The Grand Pavois Organisation (GPO) took over the helm of the Rallye des Iles du Soleil (RIDS) in December 2012; subscriptions opened following the official signature at Nautic de Paris, where GPO hosted a stand in the event colours.
Fernando do Noronha in Brazil, an ideal stopover - Rallye des Iles du Soleil
At the time, the interest aroused at the Paris boat show allowed us to believe that the RIDS would attract a large enough number of boats to be able to organise the 2013 edition, bearing in mind that the set target was from 20 to 25 boats at the start. Unfortunately, to date GPO has only six firm subscriptions, and despite several contacts, many boat-owners have told us that they are unable to put their project together in the few months before the departure date.
It has to be said that GPO feels it must postpone this 2013 edition until 2014, to be able to offer the best possible conditions of welcome, of exploration and of sharing in this wonderful rally to the Brazilian coast and sailing up the Amazon.
To make the most of the promotion and development of the 2014 edition, GPO and the Rallye des Iles du Soleil will be present at Southampton, England (from September 13 – 22 2013); at Grand Pavois (La Rochelle, 25 – 30 September 2013) and at Nautic de Paris (6 – 15 December 2013). Visitors will be able to receive all the necessary information, discuss it with the organising team, finalise their project and confirm their subscriptions.
The departure point will be La Rochelle in the Charente-Maritime. A Rally village will be open around the 'Bassin des Chalutiers' in La Rochelle to welcome crews, route partners, journalists, families, children and the general public. The first stage of the Rally will be to the volcanic archipelago of Madeira. The crossing of the Gulf of Gascony will be the time to test out the equipment and crews. Around a week’s sailing before meeting up with the other participants. The entire fleet will set off from Madeira at the beginning of October, heading for Lanzarote, the principal arrival port in the Canaries.
After four days at Lanzarote, the boats will be completely free to explore the Canary Island archipelago before reaching Tenerife for a last European stage. Participants will then set off for Cape Verde, to the Isle of Sal, to complete the entry formalities. A stage of around a month will allow teams the freedom to visit some of the islands of this archipelago, such as Boa Vista, São Nicolau or Santo Antão. The entire fleet will meet up again at the marina of Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente, birthplace of the bare-foot ambassadress of Cape Verde, Césoria Evora! A last Atlantic stage offering time for restocking supplies, for preparing for the Trans-Atlantic crossing and will allow for crew changes to be carried out.
The crossing from Sao Vicente to Salvador (in the State of Bahia) will take, depending on the boats and the prevailing weather conditions, between 12 and 17 days’ sailing, during which you will pass through the Doldrums and cross the equator, perhaps for the first time.
This sailing back up the north-east coast of Brazil will be a magnificent part of the RIDS. After Fortaleza and its magnificent All Saints Bay, 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 Belem, situated 50 miles away to the south: entry port for the Amazon.
Fabulous high point of this Rallye des Iles du Soleil, 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 Isles du Soleil Rally comes to an end, after sailing this legendary river for almost 30 days.