Transat Jacques Vabre - 20th anniversary on the horizon

Press conference of the Transat Jacques Vabre that will start from le Havre on November 3, 2013, in Paris, France, on October 8, 2013
© Jean-Marie Liot
In just two weeks time, Le Havre’s famous Basin Paul Vatine will come alive to the pre-start buzz when 45 teams muster for the historic 20th anniversary edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the two handed race across the Atlantic from the French port to Itajaí, Brazil.

The event is always a defining highlight for the city of Le Havre and for the Mondel?z International Group which join together as hosts over the period 25th October to 3rd November when the four classes gather, the MOD70 and Multi50 multihulls and IMOCA and Class 40 monohulls, making ready for the 5400 miles course which takes the fleet for the first time to the new destination city of Itajaí in southern Brazil.

Today, Tuesday, in Paris’ majestic Max Linder Panorama cinema, the organisation presented the duos which will take on this historic edition of the race and introduced the activities which are scheduled prestart in Le Havre, for when the race is under way, and at the finish in Itajaí to complement the sporting event which is this eleventh edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre. The race has attracted 45 teams of two co-skippers who between them represent 12 different nations across the four different classes.

The race starts on Sunday November 3rd under Le Havre’s famous cliffs of Saint Adresse when all the classes race a coastal course to Etretat. From there the course which is set takes them direct non stop to Brazil. The Monohulls, that is 26 Class 40’s and 10 IMOCA’s, programme in their course direct for the finish line, whilst the six Multi50’s and three MOD70’s return temporarily to the Basin Paul Vatine to await their starts on November 5th and 8th respectively for the same 5,400 miles course.

The course offers a range of challenges right from the very opening miles, including the notorious escape from the Channel, there is then the passage across Biscay which is never usually easy in November, then it is down to the Canaries, on to the vagaries of the ICTZ or Doldrums as they are most usually known, then dealing with the St Helena high pressure area and the Bay of Rio de Janeiro, finally into waters which for most will be new as the final miles into Itajaí can be tricky too.

Press conference of the Transat Jacques Vabre that will start from le Havre on November 3, 2013, in Paris, France, on October 8, 2013 - Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Transat Jacques Vabre
© Jean-Marie Liot
The City of Itajaí is relishing its new found role as finish port for the Transat Jacques Vabre and is set to lay on a spectacular welcome for the arriving teams and for the many visitors with a range exhibitions, shows, gastronomy displays, musical concerts and much more, running right through from November 16th to December 7th. The first crews are expected to finish around 19th November.

After race finishes previously in Colombia ( Cartagena ), Brazil ( Salvador ), Costa Rica ( Puerto Limon) , the Transat Jacques Vabre now returns to Brazil, but this time this finish is much further south in Itajaí , which will add interest to the very end since the weather patterns down the Brazilian coast are often difficult to decipher and use to best effect.

Among the most successful skippers to take on this edition is is Jean -Pierre Dick who has won the IMOCA monohull division a remarkable three times, in 2003-2005 and 2011. He pairs up with the equally redoubtable Roland Jourdain who has won twice, in 1995 and 2001, but this time they will race a multihull, the MOD70 Virbac-Paprec 70.

But the entire field is richly laden with talent, including Vendée Globe winners François Gabart, Michel Desjoyeaux and Vincent Riou as well as top contenders like Jean Le Cam, Bernard Stamm, Jérémie Beyou, Marc Guillemot, Bertrand de Broc, Arnaud Boissiere, Tanguy de Lamotte, Louis Burton, Alexandro di Benedetto, as well as four veterans of the Volvo Ocean Race, Sidney Gavignet, Damian Foxall, Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier all racing in the MOD70. There are multihull specialists such Yves Le Blévec in the Multi 50 with Kito de Pavant, Erwan Le Roux racing with the winner of the Solitaire du Figaro Yann Elies, Loïc Fequet, Gilles Lamiré or Lalou Roucayrol ...

Class40 is the biggest and most international, with top French names like Halvard Mabire, Bruno Jourdren, Damien Seguin, Yannick Bestaven, Jean -Christophe Caso, Sébastien Rogues racing with or against sailors from Spain (Alex Pella), Germany (Jörg Riechers , Peter Christoff ), Great Britain (Brian Thompson, Sam Goodchild, Rob Windsor, Miranda Merron ... ), Italy and Belgium.

