For its 30th anniversary, the legendary double handed transatlantic race The Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre is set to see one of the most exciting and prestigious starting line-ups in recent ocean racing history.
The numbers are impressive, 190 sailors, 95 boats, 17 nationalities and 77 race first-timers are set to take part in the event for the first time. From the excitement of the pre-race build up in Le Havre to the euphoria of the finish into Fort-de-France, Martinique the whole race is set to deliver an exceptional sports and human adventure.
At 26 days before the start the skippers today each had the honor of being introduced on stage at Studio 104 of the Maison de la Radio et de la Musique in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. This was the official presentation of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre in the presence of Édouard Philippe, the mayor of Le Havre and president of Le Havre Seine Métropole, Vincent Prolongeau, President of JDE France, Aline Louisy-Louis, vice-president of the Normandy Region in charge of sports and youth and water sports and Bénédicte Di Geronimo, President of the Martinique Tourism Committee. But above all it was a great opportunity to see the sailors’ big smiles and their obvious enthusiasm as the presentation really emphasised that the countdown to the start is more real than ever. Perhaps one of the most excited duos in the house were Martinican pair Hervé Jean-Marie and Jean- Yves Aglae (Martinique Tchalian, Class 40) who are competing for the first time: “Here we are. We are ready, we want to be out there on the water. The great thing is we don’t have plane tickets, we’re going home to Martinique by boat!”
Four classes, four courses, four winners
In 26 days, Sunday 29th October all will be race ready and set to cast off, to leave Le Havre and head for Martinique and the bay of Fort-de-France. Each of the four classes entered will have a different route and a different start time (every twelve minutes from 1:05 p.m. to 1:41 p.m.) so as to shine the spotlight on each class, each race in turn as much as possible. Everyone will have a chance to write a new piece of history on a 30-year-old race which has long since established itself as a benchmark, a ‘must do’ for the racers and a ‘must watch’ for lovers of ocean racing. And appropriately for the 30th anniversary edition, never before has the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre offered such an exceptional, competitive and evenly matched line-up.
Sailors who won two years ago are back and putting their titles back on the line. That is true of Charles Caudrelier associated with Erwan Israel (Edmond de Rothschild, ULTIM): “I think we have some new weaponry on our boat but the others do too, it’s going to be a great fight!.” Sébastien Rogues, now with Jean-Baptiste Gellée (Primonial, Ocean Fifty), Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière (For People, IMOCA) as well as Antoine Carpentier, co-skipper of Ian Lipinski (Crédit Mutuel, Class40) are all out to defend titles acquired in 2021. Through the fleet are first time novices as well winners of this transatlantic race multiple times. Victorious four times in multihulls, Franck Cammas could become the first sailor to win five times on the Coffee Route. This time he is trying his luck for the first time in IMOCA (Charal with Jérémie Beyou). Cammas is closely followed by three times winners Erwan Le Roux, Yann Eliès, Charles Caudrelier and Antoine Carpentier.
Preserving our planet, more than a commitment, a reason to be
Beyond the competition, the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre has set its environmental ambitions on the same level as its sporting ambitions. Building on its profile and the image it conveys, the association wants to make this race a popular, sustainable and exemplary event. Finding this approach appealing the UNESCO Man and Biosphere program becomes a privileged collaborator for this 30th anniversary edition which places biodiversity at the heart of its project. And what could be better than Martinique, a World Biosphere Reserve, serving as the finish line. “The Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre was the first sailing race to really display its environmental ambitions back in 2007,” explains Nathalie De Pompignan, an expert at UNESCO and president of Martinique World Biosphere Reserve. “And today it has a real CSR action plan.” The Coffee Route has always been able to unify and highlight the richness of the fauna and flora of these different territories. It also makes it possible to connect continents, Europe to America, to unite its populations and preserve ocean and land resources.
A 360 degrees action plan
More sustainable mobility and more inclusion, we still have so much to share for future generations! During the previous edition, 86% of the carbon footprint was linked to travel. To remedy this, the Transat Jacques Vabre and the city of Le Havre are launching the “Green Ticket”.
“Through this incentive and innovative action and by the provision of numerous additional parking spaces for bicycles,” explains Régis Debons, deputy mayor of Le Havre, in charge of sports, “we wish to encourage people who can to use sustainable transport modes. ”
A precious key will be given to visitors who come by public transport, by bike or even by scooter which will allow them to win special prizes and giveaways in the village. The village will be adapted to people with reduced mobility, thanks to better-designed infrastructures and which will welcome nearly 600 young students on October 20 on the pontoons. Children who will, without a doubt, have already well prepared their questions for the skippers thanks to the educational kit made available to teachers.