Locking out at 0615hrs (Photo by Colin Merry)

by Colin Merry

“Alarm call at 0500hrs. this morning. but as Pete’s minder last night I was up and about at 0400hrs. in order not to miss the wake up call.  Quick slurp of coffee then down to the boat.  The rain was easing as we slid into the lock prior to being released to the sea. Even at this hour the lock sides were lined with waving cheering people!  ”


Crowds cheering their favourites. (Photo by Colin Merry)

  “A lot of them looked as though they had been partying all night! Slipping out through the entrance we headed seaward greeted by a magnificant sunrise, a good omen we hoped.  ”


Sunrise (Photo by Colin Merry)

“Several hours followed where Pete and Tom got the boat set up whilst I helmed. Normally not a problem for me, but this time it was different. ”


Porridge before the start! (Photo by Colin Merry)

“I have never experienced so much responsibility, and it was getting more crowded by the minute. After nearly four hours and with twelve minutes to go we wished him well and jumped into the waiting rib.”


Tom landing in rib (Photo by Colin Merry)

“Sorry that most of the pics. are of Class40’s but we were intent on following DMS for several miles and naturally we were surrounded by other 40’s. “


IDEC and Groupama 3 (Photo by Colin Merry)

After a studied start keeping clear of the mayhem that is a start line Pete broke out the fractional kite and settled into the race.


And They Are Off !!! (Photo by Colin Merry)

With the wind easing it was not long before he went up a gear and raised the masthead kite.


Before we broke off the chase he was overhauling a few boats and looked like he was thoroughly enjoying himself! So 3500miles to go and a possible encounter with a hurricane. (there is a cyclone winding itself up out the West atlantic which has been upgraded to Hurricane ”Tomas).


Kite going up (Photo by Colin Merry)

We at C&A wish him and skippers well in their endeavour to be in Gaudalupe first.

by Colin Merry



Veolia. Open 60' (Photo by Colin Merry)





The DMS Hospitality Boat (Photo by Colin Merry)



Au revoir from St. Malo. (Photo by Colin Merry)

There is an air of expectancy about the port of St. Malo,and the main topic of conversation with the race teams is the weather or more importantly the wind! Projected weather and wind reports have been flowing in for several days now, and are eagerly studied in their minutest detail. One weather guru is saying ”stay north of the Azores” whilst another favours the more southerly route. With no definate pattern emerging it may be a lottery as to who makes the correct call on the day!
One thing however is certain. The big Tri’s will be across and into Quadalupe long before the other fleets. Rough estimates with presently predicted winds are for 9 to 15 days for their race. The Class 40’s however will still be at sea their predictions being somewhere between 19 and 25 days.

Sodebo's Bow with New Graphics (Photo by Colin Merry)

Sodebo's Bow with New Graphics (Photo by Colin Merry)

 I include in my report today a gallery of just some of the ”Cate’gorie Ultime” boats.      ‘Sodebo’ skippered by Thomas Coville looks good with her graphics that represent childrens doodles! I had the good luck to meet Thomas whilst I was on holiday in Bali a few years ago. I managed to get an interview for C&A and he gave me a guided tour of his rocket ship! I for one would love to go for a blast, maybe one day.


Sodebo (Photo by Colin Merry)

‘Idec’ with Francis Joyon is another very powerful looking boat. Well proven she will be one to watch.


IDEC (Phtoto by Colin Merry )

Sydney Gavignet will be piloting ‘Oman Air Majan’. This boat is beautifully turned out and certainly looks the business.

Oman Air Majan

Oman Air's Majan (Photo by Colin Merry)

As a complete contrast two lovely old ‘Gaffers’ lay near the multihulls and what a pretty sight they made. Respendant in perfectly varnished wood they were getting as many admiring glances as the ‘rock stars’ further along the Quay!

Two Gaffers

Two Gaffers (Photo by Colin Merry)

Also moored a short distance from the race boats was the all aluminium ‘Pen Duick VI’ Built in 1973 she still looks the business today

Pen Duick VI (Photo by Colin Merry)

Pen Duick VI (Photo by Colin Merry)

With everything now completed it was party time last night for the team on DMS. Pete Tom and myself welcomed on board the main sponsor Dave Summers and his family.

Party For Main Sponsor of DMS  (Photo by Colin Merry)

Party For Main Sponsor of DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)

Dave’s company packages vinyl and CDs for the music industry, and a few years ago Dave made up his mind that he would get rid of all plastic used in the packaging process. I think to date there is only 10% of his packaging that is plastic but this will reduce to 0% in the next couple of years. This is a tremendous gesture and one which needs to be taken up by all packaging manufactures. Plastic never goes away or degrades, it’s here to stay! Hence the logo on the hull of ‘DMS’ reads ”PACK IT IN”. Just sitting on the pontoon she has had many asking about her message. Just wait till she gets her monster kite up with ”Barney” emblazoned thereon. A sight that will surely stay in everyone’s mind!


