Allaire’s Route du Rhum attempt will cost over 200 Euros per nautical mile, or more than 50,000 Euros a day. That’s the tab for entering, equipping and insuring a record-breaking trimaran. It may seem extravagant, but is a steal compared to the estimated $100 million cost of putting together an America’s Cup challenge.
An abundance of transatlantic races suggests that public and commercial interest is undiminished. In the last year we’ve had the Mini Transat, Transat Jacques Vabre, Defi Atlantique, Le Transat, Quebec – St Malo (won by Guadeloupe-based Luc Cocquelin on Marina Fort Louis Ile de St Martin) and the ARC. Next May sees the glamorous 2005 Rolex Transatlantic Challenge from New York to the Lizard for monohulls over 70ft.
For those without the cash to launch a challenge, the cost of participating is not necessarily out of reach. Pete Cumming of Pure Sailing (www.puresailing.co.uk), who run the Volvo 60 Spirit, explained to All At Sea that spots are regularly available in the Atlantic races for paying crew. The price range runs from 1,500 pounds for the recent Antigua to Falmouth UK Atlantic Challenge to 500 pounds to build up sea miles in preparation for the next ARC. These prices cover food and drink, sailing kit and equipment.
But if you really want to keep control of the bills, go back to 2003 and emulate the magnificent Berque twins. The French duo, Maximilien and Emmanuel, sailed from the Canary islands to Guadeloupe in 27 days on their self-built 21 ft Micromegas 3.
The outrigger had no compass, charts or autopilot and the pair lived on just 60 liters of water. And in a neat piece of symmetry, who was the inspiration for their feat? One Laurent Bourgnon, who, years before winning the Route du Rhum twice on Primagaz, famously crossed the Atlantic on a Hobie Cat 18.