A story of 2

In 1993, the town of Le Havre and the brand Jacques Vabre founded the Transat Jacques Vabre. The first edition of the race was run as a solo race, however the spirit of “two” had was in the air…

and from 1995 the Transat race would become a double handed race. The rule would be put in place very quickly.

The origins of the Transat Jacques Vabre are based on historical maritime Atlantic routes: the latest of these tie in with the economic growth between the American and European continents and the first Transat Jacques Vabre which would link Le Havre to Cartagena (Colombia) being the centre of the coffee routes. Jacques Vabre and the town of Le Havre celebrate this maritime route like the Tea Tour (from Hong Kong to London) or the Gold Route (from New York to San Francisco).

This commercial coffee route’s humble origins started in 1728 when just 80 pounds of coffee grain was offloaded in the port of Le Havre...

Le Havre, a sailing town

Le Havre, the largest town in Normandy, likes to develop its qualities: being the only deep water marina that is accessible 24 hours a day regardless of the tides, with an exceptional sailing area, excellent thermal winds, four-star sailing centre and area for practicing all manner of water sports, … renders it France’s leading marina on the Atlantic Channel coastline.

Its geographic position has meant that it has become over the course of the years one of France’s top five destinations for water sports.

Le Havre Jacques Vabre
Le Havre-Jacques Vabre,
the strength of two

The rule of two has been a constant on this race. Two sailors, two ports, a biannual race and above all two major partners who have beaten the path to defend the fundamental human, sporting and environmental principles that the race is based on


Since the first edition in 1993, Jacques Vabre created and named the race. They have set out to show case some of the most beautiful coffee production sites in the world in countries such as Columbia, Brazil and Costa Rica. They have been active conservationists since 2003 and puts forward new coffee providing destinations based on a model of sustainable development.

Le Havre, a Norman town founded in 1517 by Francis I, confirmed its maritime vocation in 1643 when the Compagnie de l'Orient set up shop there to develop trade with the Americas (cotton, coffee, sugar, tobacco, etc.). Le Havre is still the leading French port for foreign trade and the fifth northern European port with more than 87 million tons of goods in 2016. Over the years, the City of Le Havre has forged strong ties with sailors, developed infrastructures around the old docks of the commercial port and continually strives to be a leading maritime city.

The double step

Since 1993 Le Havre and Jacques Vabre have known how to build their collaboration their true friendship. The strength of their experience reinforces their partnership which celebrated 20 years in 2013. As founding partners of the race, they continue today to be event co-organisers.

Les chiffres clés

  • Key dates
  • The skippers
  • Reference time
    between Le Havre and Salvador de Bahia
The creation of “La Route du Café”, a single-handed race from Le Havre to Cartagena in Colombia
The Transat Jacques Vabre becomes a double-handed race
New destination to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil
The race stopped in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
Back in Brazil, with a new port of call: Itajaí
Back in Salvador de Bahia, Historic coffee destination


Parcours TJV2017
The racecourse - by Sylvie Viant, Race director
A well-known destination:

In 2013, and again in 2015, all the boats flew past Salvador de Bahia, sails filled by the trade winds of the south-east, under the tropical sun...One imagines that they dreamt of finally finishing their race in All Saints’ Bay. In 2017, it will be a reality!

After the start line and a coastal route as far as Etretat, the duos will head towards Brittany to get out of the Channel as quickly as possible, where the currents are powerful, cargo traffic dangerous, and a lot of attention is needed.

They will then enter the Bay of Biscay, where, depending on the position of the Azores anticyclone, they will either find downwind conditions, easy and fast, like for the last Vendée Globe, or tougher and slower conditions in the passage of some late autumn depressions.

Four hundred miles later, having passed Cape Finisterre, the northern Portuguese trade winds should propel them quickly towards Madeira, and then the Canary Islands, where awaiting them will be northeast trade winds, which could be strong or weak.

Passing close to the Portuguese coast, or offshore, to the east or west of the Canary Islands and then the Cape Verde islands - you to have to choose the right options. The next goal is to establish your positionfor the crossing of the dreaded Doldrums, located a few degrees north of the equator. At this time of year, it can change position very quickly, extend or contract, because even after carefully studying of the satellite images, sudden squalls can develop and stall the competitors under a good shower without wind for hours. This passage is crucial in the Transat Jacques Vabre racecourse. Further west… Further east... After the calms, rainy squalls, with too much or no wind… The final goal is to get out well-positioned enough to benefit first from the southeast trade winds and to cover the remaining 850 miles towards the finish,passing along the islands of Fernando de Noronha, along the coast of Brazil and finally heading northwest into the magnificent All Saints’ Bay.

