The fleet for the 10th Transat Jacques Vabre will answer the start gun at 1302hrs CET in one month’s time.
But the build up to the start really begins in Le Havre on October 21 when all boats must be mustered in the famous dock. So in effect this leaves the 35 teams with only three weeks for final preparations for the biennial classic two handed Transatlantic race. The three different classes are fully engaged through this final countdown.
Among the 40 foot monohulls, activity is presently as varied as the different profiles across the fleet which spans full budget professional teams to amateur enthusiasts.
The Corinthians for whom the Transat Jacques Vabre will be a four week holiday, are still shackled to the office, keeping on top of work commitments until the odyssey to Costa Rica begins, with their respective deliveries to Upper Normandy around 17 or 18 October.
Meanwhile final boat preparation work continues apace on the boats in different locations: Damien Seguin (ERDF – Des Pieds et des mains) in St. Nazaire, Jacques Fournier and Jean-Christophe Caso (Groupe Picoty) in Les Sables d'Olonne, Eric Lecoq Lecoq Cuisines on return from Newfoundland.
Some teams have also been training in other classes. Figarists like Eric Drouglazet (Aquarelle.com), Yoann Richomme (ERDF - Des Pieds et des mains) and Sam Goodchild (Concise 2) took part is this week’s Solo Quiberon.
Others mustered in La Rochelle for Class40 training group. A second session will be also be held in Lorient from 10 to 13 October which should include Alex Olivier, Aquarelle.com, Groupe Picoty, Bureau Veritas-Dunkerque Plaisance, Phoenix Europe Express. They expect to the do the delivery passage in convoy to Le Havre.
The program is as varied for Multi50, where time is divided between the final preparations for the boat and sailing, some also in other classes.
Erwan Le Roux (FenêtréA-Cardinal) sailed with his friend Didier Le Vourc'h Open in 7.50 at the Grand Prix Atlantique -Télégramme in Lorient last weekend before setting off on Courrier Dunkerque for the final round of the French offshore championship in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile Didier has overseen most of the recent work to his boat.
Final refitting also continues on Prince de Bretagne, Lionel Lemonchois and Matthieu Souben. For Actual it is also a race against time with the repair of the trimaran’s mast but Yves Le Blévec and Samuel Manuard are confident.
Both St. Malo crews, Franck-Yves Escoffier - Antoine Koch (Crêpes Whaou!) and Loïc Fequet - Loïc Escoffier (Maître Jacques) are set to go. Anne and Aubin Houdet Caseneuve (Naviguez Anne Caseneuve) must do the same and also prepare their multihull. There are not many days left on land and they are marked by the growing desire to get out and do battle.
Five IMOCA teams met at the legendary French IMOCA hot bed, the Port-la-Forêt Pole Finistere Course au Large, 27 to 29 September. Speed tests and a night sailing program filled the three days. Among those there to benefit were Safran (Guillemot - Elies), PRB (Riou - Destremau), Banque Populaire (Le Cléac'h - Pratt), Cheminées Poujoulat (Stamm - Cuzon) and MACIF (F Gabart - S Col). A second session is scheduled for October 11 to 13 when others expected to join the sessions are Virbac-Paprec 3 (Dick - Beyou) and Akena Verandas (Boissières - Véniard). Jean-Pierre Dick and Jeremy Beyou are making their debut in Nice on the Extreme 40 circuit.
On board Groupe Bel Kito de Pavant and Yann Régniau have been sailing almost continuously since September 18, following an intensive re-fit and through the summer. They leave the Med for their delivery to Le Havre on Saturday, October 2, bringing the boat out into the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar.
Several new boats have been recently officially baptised: Macif and Cheminées Poujoulat were baptized in La Rochelle a few days before the start of the Transat 6.50. Mike Golding received the blessing of Princess Anne for his monohull Gamesa (ex Ecover 3). The boat has undergone a facelift in order to compete with the newest in the fleet. And Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) decided to change boats. He will be on the former BT and former Veolia Environnement, the boat that won Roland Jourdain the last Route du Rhum La Banque Postale.
October 21, 1200 midday: Deadline for arrival of the boat in Le Havre
October 22, 11:00: Inauguration of the Transat Jacques Vabre race village in the
22 and 23 October: Exhibition Regatta 'Regatta Virtual Inshore'
October 30, 10:45: Dock out of the race fleet
October 30, 1:02 p.m.: Start of the 10th Transat Jacques Vabre
First arrivals IMOCA Multi50 and Costa Rica from November 14, Class40 from November 22
Transat Jacques Vabre website