Transat Jacques Vabre, raced every two years by duos, was due to start today, Sunday 30 October 2011 at 1302hrs CET in Le Havre, France.
After a meeting between skippers and Race Direction of the Transat Jacques Vabre this morning the start of the biennial race from Le Havre to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, race director Jean Maurel announced the decision to postpone the start.
A prologue race will be staged with a start at 1302hrs.
The decision was taken because of the approach of a very significant low pressure system due to generate storm force winds for the 35 teams of two skippers which were due to set off today.
Although the weather forecast promises fair winds for the first 24 hours conditions deteriorate from Tuesday.
The arrival of the large very deep depression generates stormy conditions for 48 hours: sustained winds of 45 knots, gusting to 55-60 knots in heavy seas associated with a (8 to 10 m) behind the cold front.
'It's a decision taken as a sailor,' said race director Jean Maurel, 'which takes into account the participation of all three classes. We wanted to maintain the overall integrity of the whole fleet '
The start is postponed to a date to be announced later depending on the evolution of this depression. But it will not be set before Wednesday.
The prologue exhibition race will be staged instead, following a 13 miles coastal course. The race organisers and skippers have shown a determination to provide a spectacle for the tens of thousands of visitors and spectators who are in the port for the race start.
The programmed dock-out schedule is maintained, with first IMOCA Open 60’s and Class 40’s due to cast off and leave the Paul Vatine basin at 1030hrs, the start of a parade through the Abeilles quays and along past the parking area of the Musée André Malraux before heading on to the race area. Transat Jacques Vabre website