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A Transat Jacques Vabre full of promise

by Soazig Guého 21 Sep 2017 21:44 BST 20 September 2017
13th Transat Jacques Vabre Press Conference at the Champs-Élysées © Jean-Marie Liot

The calibre of the 39 crew and 78 sailors registered for the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre promises a high-flying competition, with a race of rare quality and depth.

From Le Havre to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, the four classes of offshore sailing boats (Class40, Multi 50, IMOCA60 and Ultime) will compete over a 4,350-mile course full of hurdles, squalls and excitement. On Wednesday, at the Pavillon Champs-Elysées in Paris, they were all present, eager to head out to sea, boots and oilies ready to cross the start line on Sunday, November 5.

Last stop, everybody onboard! This Wednesday the great offshore racing family came together at the Pavilion Champs-Elysées for the press conference of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. It was a family reunion hosted by Xavier Mitjavila, President of JDE France, and Luc Lemonnier, Mayor of Le Havre, who immediately invited the competitors and the general public to come and celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Normandy city in the grandest fashion. October 27, the opening day of the 13th edition of this Route du Café, marks the culmination of several weeks of festivities in Le Havre, which saw the birth of the maritime and commercial routes to Brazil. And it will be around the Bassin Paul Vatine in Le Havre that the atmosphere will most passionate, with ten days of festivities and a warm welcome that the competitors and the general public always greatly appreciate.

The countdown has begun

There will be a keen edge to this Transat Jacques Vabre. From the abundance of Class40 duos (17), to the IMOCA60 sailors in a hurry to get back out to sea, with some exciting marriages of crews, all with different outlooks (13 crews), to the Multi 50, where they are champing at the bit to show what the foils can do (6 crews), to the 3 Ultime competitors, for whom this racetrack is the beginning a round the world voyage. From the suits in Paris to the boots on the pontoons of Le Havre, the hunger and smiles will be evident on faces of the skippers, who have started the countdown to the Transat jacques Vabre. D - 46 before the start.


Xavier Mitjavila, President of JDE France: "More than ever, coffee and the Jacques Vabre brand will be at the heart of this 13th edition. When we created this race with the city of Le Havre more than 20 years now, it was to remember the history of the Route du Café. That's why the Transat Jacques Vabre will be the chance for the brand to help you discover and taste its different crus gathered from the greatest coffee-growing areas around the world. For a week, in the Race Village in Le Havre, visitors can travel the world, stop in Brazil in the region of Bahia and then in Popayan, Colombia. They will even be able to sail on board the boat, the Etoile de Molène, to discover Atiya in Honduras."

Luc Lemonnier, Mayor of Le Havre and President of CODAH: "There is already a lot of history between the Transat Jacques Vabre and Le Havre, and the start of this race is always a spectacular event. But this year it will be particularly special, for the crews as well as the spectators. The Transat will close the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of Le Havre, as a highlight that will simultaneously be a reminder of our maritime vocation."

José Alves, Secretary of Tourism, Bahia: "The fact that Salvador and Le Havre are two historic towns recognised by UNESCO as world heritage sites is a great addition to the visibility of the event. It is a real opportunity to unite our two cities. The race will once again put the Bay of All Saints on the international stage."

Cláudio Tinoco, Secretary of Tourism, Salvador: "We are conscious of the nautical potential of the Bay of All Saints, which is why we want to attract major international events such as the longest transat. We are working on our nautical tourism and we strongly believe that this will be a great moment for the city."

Maxime Sorel, V&B (Class40): "It's a new destination for us. We're going to line up at the start hoping to be among the frontrunners. In 2015, victory escaped us by an hour. Antoine (Carpentier) and I've done a lot of preparation and we competed on the circuit together this season. The boat is going fast and the improvements made are working well."

Aymeric Chappellier, Aïna Enfance & Avenir (Class40): "I know the course, having done it in the Mini 6.50, and it's a great race. Some parts are a lottery, but you have to put everything into it from the start to get in the lead group. The competition will be hot because there are several new boats and some great sailors. The Class40 is constantly renewing itself, it's always evolving."

Erwan Le Roux, FenêtréA-Mix Buffet (Multi 50): "This will be the first large-scale race for Multi 50 with foils. Beyond the competition, this Transat Jacques Vabre promises to be a great adventure. There have never been so many serious competitors. It's the race of renewal. It will be super interesting at sea and to follow from land I think. With Vincent Riou, the sharing of knowledge is of particular importance. We both have things to learn from each other."

Fabrice Amedeo, Newrest-Brioche Pasquier (IMOCA60): "This will be my second Transat Jacques Vabre and I'll probably be on the attack more than on the previous edition, when I was in discovery mode a bit. I will wait until I've finished this race before modifying the boat. Giancarlo Pedote is at the top of his game, we're going to be a great team and give it everything."

Isabelle Joschke, Generali (IMOCA60): "This is one of the great offshore races, along with the Route du Rhum and the Vendée Globe. This racecourse means a lot to me because it's the same one I did 10 years ago on my two Mini-Transats. Brazil was my destination when I first raced across the Atlantic. I also know Le Havre. For my first race in an IMOCA, this transat is perfect."

Jean-Pierre Dick, St Michel-Virbac (IMOCA60): "I haven't won a race since 2011, so there is the desire to do well, to win this race. We have a good duo, a good boat, there are many elements that have come together to make me optimistic. We'll have to believe in ourselves all the way to the end and not make the mistakes that can end your chances. This race is important."

Sebastien Josse, Maxi Edmond de Rothschild (Ultime): "This Transat Jacques Vabre is very timely. First of all, it's a race that I like above all others because it makes it possible to sail the boats to their greatest potential, and then also, it will allow our new foiling trimaran to compete with the others. Thomas Coville and Jean-Luc Nélias know how to handle Sodebo already, so we're going to be pushing non-stop and it will be a first big challenge for Thomas Rouxel and I."