IDEC and Oman Air's Majan (Photo by Colin Merry)

IDEC and Oman Air's Majan (Photo by Colin Merry)


Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry reported today on the  goings on in and around the race village for the Route du Rhum.   “Amid the building carnival atmosphere that is gripping the town of St. Malo work goes on to prepare the fleets for the coming race. The crowds of mainly French people keep increasing in spite of the weather. For instance, Saturday with a 40knot storm with it’s accompanying heavy rain did little to disuade the crowds from descending on the race village! “


Nighly walk on the docks (Photo by Colin Merry)

  • “On DMS (Pete’s boat) as on the other boats work progressed at a pace.  Whilst Pete and Tom got on with the technical aspects myself and Henriette went out to get the shopping list fullfilled. 20ltr. water cans for emergency water, coloured dye packs, 50ltrs. of drinking water, igniter for the gas burner,ten rolls of kitchen roll,white electrical tape, ptfe tape etc etc. I think without Henriette’s knowledge of the town I would still be out looking now! “

Oiling batten cars on DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)

“With Pete and Tom finally happy with the day’s work we wandered around the other Class 40’s whilst Tom (a self confessed Class 40 geek) pointed out some of the subtle differences in the interpretation of the Class 40 rules.  He certainly knows his stuff and I am hoping to remember some of the info that he knows so well.  It is amazing to see so many same class boats in one place and yet not one seems to have much if anything in common with the others.

Legends Bar (Photo by Colin Merry)

Legends Bar (Photo by Colin Merry)

  After this informative walk around we retired for a well earned drink in the ”Bar de Legends”.  The walls in this pub are filled with photos of famous sailors and daring deads! Well worth a visit if you are in St.Malo.”

Pub (Photo by Colin Merry)

Legends bar (Photo by Colin Merry)

Tomorrow’s schedule:

Guadeloupeian groups “Kontak & Vidim”.
8:30 am10:30 amRennes Atalante conference.
10:00 am Opening of the race village.
11:30 am1:00 pmChallenge Handivoile (SNBSM).
2:30 pm5:00 pmLes Saintoises Trophy (SNBSM).
5:00 pm6:00 pm . Journal du Rhum – Témoin : Pierre-Louis Castelli – France Inter

17h00 – 17h20: François Angoulvant – Fermiers de Loué (Class40)/ Joris de Carlan – Generik Exp’hair en beauté (Rhum) / Samuel Manuard – Vecteur plus (Class40)

17h20-17h40: Vincent Riou – PRB (Imoca) / Jean Paul Froc – Eurosanit (Rhum) / Jean Paul Criquioche – Groupe Picoty (Class40)

17h40-18h00:Yves Le Blevec – Actual (Multi50) / Yvan Noblet – Appart City (Class40)/ Pierre Yves Lautrou – L’Express/Sapmer (Class40) / Christopher Pratt – DCNS 1000 ( Imoca)

7:30 pm Sound and light show.
8:00 pm Closure of the race village.
10:00 pm Sound and light show.

Sorting Out Weather Files on DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)

Sorting Out Weather Files on DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)


Route du Rhum Fleet In Saint Malo preparing for The Start (Photo by Colin Merry)Pete Goss has not done a solo race in 13 years, but the British adventurer and businessman is readying himself to take on the hotbed that is the 46 strong Class 40 fleet. But, he says, ‘this is more than just a yacht race. ‘Arriving in Saint Malo Friday, Pete Goss is back in the world of solo ocean racing after a 13 year absence. It is not in any way that his epic 1996 Vendee Globe experience, fighting back upwind for two days in hurricane force winds to rescue Raphael Dinelli from a liferaft in the Southern Ocean, closed his chapter of solo and short handed racing. In fact Goss’s life of adventure has followed a zig zag course, which has been driven by diverse ambitions and varied opportunities and, and neither have really focussed his attentions back to solo racing since then. Until now. Pete Goss doing winch maintenance on his Class 40 racer DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)

He still describes solo ocean racing as his first love.

His return, for his first ever Route du Rhum, is an entirely unexpected opportunity. He was approached out of the blue by a successful British entrepreneur Tony Lawson who offered him the chance to do this race as part of a double-edged programme for Team Concise.

Lawson’s objective is to help bring on younger British skippers and crew by giving them a top level platform to compete offshore with. This is the second year of the programme and Concise 2 is their second Class 40, a new Marc Lombard Akilaria design.