This transoceanic racecourse from North to South is more demanding than a transat from East to West; it requires the skippers to have sharp tactical and strategic qualities, good weather training, to be in excellent physical condition to maintain a sustained speed in the trade winds... And to have a lot of patience to cross the equator.

At 12°56 South, Salvador de Bahia is in the tropics, it is hot, though not too hot thanks to the trade winds, a dream for these sailors, who will finally be able to relax after all the stressful days spent at sea.

Race times should range from 10 days for the Ultime Class to 25 days for the Class40.


3 Classes
Find out each class and teams engaged

Come to see the start in le Havre
or cool down in Bahia.

Don’t miss this unique experience.

An introduction to Le Havre

The largest city in Normandy, Le Havre or “LH”, is 2 hours from Paris. It is a city of radical modernity. In 2005, a dramatic intervention changed its fate: the town centre, rebuilt by Auguste PERRET after the Second World War was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That revealed Le Havre to the eyes of the world in a new light - the honour also enabled the city to show everyone its ability to reinvent itself. Le Havre, the Phoenix city, still bears the motto given to it by its creator, Francis “nutrisco et extinguo” (I nourish and I extinguish).

A kingdom for pleasure
Bright, airy, dynamic, Le Havre is a true kingdom of pleasure. The No.1 port for cruising on the Atlantic seaboard, the No.1 French port for container traffic, Le Havre is also a seaside resort. There are few cities that have more than 180,000 inhabitants, where you only have to cross a boulevard to enjoy a beach. Facing south-west, along more than two kilometres of the city centre,and served by the tramway, Le Havre beach offers a multitude of opportunities for leisure and entertainment.

A seaside town
A real institution are the 700 beach huts which appear on the pebbles of the beach from April. Designed during the emergence of sea baths in order to preserve “good public morals” as much as to protect bathers from the cold, they are now part of the cultural heritage of Le Havre, and are, for their owners, the place for summer, a real second home with their feet in the water!
After a stroll along the promenade and gardens created by the landscape architect, Alexandre Chemetof, walkers can enjoy the 20 restaurants on the waterfront from mid-March to mid-September, with a breath-taking view of the horizon.

Natural splendour carved in Alabaster
The bay of Le Havre is an unusual setting for sailing, between the container ships, ferries and cruise ships lining the harbour and the majestic cliffs of the Côte d’Albâtre (Alabaster Coast) that lead you further on to the reliefs of the famous arch of Etretat (renamed “Aiguille creuse” by the novelist Maurice Leblanc). Thanks to the development of its infrastructure, Le Havre offers pleasure boaters thirsty for sea and culture a surprising and unexpected body of water. For Le Havre is also a “spot” which is particularly suitable for windsurfing, kitesurfing, speed-sailing, body-boarding, stand-up paddle, skimboarding, surfing, wakeboarding and rowing.

The city of Le Havre is equally proud of its sailing club,Société des Régates, the first created on the European continent, and its football club, Le Havre Athlétic Club, founded in 1872. It was in Le Havre that the first French rowing, rugby and field hockeyclubs were created.
Le Havre has a long tradition of sports. More than 80 different disciplines are practiced. All levels are catered for and easily accessible in Le Havre, from beginners to recreation to high-level competition.
The city now has 350 sports associations and four semi-professional clubs (ALA Basket - HAC Handball) andtwo professional ones (HAC Football and St Thomas Basket). The 36,000 practitioners have about a hundred sports facilities spread over the whole territory (60 sites - 100 halls or grounds), not to mention the natural spaces that form the beach and Montgeon forest, or the Parc de Rouelles, idealfor free training.
Founded in 1872, Le Havre Athlétic Club (HAC) was the first French sports club. It was on its turf that the first matches of "”combination”, a mixture of football and rugby, took place. It was also here that Pierre de Coubertin decided to organise the second Olympic congress in 1897. And these qualities that allowed him to host the sailing events of the Olympic Games of 1900 and 1924 (the last organised in France).
Since 2003, the City of Le Havre has been supporting its high-level athletes with financial assistance. This initiativeis helping 39 athletes in 2017.

