The improved transatlantic challenge that ends IMOCA season

Nautical Channel
22 Oct 2021
NEWS | Sailing

The Transat Jacques Vabre 2021 will be a great challenge that will end the vintage and innovative year of world sailing for the IMOCA Class. 

For its 15th edition, the Transat Jacques Vabre will leave Normandie, Le Havre, injecting a fresh change to this race bound for Martinique. For the first time ever, the Transat Jacques Vabre will head out to explore the West Indies. Fort-de-France Bay will host the finish of one of the most demanding transatlantic crossings, promising a sensational show. 

Over the past few weeks the IMOCA 60 bases in Brittany have become a hive of activity as the crews are getting ready for the longest double handed race. 23 IMOCAs will take the start from Le Havre on November 7th, pushing hard on the 5,800-nautical mile course.

The boats competing at the Transat Jacques Vabre

The ocean race will see four different classes on the water taking 3 different courses of different length. The first section of the course involves a common-core course for all classes, starting with the exit of the English Channel and either hunting down a trajectory along the English coast or skirting the Cotentin peninsula. 

Once around Cape Finisterre, sailors will drop down the North Atlantic, hooking onto the trade wind. To the south of the Canaries, the three courses will part ways. The Ocean Fiftys and IMOCAs will set course towards the Brazilian archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, and these boats will cross the equator twice. 

It is expected the Ocean Fiftys will take around 12 to 15 days at sea, while the IMOCAs could take 14 to 17 days. The adopted course by the Class 40s is shorter in distance (4,600 miles) as they starboard at Cape Verde. However, they should take 17 to 22 days to complete the race. 

Finally, the Ultims are the fastest boats of the circuits and they have the longest route (7,500 miles). Their waypoint rounds another Brazilian archipelago: Trinidade and Martim Vaz. They are estimated to finish after 16 to 17 days. 

An eye on the IMOCA competitors

Adding to the foiling front runners like Charlie Dalin or Paul Meilhat on APIVIA, Thomas Ruyant and Morgan Lagravière will compete on LinkedOut and Stéphane Le Diraison and Spanish Didac Costa will aboard the Time For Oceans. 

The IMOCAs fleet includes five mixed male-female crews, amongst them Simon Fisher and Justine Mettraux on 11th Hour Racing Team-Alaka’l, Isabelle Joschke and Fabien Delahaye on MACSF or Louis Duc and Marie Tabarly on Kostum-Lantana Paysage. 

Also, Vendée Globe winner Yannick Bestaven will be sailing with Jean-Marie Dauris on Maître CoQ IV, forced to retire from the Rolex Fastnet Race after a collision at the start of the regatta. 

A new era

The Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre has set new ambitions to break grounds in terms of environmental issues. The regatta will launch two innovative programmes: a competition that is open to startups and students to showcase the projects on reduced carbon footprints, and a conference on good environmental practice. 

Additionally, the competition will support the feminisation of offshore racing, by encouraging a project helmed by a female sailor who will participate in her first transatlantic race. The Coffee Route 2021 version will also strengthen the links between real sailing and virtual racing, integrating a fifth official Virtual Regatta class. 

On Nautical Channel we will be broadcasting the highlights of the competition, so come sail with us on the hardest transatlantic race! 

Image credit to Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre
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