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Countdown to the Transat Jacques Vabre

by TJV 29 Oct 2021 14:58 PDT 7 November 2021
IMOCAs set for the Transat Jacques Vabre © CDK Technologies

The build up to the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre race cranks up on Saturday with the official opening of the race-village. Thousands of fans are expected to visit the race boats and attractions in the heart of Le Havre over the coming week. To kick-off our daily English language coverage here's our quick mini-guide to the iconic race.

What is the Transat Jacques Vabre Race?

Actually it's four races in one.

The Transat Jacques Vabre sees four different classes of boat race across the Atlantic. Each class wins its own trophy.

The non-stop two-handed race starts in the northern French port of Le Havre on November 7th and finishes in Martinique in the Caribbean.

This year's race sees 158 skippers from 13 nations compete in 79 boats.

Names to look out for

It's impossible to miss the rock-stars of French sailing. Their boats, when moored in the race village, are generally surrounded by hundreds of fans admiring the vessels and hoping for a selfie.

Amongst the biggest names are Vendee Globe winners Yannick Bestaven, Armel le Cléac'h and Francois Gabart, America's Cup skipper Franck Cammas and Volvo Ocean Race winner Charles Caudrelier.

There are also plenty of big-name skippers from around the globe.

Race winner in 2015 Giancarlo Pedote leads the Italian challenge in the IMOCA class whilst Briton Sam Davies makes her seventh appearance in the race. Isabelle Joschke of Germany has finished first and second in her previous Transat Jacques Vabre races and returns aboard her IMOCA MACSF.

Briton Sam Goodchild is the only non-Frenchman in the seven boat Ocean Fifty fleet.

Boat Classes

There are two monohull classes - the IMOCA and Class 40.

The multihulls are represented by the Ultims and Ocean Fifty trimarans.


All boats will start together before splitting to follow different routes and then converging again for a grandstand finish off Martinique.

The shortest route of 4,600 miles goes to the Class 40 boats, the longest of 7,500 miles to the Ultims.

The race is expected to take between 14 and 23 days.


The TJV was first raced in 1993 and takes place on alternate years.

This is the first time that the race finishes in Martinique.

The race was originally inspired by the clipper ship routes that brought coffee to Le Havre.


The race will be mirrored by an eSailing version taking place on virtual waters.

Sign up and take on the real skippers!

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150 sailors and 75 crews have made it to Martinique from Le Havre The 2021 Transat Jacques Vabre ended today with the very last boat, the Class40 Terre Exotique, crossing the finish line less than an hour before the cut-off time. Posted on 6 Dec 2021
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Class 40 podium shared by 3 nations and an Olympian The Class 40 victory has gone to Redman, co-skippered by Frenchman Antoine Carpentier and Pablo Santurde Del Arco of Spain. Second place went to Banque Du Léman, third to Seafrigo-Sogestran. Posted on 29 Nov 2021
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Grandstand finishes in the IMOCA class After more than twenty days at sea the difference between fourth and fifth in the IMOCA class was just 21 minutes 40 seconds between Britain's Sam Davies on Initiatives Coeur and an all-French crew aboard Arkéa-Paprec. Posted on 28 Nov 2021
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More podium finishes The IMOCA podium will soon be complete as the battles in the chasing fleet intensify. The damaged Ultime, Sodebo 3 is expected to end her heroic race tonight. The Class 40 leaders continue to be bunched together as sailors struggle in the soaring heat. Posted on 26 Nov 2021
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Boat damage and bad weather hits fleet The winner of the last edition of the race in the Class 40 has sustained keel damage, whilst bad weather off Martinique may delay the finish for the leading IMOCAs. Posted on 25 Nov 2021
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