A paradise for water sports
Le Havre is also a water sport hotspotfamous for offering exceptional technical and sporting conditions for the practice of all activities on the water, and regularly hosts national and international level marine events,such as the Transat Jacques Vabre. It also has more licensed sailors than any other French city! The doyen of sailing clubs in Europe, the Société des Régates du Havre (SRH), was founded in 1838, the same year as the Havreise de l'Aviron. The SRH is still a key player in the development of sailing and water sports in the Bay of Seine.

In 2006, Le Havre created what was then the largest free outdoor skate park in France. The park is located on the esplanade of the beach and now hosts a stage of the FISE Experienceevery summer. It has helped develop skating and the talent of the users, to the point that Team Skateboard which will represent France to the 2020 Olympic Games includes two natives of Le Havre.

Equipment for all pursuits
In order to support the development of sports activities, the City is redeveloping the Auguste Delaune stadium, the skate park, and building a multifunctional centre with a sporting and socio-cultural emphasis in the heart of the old city centre. This facility will notably have a 12-metre high climbing wall,over a 45-metre development.
To the north-west of the city, the Yuri Gagarine sports complex, inaugurated in the ‘70s, will benefit from a large redevelopment project from 2019. The 13-hectare site (12 sports fields, a playground and a multipurpose hall), which hosts 12 clubs (football, rugby and US sports), and many schools, with 200,000 users a year will be completely regenerated. With the aim of making it the new showcase for regional sport, the City of Le Havre wants tocreate a football field good enough for CFA-level football, to encourage American sport activities (American football, baseball and softball) and field hockey, improve the environment for sportsmen and women, partners and the public, encourage interaction between clubs around a common living space, and create open areas accessible to all.

Since 2012, Le Havre has been home to the Stade Océane, an ultra-modern stadium recognised throughout the world for its architectural and environmental qualities. This multifunctional facilityis equipped with 25,000 seats and can accommodate up to 33,000 spectators when the playing field is open (performance configuration). This capacity makes it the largest stadium in Normandy. It has 3,053 VIP seats and 340 seats across 16 private boxes that can accommodate 13 people each. There is also a lounge with a capacity of 146 people. This is the leading stadium in France for“positive energy” (producing more than it consumes). It was designed by Luc Delamain and Maxime Barbier of the SCAU agency.
In June 2019, the StadeOcéane will host matches of the FIFA Women's World Cup, which will take place in France. This World Cup will bring together 24 nations for a total of 52 matches.

A public policy to get moving everyday
In 2016, the City of Le Havre launched “LH enForme”. Through this new public policy, it wishes to reintegrate physical activity into the daily life of the people of Le Havre by implementing various initiatives (awareness, introductions, urban improvements) based around three ideas: to move, to share, to discover. The goal is to encourage everyone to practice 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days a week. The City is creating conditions favourable for sport, through the available facilities, urban exercise equipment installed in public spaces and the integration of tracks in its green areas. Zumba, yoga, tai chi, and other classes to wake up the body will be offered free to all in public parks. Specific urban circuits for walking and running, with different levels of difficulty, are currently being developed. In this spirit, Le Havre is one of the host cities of the Vélotour, a convivial and cultural cycle event dedicated to visiting places usually closed to this practice or inaccessible to the public.

In July 2015, the City applied to join the Basse et Haute-Normandie regions, the Seine-Maritime Department and the CROSF in order to host sailing events as part of Paris's bid for the Olympic Games in 2024. The quality of the Normandybid has made it possible to identify Le Havre as one of the five main sailingareas in France.

To mark the 500th anniversary of the foundation of Le Havre by King Francis I, the city welcomed the Tall Ships Regatta. This popular event brought together over 400,000 people over four days. There were 31 boats in the Vatine and Eure basins, including 13 very large sailing vessels from 12 countries, 15 of which could be visited free of charge by the public, and 1,200 crew members from all over the world, including 60 young sailors from all municipalities of Le Havre

Le Havre is now preparing to receive the skippers of the next Transat Jacques Vabre. It is the 13th edition of an event which represents a great pride for the people of Le Havre. Two beautiful events to celebrate the link between city, sea and sport!

Le Havre
Logo Le Havre
Salvador de Bahia
Salvador de Bahia: The first capital of Brazil

Happiness, creativity and natural and cultural riches are the elements that make up the identity of Salvador de Bahia, the first capital of Brazil. The city, located in the northeast of the country, has the second largest natural bay in the world and the largest in Brazil: the Bay of All Saints. With an area of 1,000 km², more than 50 islands, a calm and crystal clear sea and paradisiacal beaches, such as Ponta de NossaSenhora de Guadalupe, on the island of Frades, holder of a BlueFlag (the mark of environmental quality), the Bay is a magnificent place for relaxing, sailing or diving to discover the coral reefs.

