, with no less than 12 IMOCAs in the running, including favourites such as Yann Eliès. Paul Meilhat, who got off to a good start with Sam and Yann at the beginning of the season, will not be with us due to a shoulder injury. Sam will be able to focus on her performance and treat it like a trial run before the Route du Rhum, for which she already qualified in May with the Douarnenez-Cascais race.
Very pleasant summer conditions should be present along the 700-mile route (nearly 1300 kilometers), but the entrants will have to slow their pace considerably until they get to the middle of the English Channel, then again on the way back between the tip of England and Cherbourg. Only the Irish Sea might be a bit windy with the arrival of a small pressure front. There is a saying, “when you don’t know where to go, go west”, which is no doubt the best way to find your wind in this case, according to the weather-routing maps below.
So, summer conditions at the starting line, a little speed in the Irish Sea and a complicated return through the English Channel, where the competitors will need to juggle with maritime traffic and strong currents which could prove to be decisive in the final ranking.
Sam is on top form and confident after an active studious spring and a victory during Saturday’s prologue, which is always great for morale.