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60 boats on the start line and a major new partner for the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre

60 boats on the start line and a major new partner for the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre

The 14th edition of the “Route du Café” – the world’s longest and toughest two-handed transatlantic sailing race - will have 60 boats on the start line on October 27 and a major new title partner: the Région Normandie, organisers announced at the official launch on Tuesday, September 17, at the Eiffel Tower Theater in Paris.

A new partner, a new name

The Région Normandie (the administrative body promoting and developing the Normandy region), a partner of the race since 2017, is working alongside the two founding partners, Le Havre and Jacques Vabre, to develop this event, which has strong Normandy roots. With a financial commitment almost four times higher than in 2017, the Région is becoming a major partner of the event.

“The Région Normandie is really happy to be strengthening its support for this race, which contributes to the economic, touristic and sporting development of our region," Hervé Morin, chairman of the Région Normandie, said.

60 duos, 120 skippers

The 2019 edition is already shaping up to be historic. This is the first time since the creation of the “Route du Café” in 1993 that so many competitors have wanted to brave the Atlantic double-handed. There will be 60 duos from 10 nations, that is 124 sailors, spread across the three classes of boat - 27 Class40, 3 Multi 50 and 30 IMOCA - who will be on the start line in Le Havre on Sunday, October 27 and heading to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. The list of entries for this long and challenging transatlantic race includes many potential winners and exceptional duos and skippers from all horizons: Swiss, German, Belgian, British, American, Irish, Finnish, Italian, Turkish and Japanese, not to mention the 12 new boats (6 Class40 and 6 IMOCA), who everyone will be keeping an eye on.

The Transat Jacques Vabre Normandy Le Havre remains the longest transatlantic race at 4,350 miles. It is a challenging route, fraught with meteorological pitfalls, which has become a much-anticipated fixture in the offshore racing calendar.

Competition, partnership, demanding, solidarity, patience – these, and so many more words will express the story of these sailors throughout their crossing.

Le Havre, a city in celebration

From the opening of the festival race village, on Friday, October 18 at 14:00 (local time), the public will be find the 60 boats in the Bassin Paul Vatine in Le Havre.

The Transat Jacques Vabre Normandy Le Havre is particularly highlighting sustainable development this year with engaging activities such as the Ocean as Common exhibition, the collaborative fresco of Teuthis that will be given to the UN to raise awareness about the safeguarding of the oceans, and the #NoPlasticChallenge - a challenge to reduce our plastic consumption.

Activities and shows will punctuate the 10 days of the village, culminating in a high point: the firework display on Saturday, October 26 at 20:00.

They said:

Hervé Morin, chairman of the Normandy Region
“Events like the Transat Jacques Vabre help to strengthen Normandy as a major maritime region, a land of sailing that is attractive and is well-known nationally and internationally. I would like to wish the Normandy skippers, in particular, good luck and salute the involvement of the Normandy sailing league and all the volunteers who make this competition such a success.”

Jean-Baptiste Gastinne, mayor of Le Havre
“We are happy to host the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre, a must-see event for the people of Le Havre who have had this race in their hearts for over 25 years. The longest double-hand ocean race is indeed an adventure “havraise”: since its creation the race has been starting from the Porte Océane and it highlights that Le Havre is one of the great sailing cities and the leading French port for the coffee trade.”

Juan Amat, Presidente of Jacques Vabre
“It is a real pride for the JDE group and the Jacques Vabre brand to be the co-founders of this major event in the sailing calendar, that has remained faithful to its origins by still tracing the major coffee maritime routes. Who is better-placed than JDE, number one in the coffee market in France to tell the story of the “Route du Café?
“The Transat Jacques Vabre is an exceptional sporting and human adventure. Few events can claim such success.
“I welcome the
Région Normandie, and wish the 120 skippers involved in this 14th edition an excellent crossing.”

Jérémie Beyou, Charal (IMOCA)
“I only have good memories of the Transat Jacques Vabre. I’m so proud to have won it in 2011 with Jean-Pierre Dick. I find that this race renews itself with every edition while keeping its fundamentals: a race course that looks like a start of a circumnavigation of the globe with all its challenges, great competition on the water, and new boats. It is unmissable. This year, the fleet is so high quality, everyone has sailed a lot. The first ten places will be very close, Christopher (Pratt) and I will spare nothing to be on the podium!”

Maxime Sorel, V and B Mayenne, (IMOCA)
“The Transat Jacques Vabre is two things: the build-up in Le Havre, where the atmosphere is always incredible, and the race itself - so intense! I like double-handed  because it’s all about partnership. The pain and the pleasure of living together! This edition promises some great battles at all levels, I cannot wait to see how we measure up against my mates. Being in the IMOCA is new to me (Sorel and Antoine Carpentier won the Class40 in 2017) and I will probably learn an enormous amount.”

Thibaut Vauchel-Camus, ASERP Platoon Solidarity (Multi 50)
“There will be a lot of new faces this year in the Multi 50 class and also in the IMOCA and Class40. This is what is great about the Transat Jacques Vabre: there are the great old campaigners and new kids on the block who come from other classes. There is a great mix of generations. I like this race because it marries beautifully the competition and the festival parts at the beginning and at the finish.”

Aymeric Chappellier, Aina, (Class40)
“I love the Transat Jacques Vabre. Firstly, it's so great to arrive in Salvador de Bahia, and then this racecourse requires a lot of commitment. Both physically, because as a duo, you push the boat 100%, and mentally, because you have to rack your brains on what strategy you’re going to follow. Winter depressions, trade winds, the doldrums, southern hemisphere trade winds – it’s fascinating. My objective? I already said it two years ago and I say it again: to win!”

Basile Bourgnon, Edenred (Class40)

“I’ve been dreaming about the Transat Jacques Vabre a long time. My father (Laurent Bourgnon) won it with my uncle (Yvan Bourgnon) in 1997, and it feels really strange to getting ready for the start. It is a great chance that Manu (Emmanuel Le Roch) offered me to get on board. I’m very excited to be sailing from Le Havre alongside the best skippers in the world.”