24 hours non-stop at the helm
Exhausted but relieved to have saved his boat, Emmanuel set foot back on land on Tuesday in the port of Funchal, Madeira. With no autopilot and the constant threat of his mast collapsing, Emmanuel had to dig deep. “The last few hours felt more like a fight for survival. It’s unbelievable what you can find within yourself in conditions like that. I’d never experienced anything like it before. I tried everything to fix the boat, all possible solutions, but in the end I had to accept that getting back in the race would have been too dangerous,” explained Emmanuel when he arrived. Competition rules state that boats are only allowed to make one technical stop, and Emmanuel had already stopped for a few hours in Spain on the fourth day of the race for a first series of repairs. Since the start in Saint-Malo, Brittany, on Sunday November 4, the skippers have had to deal with particularly tough weather conditions: over 40 competitors of the 123 that lined up at the start have already been forced to shorten their race.
“The start of the Route du Rhum, it’s indescribable”
Emmanuel Le Roch has been dreaming of sailing the Route du Rhum since he was a child. Involved as either a spectator or a preparator in previous years, he is glad to have now raced in such a mythical event. Even if he won't experience arriving at the finish line in Guadeloupe, he will remember the best parts of his journey. “It was just incredible to make my dream come true. Everything about the challenge is so intense – the preparation, the week in Saint-Malo, getting involved with the public, the family, Edenred. And then, all of a sudden, you find yourself alone on board at the start line. All of your emotions are tenfold. From a sporting point of view, I was happy with the start of my race. I felt comfortable on the boat, I had a good amount of speed and I didn’t feel as though the sea was against me, even though I’d never experienced so many depressions one after another. The wind wasn’t an issue, there were times I was at 50+ knots, but the sea was epic,” said Emmanuel. And if he had to do it all again? “In a heartbeat! It’s a unique sporting and personal challenge,” concluded the Edenred skipper.
8,000 Edenred supporters following the race
From Brazil to Singapore, via Mexico, Italy and France, the Edenred Group support to Emmanuel Le Roch has become a true internal project, generating commitment in the 45 countries where Edenred is present. Over the last few weeks, 8,000 employees have become Emmanuel Le Roch supporters.
“Edenred can be proud of having helped Emmanuel to realize his dream of taking part in his first Route du Rhum. He was a fantastic ambassador for the Group, taking risks, demonstrating bravery throughout an exceptionally difficult race, and keeping a positive mindset in all circumstances. This project is an inspiration for each one of us. It is only the beginning of a beautiful story,” said Bertrand Dumazy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Edenred Group.