Nine months after the high-tension outcome of the single-handed round the world race, 158 skippers will be in the start of the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV) race, i.e. 79 boats spread over four classes: the Ultim (32 m ) and the Ocean Fifty (15 m) in multihulls and the Imoca (the 18 m boats of the Vendée Globe) and the Class 40 (12 m) in monohulls.
The start will be given on Sunday at 13:27 off the coast of Le Havre for an unprecedented destination in the history of this race: Martinique. With another innovation: three courses are proposed to allow a group shooting of the arrivals of the winners of each class in a window of 5 to 7 days.
What to maintain a suspense during the fifteen days announced to cross the Atlantic after a departure which should be thunderous while the wind should blow between 18 and 23 knots (from 33 to 42 km / h approximately) without dismantling the sea.
“The standing boats”
“It will be spectacular! The boats will be standing, it will be like in the parking lot of the super U on Sunday morning!”, Rejoices to AFP Romain Attanasio, skipper of one of the 22 Imoca (Fortinet Best Western) of the race. “It’s going to be beautiful. These boats (with their foils) are also impressive when they fly very high. Sometimes they stall, it makes you gag like in the elevator, it’s astonishing”.
At his side will also be under the spotlight the winner of the Vendée Globe 2020 Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq), but also his runner-up, the Normand Charlie Dalin (Apivia), as well as Jérémie Beyou (Charal), big favorite of the last Vendée Globe. victim of several damage (13th).
The Paul-Vatine basin where all the sailboats are moored is in turmoil like never before. So many boats is unprecedented.
“There is a Vendée Globe effect, that’s for sure. And this effect does not shine only on the Imoca class but on ocean racing in general”, underlines Dalin, for whom “this race is also a test”.
“Will the public continue to follow, will they be there? It will be interesting, will the momentum, the inertia given by the Vendée continue. We would all like to” he hopes.
Ahead of the Imoca, the five Ultimes, these ultra-flying maxi-trimarans, which are making a comeback after their setbacks during the Route du Rhum 2018, will spin at full speed.
Armel Le Cléac’h / Kevin Escoffier (Banque Populaire XI), Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier (Maxi Edmond de Rothschild), Thomas Coville / Thomas Rouxel (Sodebo Ultim 3), François Gabart / Tom Laperche (SVR Lazartigue) and Yves Le Blévec and Anthony Marchand (Actual Ultim 3) are in a hurry to do battle.
With the exception of Actual 3, all are of the latest generation and two – Banque Populaire XI and SVR Lazartigue – will make their first steps in competition.
“We have a race which is long, 15 days on the scale of an Ultim is a third of a round the world”, warns Le Cléac’h.
The course dedicated to them should have its share of surprises.
“There are two doldrums except for the Class 40. There is a bit of suspense as to which class will come first with this story. The doldrums are random. During the Jules Verne Trophy (record for around the world with a crew) we thought we could get through it in about ten hours. We took 24 hours, ”comments Cammas.
For Coville, the fleet “will make a good course”. “We are going to cross the Bay of Biscay, then there will be the trade winds, the doldrums, again the trade winds at the level of Brazil, and we will go up the doldrums. We go through a lot of weather systems. be an incredible speed race for the Ultim 5. Just like in Moto GP! “
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Transat Jacques Vabre: the fantastic crossing of the Atlantic