A dream come true
Emmanuel Le Roch, 50, dreamed of this adventure from an early age. After a first failed attempt in 2018, the skipper of Edenred arrived in Pointe-à-Pitre on Friday evening local time in a joyful and festive atmosphere, just like him. His family, his team, his friends and skippers gave him the warmest welcome at the Memorial Act pontoon. “Cutting that finish line is really heart warming! When I saw La Désirade this morning, I said to myself, that's it, I've achieved my dream thanks to Edenred, which has placed its trust in me for this new Route du Rhum. I am very happy."
If Emmanuel Le Roch already has two Transat Jacques Vabre under his belt, this Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe was his first solo transatlantic race. Sixteen days of racing during which the skipper of Edenred revealed himself. Cautious during the first days of the race in the passage of violent fronts, Emmanuel fought mile after mile to climb back to 13th place, before a forced stopover in the Azores to repair a broken bulkhead on his Class40. This 7-hour pit-stop allows him to set off again in the best conditions without giving up too much time on his competitors. “This 12th place has a special flavor, it took a lot of commitment to get there. I fought like a dog until the end with Ian Lipinski. He came back to me when I was 10 miles ahead of Bouillante. I was at 2 knots, he was at 9. He hardly stopped, I was like crazy. I didn't give up..." explains Emmanuel Le Roch.
“I slept with the survival suit next to me”
Emmanuel admits having taken no pleasure on the first part of the course. “Upwind, the scow is really hell. I felt like the boat was going to smash into pieces under my feet. I slept with my TPS (survival suit) next to me. This is to say that I was not serene, and yet I am not someone who is stressed by nature. Really, it was hot, the boat was bouncing, and I thought it was going to crash in every wave. After the Azores in steady trade winds, downwind, we raced down the track like crazy. It was really a great second part of the race, with the match, the world to catch up, the game all the time."
Of the 55 competitors entered in Class40, 18 were forced to retire and 22 are still in the race. This 12th place is a great achievement for Emmanuel Le Roch, a performance hailed by Bertrand Dumazy, Chairman and CEO of Edenred: "A huge congratulations to Emmanuel who sailed with ambition, courage and determination. Despite his brief stopover in the Azores, he was able to get back into the race and finished in 12th place. I am happy that he was able to realize his childhood dream: to participate and finish this legendary Route du Rhum. This is a second successful transatlantic for the Class40 Edenred. The 10,000 employees of the Edenred Group and I look forward to continuing the adventure in 2023.”