The biennial ROUTE Halifax Saint-Pierre race to Europe’s westernmost archipelago was established in 2002 and has since become a popular North American event. This year, 25 teams will be sailing against each other from Halifax to St. Pierre, the capital of the French collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. New for this year is the inclusion of 6 CLASS 40 boats that bring together seasoned and beginner crews on 40 foot deep-sea monohulls.
This year’s race is shaping up to be a combination tactical coastal race up along the Nova Scotia coastline followed by a downwind run to Saint Pierre. As the cold Labrador Current meets the warm Gulf Stream, fog, intense currents and violent winds usually hamper teams on their run to the French archipelago.
For the Saint Pierre locals, the race is also a chance to celebrate, and celebrate they do, with 5 days of festivities on the island's waterfront. Following the race, teams will parade through the streets of Saint-Pierre then proceed to offer a maple tree to the town, as a symbol of Franco-Canadian friendship.
Finally, there’s even more racing, albeit lighthearted, as the Grand Prix that follows takes host families and race volunteers on a romp around the French archipelago’s islands.
All photos (c) Tim Wright