Hoist the sails

The Rum Route and the Year of Hope

Hissons les voiles 01
The Rum Route, a solo race of 91 yachts over the 6560 Kms between Saint Malo (France) and Pointe-à Pitre (Guadeloupe) is in full swing in atrocious weather conditions. Sr Rhona Burns, in community in Rennes and administrator at the social centre “Carrefour 18”, tells us how this almost mythical competition allowed her to make the link with the “Year of Hope” launched by the diocese.

hissons les voiles guide
In the “Guide to Hope”, our Archbishop asks us: “Is our community a “Church that goes out”, that give hope?”

When I asked myself this question, I said to: “Yes, after the experience of the social centres’ project of participating for a day in all the events surrounding the departure of the Rum : there I felt that I was part of “a community of missionary disciples who take the initiative, who get involved, who accompany, who are fruitful, who celebrate”.

We did it :

. when we worked as a team for months to put together an ambitious project : assembling a dossier, defending the project before different committees in order to raise the funds, making all the arrangements.

Hoping is first of all believing that you can be “inhabitants in action”, actors in the life around you.


Hissons les voiles le Blosne 02bis. when we got together and enthused sixty people from different origins, with very limited resources, and who live in mixed and sensitive urban neighbourhoods.Our objective was to enlarge the horizons of these people who live in tower blocks and who know nothing about yachting or the world of the sea.

Hoping is believing that it is possible to live together and to leave behind an often difficult daily existence, even if it is only for a day.

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Hissons les voiles 02

.when we arrived in Saint Malo and visited the Village along the quays, toured the port basins in an inflatable boat to admire the flotilla of yachts being prepared, ate oysters and picnicked on the old sailing ship Le Renard. We then took the time to marvel at the giant trimaran Spindrift 2, the largest multihull ever built.

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Hoping is when you see a child discover the old Pirate City and hear him say, “Wicked man!” or when an elderly woman who lives alone says, “I rarely go out, but today …!”

. when we talked with a skipper of a yacht, competing in support of a charity, and an “adventurer” who knew how to share his passion for sailing and his engagement with the group. The youngest participant this year, 19 years old, wasn’t allowed to sail in 2010 as he was still a minor. The oldest, 75 years old, a renowned English skipper, has called his boat Grey Power. Listening to our skipper, we the “earth bound”, said to ourselves, “We’ll never do something like that!”

We can however, hope to live life to the full, face up to the challenges in our own lives, and try to surpass our own limits.

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And if I became a missionary disciple? The experience of participating in this project has given me new energy to live out the Year of Hope. It’s launched me on my own personal challenge, as I ask myself, “What am I doing with the life that God has given me? Will I accept to get involved in the “our Father’s great project of love”? What’s my passion? How am I going to live it out?” They say that the Rum has to be earned. “Before winning you have to know how to finish!” Well, I’m ready to set course and attempt the adventure. Hoist the sails, my friends!

Rhona Burns fj


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