The line-up for the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, which starts from Le Havre on 5th November, is now complete. In the IMOCA category, 13 pairs will be heading for Salvador da Bahia in Brazil, to attempt to follow in the footsteps of Vincent Riou and Sébastien Col, who won the race in 2015. The standard looks very high and there is not much to choose between the crews, as we saw at the Azimut Challenge, a final rehearsal, which took place in Lorient this weekend.
With forty days to go to the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the double-handed crews taking part seem to be in good shape and are all raring to set sail. The line-up for the famous Coffee Race was revealed at a press conference in Paris on Wednesday 20th September. No fewer than thirteen IMOCA monohulls will be lining up, including five of the seven foilers that are currently sailing. Time for us to take a look at those competing.
Three mixed crews
One of the best bits of news about the line-up is that there will be three women taking part. On Bureau Vallée 2 (Armel Le Cléac’h’s former Banque Populaire VIII), Servane Escoffier will be sailing alongside her partner, Louis Burton. Aboard the boat that won the last Vendée Globe, this pair will be closely watched.
On Generali, Isabelle Joschke and Pierre Brasseur, both newcomers to the IMOCA class, did well in the last Rolex Fastnet Race (5th) and in the Azimut Challenge (3rd in the 24-Hour race). They will be trying to repeat that performance in the Jacques Vabre.
The third mixed crew comprises Tanguy de Lamotte and Sam Davies on Initiatives Cœur. Between the two of them, they have clocked up four attempts at the Vendée Globe, so Tanguy and Sam will be taking advantage of their wealth of experience to get the most out of their IMOCA foiler.
SMA facing up well to the new foilers
Paul Meilhat and Gwénolé Gahinet are now brimming over with confidence. The two that work so well together pulled off three wins in the ArMen Race, the Rolex Fastnet Race, and the Azimut Challenge last weekend. In Lorient, Paul and Gwénolé won the 24-hour race on Saturday and the Round the Isle of Groix race the next day. These successes show just how well prepared they are and how they work well together, as well as confirming the ability of SMA, which appears to be the best IMOCA with straight daggerboards. “We’re starting to get everything straight when carrying out manoeuvres and trimming. On board our routine is getting better and better organised. We are completely focused and serious, while remaining relaxed,” said a very pleasedGwénolé Gahinet. This latest success is a good omen and SMA will certainly be one to watch in the Transat Jacques Vabre, even if the foilers should be able to express themselves much more strongly, as they cross the Atlantic.
In spite of not having much time to prepare, Morgan Lagravière and Eric Péron also left us with a very good impression with their IMOCA foiler, "Des Voiles Et Vous" (the former Safran), finishing second in the Azimut 24-hour race and 3rd in the Round the Isle of Groix race. They will be in strong contention, as will the crew on StMichel-Virbac, made up of Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès. The undisputed master of double-handed sailing (three wins in the Transat Jacques Vabre, two in the Barcelona World Race), Jean-Pierre has once again chosen a very talented co-skipper. Together they will be aiming for victory and nothing less.
Last minute entrants for the 2017 Jacques Vabre, Boris Herrmann and Thomas Ruyant will be setting sail on another strong performing foiler, Malizia II (Sébastien Josse’s former Edmond de Rothschild), and they too have a lot going for them.
Kito de Pavant and Yannick Bestaven (Bastide Otio) are an experienced pair, who are quite capable of getting a great result. The two have already done well in the Jacques Vabre: Kito finished second in 2009 in the IMOCA category and in 2013 aboard a Multi50, while Yannick won the race in 2015 on a Class40.
At the same time as taking his first steps on his new foiler (Pieter Heerema’s former No Way Back), Fabrice Amedeo is preparing aboard his 2007 Farr designed boat, Newrest-Brioche Pasquier, sailing double-handed with the Italian, Giancarlo Pedote. We will also be seeing Arnaud Boissières and Manuel Cousin on la Mie Câline-Artipôle. After this race, Manuel will be going it alone on this boat, while Arnaud will be getting his hands on his new monohull, Mike Golding’s former Ecover.
Alan Roura, who was one of the revelations in the last Vendée Globe, is settling in with his new IMOCA in the colours of La Fabrique, alongside Frédéric Denis. While the pair were forced to retire with energy problems in the Azimut 24-hour race, they gained some useful experience and will be fully ready by the start in Le Havre.
Even if their boat is not the most modern (2004), Yoann Richomme and Pierre Lacaze hope to do well and whatever happens, a transatlantic crossing on an IMOCA will be good experience for them.
Finally, Romain Attanasio and Aurélien Ducroz will be setting sail on the oldest boat in the fleet, Famille Mary-Etamine du Lys, which dates back to 1998. This will be Romain’s final race aboard the venerable old IMOCA, as he is to be the new owner of Fabrice Amedeo’s Newrest-Brioche Pasquier.
The 13 duos competing in the Transat Jacques Vabre
- Kito de Pavant & Yannick Bestaven (Bastide Otio / Farr design from 2006)
- Louis Burton & Servane Escoffier (Bureau Vallée 2 / VPLP-Verdier design from 2015)
- Morgan Lagravière & Eric Péron (Des Voiles Et Vous ! / VPLP-Verdier design from 2015)
- Famille Mary-Etamine Du Lys (Romain Attanasio & Aurélien Ducroz / Lombard design from 1998)
- Generali (Isabelle Joschke & Pierre Brasseur / VPLP-Verdier design from 2007)
- Tanguy De Lamotte & Samantha Davies (Initiatives Cœur / VPLP-Verdier design from 2010)
- Alan Roura & Frédéric Denis (La Fabrique / Finot-Conq design from 2007)
- Arnaud Boissières & Manuel Cousin (La Mie Câline-Artipôle / Farr design from 2007)
- Boris Herrmann & Thomas Ruyant (Malizia II / VPLP-Verdier design from 2015)
- Fabrice Amedeo & Giancarlo Pedote (Newrest-Brioche Pasquier / Farr design from 2007)
- Paul Meilhat & Gwénolé Gahinet (SMA / VPLP-Verdier design from 2011)
- Jean-Pierre Dick & Yann Eliès (StMichel-Virbac / VPLP-Verdier design from 2015)
- Yohann Richomme & Pierre Lacaze (Vivo A Beira / Lombard design from 2004)