Already last year the young crew won the Class 40 World Championships, and this year with the new boat they won the Class 40 division in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race.

Goss’ role within the team is to help, where he can, with coaching, mentoring and helping develop the short handed racing side of the programme, but with it comes the opportunity to take part in his first Route du Rhum.

 Despite his relative lack of time on the boat, which so far probably amounts to less than 20 days in total and maybe 2000 miles – including delivering the boat to Gijon for the 2010 world championships Goss says he feels completely at home on the boat, as he might with some 250,000 ocean miles under his belt.

 “Some boats like to please you and others you feel like you have to work for every mile, and this is a very happy boat. I am really delighted with her and could not really want for anything else. The miles I have done have been quality miles, though I have to say we have not been through a big blow, but I feel like with the experience I have that does not worry me too much.” Says Goss over a characteristic cup of tea in the cabin in DMS PACK IT IN.

 It is strangely ironic that this Route du Rhum La Banque Postale really only features two die-hard British skippers, Goss and Tolkien both forerunners, in their own way, for following generations of solo and short handed sailors.  

“ I am certainly saddened to find us the only Brits. You kind of wonder where all the youngsters are who should be cutting their teeth. It has been very hard to see them not here. It is very sad. But for us their really is an ulterior goal with Team Concise to try and help these youngsters, and so it would be great to see Tom Gall who is the boat captain, for there to be a vehicle like this to offer a platform for him to work from. I can think of nothing better than at the next skippers’ launch for a big race in Paris, for Tom to be there in his own right, and me to be sat in the audience.”  

“And it is terrible that Phil Sharp (who won the class last time) is not here, terrible. But I do think the Class 40’s are a great stepping stone.”

Goss is objective about his prospects, admitting that he is fiercely competitive and raring to go:



Multi Hulls at dock in St. Malo (Photo by Colin Merry)


Between ten and midday this morning it was time for the skippers to meet up and sit down for the first formal briefing of this ninth edition of the Route du Rhum La Banque Postale. Eighty six skippers attended and were addressed by Jean Maurel, the Race Director, Sylvie Viant who is in charge of the race committee, Pierre-Andre Saladay and Didier Querler, who are representatives of the 24F maritime survelliance, the Nantes customs, Stanislas-Xavier Azzis, representative of the 32 F maritime surveillance, Jean-Yves Chauve, doctor of the race, Didier Moreau, representative of the SNSM and mebers of CROSS. The key reminders about safety at sea were presented and points on the race Sailing Instructions were discussed.  



Nighttime at the St. Malo docks (Photo by Colin Merry)












Nighttime on Deck of DMS during the crossing to France with Pete Goss.  (Photo by Colin Merry)

Nighttime on Deck of DMS during the crossing to France with Pete Goss. (Photo by Colin Merry)

Pete Goss arrived in St Malo today and is making final preparations for his start of the Route du Rhum.    Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry made the delivery with Pete and had this to say about the trip.  “We left Plymouth at 1500hrs on Thursday and after an uneventful crossing arrived in St Malo at 0900hrs. the following morning.

DMS Underway to France for start of the Route du Rhum. (Photo by Colin Merry)

Pete Goss's Class 40 DMS underway to France for start of the Route du Rhum. (Photo by Colin Merry)


“Sailed all the way except for about three hours when the wind went light.!  It was a beautiful night and the full moon lighting the way was a bonus!  Unfortunately we still arrived just too late to lock into the inner basin so were put on a swinging mooring until the tide (which is in excess of 40′) flooded in.  We spent the day busy in the sun getting loads of last minute jobs done. In fact it was such a productive day we are now well placed and the DMS is almost ready to go!”

Stephanie Merry measuring DMS prior to departure from Plymouth, UK (Photo by Colin Merry)

Stephanie Merry measuring DMS prior to departure from Plymouth, UK (Photo by Colin Merry)

 ” Before leaving Plymouth Stephanie Merry (no relation) came to measure the boat.   This to pre-empt any problems when she is measured in St. Malo. The inner basin when we locked in was already full of boats of all kinds.  It made a very colourful sight in the October sun.”

