Transat countdown begins

On November 7 2021, 81 boats will take to the start line of the 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre.

Created back in 1993 and run biennially, this legendary two-handed race enables some of the big names in sailing, together with amateur sailors, to take on the historic trading routes for coffee, from France to South America or, as is the case this year, to the West Indies.

Three IMOCAs sailing upwind.
Seven IMOCAs will be competing in the event. Pic – Transat

For this 2021 vintage, as per usual, the number one spot will be hotly contested. Twelve of them (three in Ultim, seven in IMOCA and two in Ocean Fifty) have one thing in common: they benefit from both the experience and expertise of the CDK Technologies yard, a specialist in the construction of prototype yachts.

The cast for the 15th edition of the Coffee Route is impressive. Better still, it boasts a record fleet with some 81 boats, split into four classes (Class40, IMOCA, Ocean Fifty and Ultim); 21 more competitors compared to the fleet of 60 yachts in 2017.

This year the giant multihull category will be making a return. Five maxi-trimarans make up the ranks this year. These machines geared up for the finest round the world adventures.

Two have been launched in recent months: the Maxi Banque Populaire XI sailed by the Armel Le Cléac’h and Kévin Escoffier, as well as SVR Lazartigue sailed by François Gabart and Tom Laperche.

A boat to look out for will be Actual Ultim 3, skippered by the Yves Le Blévec and Anthony Marchand duo. Actual Ultim 3 is a solo world tour record holder since 2017 (42 days 16 hours 40 minutes and 35 seconds) and then winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015, The Transat bakerly 2016 and then The Bridge the same year.

Aerial shot of a multihull sailing, creating a lot of wash.
The race is set to begin on November 7. Pic – Transat

Boats at the cutting edge of innovation and performance 

Alongside these three ULTIMS there are no fewer than seven exceptional IMOCAs, whose creations have also been crafted by CDK Technologies and will be at the start with high hopes: 11th Hour Racing Team – Malama skippered by Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry, the latest addition to the class, as well as APIVIA skippered by Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat (line honours in the Vendée Globe 2020-2021) and CHARAL 1 skippered by Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt.

 Maître Coq IV (winner of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021) sailed by Yannick Bestaven and Jean-Marie Dauris, CORUM l’Épargne sailed by Nicolas Troussel and Sébastien Josse, Arkéa Paprec sailed by Sébastien Simon and Yann Eliès, Initiatives-Cœur skippered by Sam Davies and Nicolas Lunven and Kostum Lantana Paysage skippered by Louis Duc and Marie Tabarly.
     
All fuelled by a desire to push the envelope  
      
Competing in the Ocean Fiftys are GCA – Mille et un Sourires skippered by Gilles Lamiré and Yvan Bourgnon, 2017’s TJV winner and Leyton, skippered by Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chappellier (ex Ciela Village 2), winner of this season’s Pro Sailing Tour. 

All these skippers, at the helm of offshore racing’s flagships, are driven by the desire to push back the limits of what is possible with the aim of making their dreams a reality.

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