Wow do the French take these races seriously!
Peter from Boatshed Hamble thought that it would be fun to join Colin for the opening of Boatshed St Malo, and to take in the start of the Route du Rhum.
More than 80 boats take off on Sunday for Guadeloupe, from the humungous mxi trimarans, Idec, Groupama, Oman Sail Majan and Sodebo, down to a super hot fleet of 44 Class 40s including the only Brit Pete Goss.
All the boats have to be in the St Malo harbour basins a week before the start, and an incredible race village sets up around them, with everything from West Indian food, rum and music, to local sea shanty singers and a son et lumiere show on the old town walls. Over 1.2 million people will have strolled the quays in the week, and about 300,000 are expected on Sunday for the start, with about 50,000 of those including Peter, Colin & Neil on the water. If there is 10 knots or more, most 20 knot spectator boats won't keep up with the big guys!
Here are a couple of photos to put you in the mood. We will give you an update after the start.