(Photo by Colin Merry)

(Photo by Colin Merry)

Looking forward from cockpit on DMS dluring crossing to St. Malo, France. (Photo by Colin Merry)

Looking forward from cockpit on DMS during crossing to St. Malo, France. (Photo by Colin Merry)

Instruments onboard DMS during the crossing to France. (Photo by Colin Merry)

Instruments onboard DMS during the crossing to France. (Photo by Colin Merry)

Pete Goss on his new Class 40 Preparing for the Route Du Rhum (Photo by Colin Merry)

Pete Goss on his new Class 40 Preparing for the Route Du Rhum (Photo by Colin Merry)

Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry was aboard Pete’s Class 40 DMS as they made last preparations for his departure for St Malo, France for the start of the Route du Rhum.  He reported in that they reached speeds of 18 knots. Colin will update us on the delivery and preparations in France next week to St Malo to join 86 other skippers for the start of the Route du Rhum. 

 Pete is looking forward to his return to solo sailing aboard this brand new Class 40 racer and the Challenges of this 3500 mile grueling race.

Find out more about Pete Goss and Team Concise onboard Class 40 DMS HERE

Find out more about the Route du Rhum HERE


Final checks before launching Pete Goss's Class 40 DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)

Final checks before launching Pete Goss's Class 40 DMS (Photo by Colin Merry)


Below is a close-up numeric overview of this exceptional 2010 line-up in the Route du Rhum.

0: the number of skippers who will celebrate their birthday during the race. However, it is worth noting that Race Director Jean Maurel, will celebrate his 50th birthday on the arrival of the frontrunners in Guadeloupe, on 10th November.


1: the number of Olympic medallists registered in this 2010 edition. Indeed Damien Seguin (Class40 Des pieds et des mains) won silver at the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008 aboard a 2.4.


1: solely Tanguy De Lamotte, skipper of the Class40 Novedia Initiatives will be celebrated during the race as Saint Tanguy falls on 19th November in France.


2 x 2: the number of members of the same family competing in the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale. Hervé and Joris de Carlan, father and son. Franck-Yves and Servane Escoffier, uncle and niece.


3: the 60’ IMOCA monohulls launched this year, which will be taking the start. They comprise three VPLP/Verdier designs: PRB skippered by Vincent Riou (March), Virbac Paprec 3 helmed by Jean-Pierre Dick (May) and Foncia skippered by Michel Desjoyeaux (September).

3: the number of women competing in the race. Servane Escoffier (Saint-Malo 2015 in the Ultimate class), Christine Monlouis (Un monde bleu tout en vert in the Rhum Class) and Anne Caseneuve (Naviguez Anne Caseneuve in the Multi50).


3: the number of inhabitants of Saint Malo who will set sail for Pointe-à-Pitre. (Servane Escoffier in the Ultimate class, Franck-Yves Escoffier in Multi50 and Julien Mabit in the Rhum class).


5: the former winners of the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale competing again this year (Roland Jourdain, Thomas Coville in 1998, Lionel Lemonchois in 2006, Franck-Yves Escoffier in 2006 and 2002 and Michel Desjoyeaux in 2002 ).

5: the record number of participations in the Route du Rhum held by Francis Joyon (IDEC). 5: the number of inhabitants from Guadeloupe at the start of this 9th edition (In Class 40, Willy Bissainte, Jimmy Dreux and Philippe Fiston. In the Rhum class, Luc Coquelin and Christine Monlouis. Of note is the fact that the latter is the first woman from the region to compete in the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale).


5.25: the number of metres by which Gitana 11, the winning trimaran from the last edition with Lionel Lemonchois, has been extended.


7: the Class40s built in 2010 and registered for the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale. Four Pogo 40 S2s (Nicolas Troussel, Régis Guillemot, Damien Grimont and Jean-Edouard Criquioche), two Akilaria RC 2 (Philippe Fiston and Pete Goss) and one Tyker 40 Evolution (Eric Defert).  


7: the number of days required by Gitana 11, which was driven at a hellish pace by Lionel Lemonchois four years ago, to devour the Atlantic in one (7 days 17 hours 19′ 6”). This is the time needed to be improved on to be the fastest across the course.


7: the sailors registered in the Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale 2010 who have a record approved by the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council). Franck Cammas (Groupama 3), Francis Joyon (IDEC), Thomas Coville (Sodebo), Lionel Lemonchois (Prince de Bretagne), Sidney Gavignet (Oman Air Majan), Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia) and Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel).


10: the nationalities represented in this 9th edition (New Zealander, Italian, Dutch, Swiss, Belgian, German, Norwegian, Spanish, Finnish and American).


12: the size in metres of the smallest boat of the fleet. Her name is Acapella, Charlie Capelle’s trimaran and a sistership to the winning boat in 1978. She will take the start of the Rhum this year for the fourth time, a great feat considering she capsized off Spain in 2006.


22: the age of the youngest skipper of the event, Joris de Carlan. From nearby Saint Brieuc the youngster will set off on 31st October aboard the oldest boat of the fleet, Generik – Exp’hair, a 12.6 m boat built by his father and uncle in 1972 and launched in 1976.