For those ten days from 26 October to 3 November, Le Havre’s Basin Paul Vatine is completely transformed into an entertainment venue commensurate with the size and scale of this event, reflecting the interests of the sponsors, sailors and the city. There are seminars with Patrick Poivre d' Arvor, Véronique Massenot, Marc Pajot , Gilles Lapouge, Charles Berling, there is performance art with Kieff, Raynal, Flahault, Chambon and sailboat racing basin of the Eure and virtual racing, concerts all underpinned by the infectious Brazilian rhythms, the beat of the Solar Sound System, not to forget coffee tasting with Jacques Vabre. eco- educational workshops which reflect the ongoing actions and initiatives for sustainable development taken by the city of Le Havre and the whole Jacques Vabre race community. Among the messages being developed are the building of a giant tree in wood, glass and steel 'Arboat' symbolises a 'tree of Shadows', also there is the Coffee Made Happy programme run by Jacques Vabre, the brand Mondel?z International Group brand.

Set a course to be in Le Havre in two weeks time.

Press conference of the Transat Jacques Vabre that will start from le Havre on November 3, 2013, in Paris, France, on October 8, 2013 - Photo Jean-Marie Liot / DPPI / Transat Jacques Vabre
© Jean-Marie Liot

Clotilde Bednarek, International Marketing Director Coffee Mondelz: 'Since 1993 when this great race was established it has embodied the values of our company and of the Jacques Vabre brand: passion, authenticity, pleasure, commitment and taking things to a new level. As well as being a sporting adventure , the Transat Jacques Vabre is a human adventure that links France with the coffee countries, such as Colombia, Costa Rica, and Brazil. The race is a great opportunity to reconnect with coffee’s origins. Mondelz International is the leader in the French market. It is with particular pleasure and great emotion that I find myself here today to celebrate the 20th anniversary of our Transatlantic.'

Edouard Philippe , Deputy Mayor of Le Havre: 'The Transat Jacques Vabre and Le Havre join in a nautical tradition of hospitality, a tradition that has also led to the emergence of a true Le Havre expertise. In terms of port activities it is a the leading French port for container traffic, and its natural situation with its marina as the most accessible on to the Bay of Seine and all the new opportunities which are presented by the Grand Paris project, Le Havre, the maritime city, has all the components in place to become the flagship maritime location on the Channel coast. And with all that in mind it is of course with great pleasure that Le Havre will once again host the Transat Jacques Vabre.'

Jandir Belini, Mayor of Itajai: 'The state of Santa Catarina and the City of Itajaí are facing the sea and the maritime sector. And we are ready to welcome you all to the finish of the Transat Jacques Vabre with a big party. We expect more than 300,000 visitors to be there to welcome you.'

'Take to the sea, act for the earth.'

Along with the sporting and the human challenge the Transat Jacques Vabre is an eco-friendly event : Since 2007, effective measures have been put in place to limit and to offset its carbon footprint by encouraging the support of partners and stakeholders in the event .

The reduction of CO2 emissions has been a primary goal for all competitors and stakeholders in the race. A very complete and comprehensive system for sustainable development has been established by the organization and it is ongoing throughout the whole community attached to the race. Defined actions have been taken on transport, energy, water, waste management and the use of recycled or recyclable materials as well as and education and learning programme and the communication with the public.

CO2 emissions have also been offset (100 % of CO2 emissions of the organization) through reforestation programmes in tropical forests. In 2013, this action for environmental progress continues in the same vein and intensity.

As it was in 2009 and 2011, the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy is sponsoring this year 's 11th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre.

Dates for the diary:

October 26: Grand opening of public village in Le Havre
October 26-27: exhibition race in the basin of the Eure
November 3: start of the Transat Jacques Vabre
November 18: Grand opening of village public Itajaí
The third week of November: ETA of the first boats to finish
November 30: postlogue and first prizegiving in Itajaí
December 7: Official prizegiving in Itajaí

The Transat Jacques Vabre in brief

A legendary race spanning 20 years reaches the 11th edition in 2013.
Starts from Le Havre on Sunday, November 3, 2013 racing to a new coffee destination: Itajaí (Brazil).
Two original founding partners, Jacques Vabre, a brand of Mondelz International, and the City of Le Havre
Four classes on the start line : IMOCA 60 ' Class40 Multi50 Class and MOD70
An eco-friendly event : Since 2007 , CO2 emissions are reduced, measured and offset through reforestation operations in tropical forests.

Event website