Preparing for the Transat Jacques Vabre

Class 40, IMOCA 60 and Multi50 fleets must be in Le Havre by 21 October

Saturday October 8th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

As a new, late addition to the Class 40 race, the appropriately named 11th Hour Racing adds an even more international dimension to the race as two more nationalities sign up for the Transat Jacques Vabre, from Le Havre to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica.

On board 11th Hour Racing will be Nicholas Halmos (USA) and Hugh Piggin (NZL) in Class 40, now with 15 teams registered. Teams are deep in their preparations and making ready for their respective delivery trips to Le Havre as they require to be in Le Havre by Friday 21 October.

There is only two weeks left for all of the duos to finalise their work and get themselves and their boats to the Paul Vatine Basin in Le Havre. Some have still been sailing, some still in boat refitting and finishing mode, others complete their last working days in the office, but for all the co-skippers hours are precious and not to be wasted.

Class 40

In addition to Halmos and Piggin's entry, two crews have announced changes. On Avis Immobilier, François Scheek replaced Olivier Grassi for personal reasons, and Christophe Coatnoan (Partouche) will sail with Etienne Laforgue, who sailed with him on the 2008 Quebec St Malo Race.

Multi 50

In the Multi 50 class Anne Caseneuve (Naviguez Anne Caseneuve) has been building miles with her son Aubin Houdet, as have the Mabit brothers (, while Yves Le Blévec and Sam Manuard have repaired their mast of Actual at the JMV yard in Cherbourg.


In the IMOCA Class after a classroom session with Jean-Yves Bernot, the majority of the fleet will take part in training at Port-la-Forêt, while Dominique Wavre and Michele Paret (Mirabaud) complete testing with their new rig on Mirabaud off La Rochelle and Kito de Pavant and Yann Régniau who deliver Groupe Bel from their Mediterranean base. In England Mike Golding and Bruno Dubois have completed three good days of sailing with Gamesa, testing their new ‘classic’ format rig.

Five former winners are competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre this year: Jean-Pierre Dick, Franck-Yves Escoffier, Erwan Leroux, Lionel Lemonchois and Marc Guillemot.

All vividly recall the highlights as does Franck Cammas who is preparing an adventure of a different caliber He will soon be starting the Volvo Ocean Race.

Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec 3), winner in 2003 and 2005: "The arrival in Bahia really moved me. On the one hand because there was victory at the end, but for tropical scents, and the warm reception of the Brazilians, the feeling of arriving somewhere different. In 2005 with Loïck (Peyron) I remember it so much more because the battle was stronger all the way to the finish with Bilou and Ellen MacArthur. Otherwise, I also have a particular affection for Le Havre. It is a city that has always brought me luck, even at the time of the Tour de France a Voile. Each time I ended with a victory. It is important to keep up that tradition ... "

Marc Guillemot (Safran), winner in 2009: "I still feel the win, obviously. But I also keep a great memory of having got through the big depression that had blown in before the Azores. With Charles, when we saw we were well placed and the boat was in perfect condition, we thought it was starting to feel good. And generally to sail with Charles was a treat, we were really in tune. "

Franck-Yves Escoffier (Crêpes Whaou!), Winner in 2005, 2007 and 2009: "For me, the victory of 2005 is the most beautiful. We had to build the boat, we knew we could do something and it was the first boat to cross the line in Salvador de Bahia. And for a father, sharing this kind of moment with his son, it's still something very special "

Lionel Lemonchois (Prince de Bretagne), winner in 2005: "Beyond the win itself I also remember the early hours of the race that had been really tough. Everything was jumping, slamming and shaking but managed to keep the boat intact. There was a lot of breakages in the early days of racing, so we were really happy to know that we kept all our chances for victory intact ... "

Erwan Le Roux (FenetreA-Cardinal), winner in 2009: "The arrival in Puerto Limon was magical. We sailed in a very dark night, we saw nothing. And then a boat came first, then another and suddenly everything was bustling around us and just when we crossed the line, fireworks went off, it was really moving. I also recall that Transat’st few hours in the eastern Azores, buffeted by strong winds, before reaching the trade winds. And then, Franck-Yves is quite a character, unusual in the world of racing. With him, I had a great partner. "


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
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


Boat Skipper Co-skipper
IMOCA 60    
Akena Verandas Arnaud Boissières Gérald Véniard
Banque Populaire Armel Le Cléac'h Christopher Pratt
Bureau Vallée Louis Burton Nelson Burton
Cheminées Poujoulat Bernard Stamm Jean François Cuzon
DCNS Marc Thiercelin Luc Alphand
Gamesa Mike Golding Bruno Dubois
Groupe Bel Kito de Pavant Yann Regniau
Hugo Boss Alex Thomson Guillermo Altadill
MACIF François Gabart Sebastien Col
Mirabaud Dominique Wavre Michèle Paret
PRB Vincent Riou Hugues Destremau
Safran Marc Guillemot Yann Elies
Virbac Paprec 3 Jean-Pierre Dick Jérémie Beyou
Class 40    
40 Degrees Hannah Jenner Peter Harding Yannick Bestaven Eric Drouglazet
Avis Immobilier Eric Galmard Olivier Grassi
Bureau Véritas -Dunkerque Plaisance Stéphane Le Diraison Thomas Ruyant
Comiris Pole Santé Elior Thierry Bouchard Gilles Berenger
Concise 2 Ned Collier Wakefield Sam Goodchild
Des pieds et des mains Damien Seguin Yoann Richomme
Groupe Picoty Jacques Fournier Jean-Christophe Caso
Hip Eco Blue Andrea Fantini Tommaso Stella
Initiatives - Alex Olivier Tanguy de Lamotte Sébastien Audigane
Lecoq Cuisine Eric Lecoq Eric Defert
Partouche Christophe Coatnoan Axel Strauss
Phoenix Europe Express Stéphanie Alran Jean-Edouard Criquioche
Solo Rune Aasberg Simen Lovgren
ACTUAL Yves Le Blevec Samuel Manuard
Crêpes Whaou ! Franck-Yves Escoffier Antoine Koch
FenetreA - Cardinal Erwan Le Roux Didier Le Vourch
Maitre Jacques Loic Fequet Loic Escoffier Julien Mabit Etienne Mabit
Naviguez Anne Caseneuve Aubin Houdet Caseneuve Anne Caseneuve
Prince de Bretagne Lionel Lemonchois Matthieu Souben

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