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Southern Spars - North Technology

Rallye des Iles du Soleil - Journey of a thousand and one discoveries

by Veronique Largeau on 25 Oct 2013
Fernando do Noronha in Brazil, an ideal stopover - Rallye des Iles du Soleil 2012 P. Garenne / GPO
In the 2014 Rally, the 'Rallye des Iles du Soleil' (RIDS) will take its participants to dream destinations. For six months, sailors taking part will cruise from point to point, dropping anchor in heavenly spots, carefully selected to carry out re-provisioning and respond to any technical possible requirements. They will discover the inhabitants, the culture, the flora and fauna of the countries visited. Six months of adventure and discovery: a journey with a thousand and one aspects!

Presented at Grand Pavois 2013, in its basic version the RIDS proposes a departure from Madeira (Portugal), an Atlantic crossing then a run along the Brazilian coast, knowing that the main interest of the Rally remains sailing up the Amazon, which sets off from Belém. Important information: it is possible for other participants to reach Belém in their own way, so as to take part in the second stage only - sailing up the Amazon. This new idea allows crews already present on the other side of the Atlantic to join the flotilla, and follow this second part of the route in complete safety.

Departure is set for September 2014, from the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira. To reach it, the crossing of the Gulf of Biscay will be an opportunity to test out both equipment and crew. It's about a week's sailing from leaving Europe, before meeting up with the other participants. The entire fleet will then set off for Lanzarote, the first port of arrival in the Canary Islands. After four days in Lanzarote, the boats will be completely free to explore the Canary archipelago before heading for Tenerife, for the last European stage. Participants will then set sail for Cap Verde, towards island of Sal, to complete the entry formalities. A stopover of around a month will allow time to visit, in your own time, some of the islands in the archipelago, such as Boa Vista, Sao Nicolau or Santo Antao. The entire fleet will meet up at the marina of Mindelo, on Sao Vicente Island, birthplace of the barefoot ambassadress of Cape Verde, Césoria Evora! A last Atlantic stopover will be partly given over to victualling and preparing for the Transatlantic, and will allow for crew changeovers.

The crossing from Sao Vicente – Salvador de Bahia will take between 12 and 17 days' sailing, depending on the boats and the climatic conditions encountered, during which time competitors will pass through the Doldrums and cross the Atlantic, perhaps for the first time.


Sailing back up the northeast coast of Brazil: what a magnificent part of the RIDS! After Fortaleza and its magnificent Bay of All Saints, where a few days off will be a ‘must’, the fleet will go on to João Pessoa. The capital of the state of Paraiba is the most easterly point of the Americas. It will be the departure point for a short trip to the magical archipelago – because it has been protected – of Fernando de Noronha (editor’s note: the Brazilian Galapagos). A magical, well-organised anchorage, where all the formalities will have been dealt with before the participants’ arrival. Diving and hiking will be on the crews’ programmes, in an exceptionally well-preserved land and underwater setting.

After that, head for Ilha dos Lençios in the state of Maranhao. This archipelago of islands and islets will be the second-last stop before starting the approach to the Amazon. Beautiful, wild beaches, sand dunes, mangroves: Ilha dos Lençios is a place apart, from every point of view. Then, head for Soure, on the island of Marajó. The fleet is then just a few cable-lengths away from Belém, situated 50 miles away to the south: entry port for the Amazon.


Fabulous high point of this 'Rallye des Iles du Soleil' (RIDS), from now on the participants will have an extraordinary experience: sailing on the most powerful river in the world, the Amazon. With several stops along the way, as well as navigating in the Amazon’s narrowest tributaries, this will be the chance to explore this outstanding natural area, its luxuriant flora, and above all the unbelievable warmth of its inhabitants. This Amazon expedition, from Belém onwards, must be undertaken in convoy, preceded by an accompanying boat at a speed of six to 6.5 knots. Once the Cotijuba lighthouse is left on the right (starboard), the fleet will head for Sao Sebastio de Boa Vista, then Araras, Portel, Porto do Moz, Almeirim, Hovo Horizonte; then return on the extreme north of Marajo island, Afua. It’s in this town that the 'Rallye des Iles du Soleil' (RIDS) comes to an end, after sailing this legendary river for almost 30 days.

Route (please be aware that this may change, depending on permits received):
- Departure point: Madeira (Portugal)
- Escale to Lanzarote (Canaries - Spain) – 290 nautical miles
- Free sailing around the Canary archipelago
- Tenerife (Canaries - Spain)
- Escale to Sal Island (Cape Verde) – 800 nautical miles
- Free sailing around the Cape Verde archipelago
- Escale to Mindelo, Sao Vicente Island (Cape Verde)
- Transatlantique
- Escale to Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) – 1980 nautical miles
- Possible sailing around the Bay of All Saints
- Escale to Joa Pessoa (Brazil) – 450 nautical miles
- Escale to Fernando do Noronha (Brazil) – 240 nautical miles
- Escale to Fortaleza (Brazil) – 360 nautical miles
- Escale to Ilha dos Lençois (Brazil) – 410 nautical miles
- Escale to Soure (Brazil) – 230 nautical miles
- Escale to Belém (Brazil) – 50 nautical miles
- Transamazone Route via Sao Sebastiao de Boa Vista, Araras, Portel, Lac, Liverpool, Mojui, Macacos, Porto do Moz, Almeirim, Novo Horizonte, Mojui, Serraria and Afua.
Event website

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