22.50: the size of Groupama 3’s beam. As such Franck Cammas’ maxi-trimaran won’t be able to go through the locks of the port of Saint Malo. Instead she will be moored alongside the quay at the port station.


32: the size, in metres, of the largest boats of the fleet, the trimaran Sodebo skippered by Thomas Coville and Oman Air Majan skippered by Sidney Gavignet.


35: the number of amateurs competing in this Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale 2010. That amounts to 42% of the total number of participants.


60: the age of the oldest racer of the fleet, Gilbert Chollet. This Breton business manager, who has just recently retired, will be taking part in his first Route du Rhum – La Banque Postale in the Class40, Chimirec EVTV.


86: the number of skippers registered in this 9th edition. A record!


163: the size, in centimetres, of the smallest sailor in this 9th edition, Servane Escoffier.


3,543: the number of miles the 86 sailors will have to cover to get from Saint Malo to Pointe-à-Pitre.       

Final Rinse for DMS Boat and Crew (Photo by Colin Merry)

Final Rinse for DMS Boat and Crew (Photo by Colin Merry)

Pete Goss (Photo by Jim Merry)

A champagne toast for Pete Goss and Tony Lawson (Photo by Jim Merry)


West Country sailor Pete Goss has answered the question most asked of him in
recent years: “When are you returning to solo ocean racing?”  He announced
today that he is to compete in the gruelling Route du Rhum race later this

Pete has partnered with “Team Concise”, winners of last year’s Class 40
World Championship, to enter a brand new boat in the 3,500-mile race
commencing on Sunday 31st October 2010.

The Route du Rhum is a major fixture on the sailing calendar attracting a
fleet of more than 60 boats. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the race
village prior to the start off St Malo and watch the boats as they track
down the French coast before they head out across the Atlantic for the
Caribbean, finishing at Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadalupe.

Racing a Class 40 will be very different to his last challenge, sailing
‘Spirit of Mystery’, a 37-foot wooden lugger weighing 16-tonnes, to
Australia at an average speed of about 4 knots. A Class 40 weighs a quarter
of that and can sail at speeds in excess of 25 knots.

Challenge and Adventure’s Colin Merry attended today and was able to tour the boat.   Below is a gallery of photos of Concise up close.


Pete says that he is excited by the new boat Concise 2. During recent sail
trials it more than lived up to his expectations.  He said: “It has been a
few years since I have sailed such a fast, high-tech boat and the systems
have come on leaps and bounds. Concise2 is fun, responsive and eager to
please so I am looking forward to working up to, and competing in, the Route
du Rhum
. It’s one of the ‘greats’ that I have always wanted to do. The
competition will be tough, but I am going for a result and then looking
forward to enjoying Guadeloupe. Despite all my miles at sea I have never
sailed in the Caribbean. I just know I am going to love it.”

‘Team Concise’ is made up of two halves, with the current young World
Championship Crew working up the boat to defend their title in Gijon in July
before they compete in the Seven Star Round Britain and Ireland race. Pete
will be working in parallel with this programme until Concise 2  moves to
Plymouth in August when he will start his own full time preparations.
According to Pete, “mixing it up with the young guns” will be a tremendous
help as he gets to know the boat.

The 48-year-old from St John in Cornwall is no stranger to sailing solo in
high performance boats though. He is perhaps best known for his
extraordinary single-handed rescue of Frenchman and fellow competitor
Raphael Dinelli during a severe Southern Ocean storm in the 1996 Vendee
, for which he was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty The Queen and the
Legion d’Honneur by the President of France.

It is this sort of experience that Pete brings to the ISAF World
Championship winning team. Team Concise owner Tony Lawson said: “This is a
truly symbiotic relationship. Pete will race a brand new boat prepared by my
boys as part of his short-handed offshore racing program. Meanwhile we can
benefit from the advice and inspiration of this world-renowned offshore
sailor, building on our knowledge base as we prepare for bigger challenges
ahead. We hope it is the start of a long-term relationship”.

 Asked if this race signals a return to a career as a solo ocean racer, Pete
said: “I have never had a career, just a series of adventures and who knows
where this one will lead. I never say never, so let’s see where this takes

Pete’s entry in the race has been made possible thanks to the support of
silver sponsors including: Girlings, Talisker, CSR and a fourth one to be
announced shortly; but he is still looking for a title sponsor. So if you
want to become part of the Team and support Pete’s return to solo ocean
sailing, please contact him through the website www.petegoss.com .


BBC cameraman taking video onboard Concise (Photo by Colin Merry)

 Open Day