Heritage and Culture

The first urban lift in the world is one of the main tourist attractions of the city, the ElevadorLacerda plays a public transport role between the Visconde de Cairu square in the lower city and the Thoméde Souza square in the upper city. It also enables access to the Bay of All Saints and the historic centre of the city. The latter is composed of alleys and buildings dating from its time as a colony of the Portuguese Empire and from Brazil’s First Republic. The region, rich in historical monuments dating from the 17th, 18th and 19thcenturies, is the oldest and most visited in Brazil by tourists in search of museums, theatres, churches, concerts, souvenirs and gastronomic delights. One of the most known and most visited areas of the old town is the Pelourinho. In 1985, the United Nations (UNESCO) recognised the historic centre of Salvador de Bahia as a World Heritage Site.

Jacques Vabre

full steam ahead
on the coffee route


It was an obvious step for the brand, Jacques Vabre, an expert in the provenance of coffee since 1968, to co-create the Transat Jacques Vabre with the City of Le Havre. Since 1993, this now legendary race, has been retracing the route taken by the great merchant ships of the 17th century, which departed the coffee-producing countries, and headed to Le Havre, France's leading coffee harbour.
Jacques Vabre has made this transatlantic crossing both a sporting and a human adventure, forging a link between France and coffee-growing areas, such as Colombia, Costa Rica and Brazil.


Always searching for the best bean origins, Jacques Vabre offers consumers a wide range of original, authentic and quality coffees. For nearly 40 years, the brand has remained faithful to the spirit of its creator and isremarkable for its tireless desire for innovation and a constant concern for superior quality.

In 2017, the brand stayed on course with two new lines: Atiya and Madjhari. 100% Arabica,they are a range of new grands cru, whose aromasare taking all coffee lovers on a voyage of the senses.
Atiya - Honduras: a well-balanced coffee with fragrant notes. Neither acidic nor bitter, Atiya is distinguished by aromatic and slightly fruity notes.
Madjhari - India: a coffee with powerful aromas and notes of toasted hazelnuts. Madjhari transports us immediately.


In parallel with the strong media coverage of the Transat Jacques Vabre, Jacques Vabre is also rolling outa significant campaign, including national advertising, TV sponsorships and various in-store activations.

For the 2017 edition, Jacques Vabre is re-branding, with a new logo and modern packaging redesigned by the brand that continues to takes connoisseurs of the Origines on journeys of flavour.

The Transat Jacques Vabre will also be an opportunity for the brand to bring alive the coffee route for visitors to the race village. These visiting-voyagers will be able to travel the world, making stops in Brazil in the Bahia region and then in Popayan, Colombia. They can even go out on board the sailing ship,l'Etoile de Molène, to discover Atiya in Honduras.


It was Marcel Denamiel, a Montpellier merchant, who began roasting green coffee in front of his store. Little by little, this small local affair became his main activity. The Jacques Vabre coffees were created in 1924 under the brand name Mexicq. The entrepreneur was assisted by his son-in-law, Jacques Vabre, for years, and the latter took over the business in 1968. He created the eponymous brand in order to introduce his coffee to the whole of France.

Faithful to the mission of its pioneering founder, the brand is intensifying its innovations with a major ambition: to discover the best coffee by selecting quality beans from the most exceptional coffee-producing areas. For example, Jacques Vabre is the first coffee brand to advertise on TV, and it is also the first to invest in the Pure Origines market.

Jacques Vabre coffee never ceases to surprise; it stimulates the curiosity and desire to discover the world of coffee and explore its different lands.


1968: Birth of the Jacques Vabre brand, the world's first vacuum-packed ground coffee
1970: Jacques Vabre becomes the first coffee brand to advertise on TV
1972: Launch of “Régal” coffee. The brand positions itself as the market leader in roasted coffee
1985: First appearance of El Gringo, a great advertising success,featuring a coffee expert.
1993: Creation of the Route du Café, a solo race from Le Havre to Cartagena, Colombia
1995: Launch of the “100% Origine” range, highlighting the diversity and value of different terroir
2001: New destination for the Route du Café. Heading to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil
2007: The Transat Jacques Vabre charts course for sustainable development
2009: The race drops anchor in Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
2013: The return to Brazil, with a new destination port: Itajaí
2017: Launch of new Pure Origines: Atiya&Madjhari.