The Transat Saint-Barth – Port la Forêt (formerly the Transat B to B) will celebrate its third edition this December 2015. Run in the years preceding the Vendée Globe and created to serve as a solo qualifier on the way back from the Transat Jacques Vabre, the Transat Saint-Barth – Port la Forêt is obviously a lot more than that. A training course in similar conditions to those in the Vendée Globe, a confrontation between skippers and boats of different generations and a final technical trial prior to the winter refits, it is the perfect springboard with a view to the events scheduled for 2016.
Four years ago, it was a newcomer to the IMOCA class, one François Gabart who, in his very first race in singlehanded configuration, secured a win right from under the noses of racers as experienced as Vincent Riou, Armel Le Cléac’h and also Alex Thomson. Evidence then of the relevance of this race which, not content with revealing new talent, also serves as a fantastic trial run for machines that are sure to be put through their paces in the Southern Ocean.
From the paradise of the West Indies to the hub of offshore racing
St Barts: with the port of Gustavia as a backdrop, the IMOCA fleet will come together prior to setting sail on this winter transatlantic bound for Europe. St Barts and its unforgettable landscapes have long been renowned as a venue for hosting major offshore races and will provide a final taste of the tropical sunshine before the IMOCAs plunge into winter.
Port la Forêt: it’s here that it all began. Indeed this port on France’s north-western tip is the cradle of offshore racing and its name has become synonymous with the victories secured by the members of its local Pôle Finistère Course au Large racing hub. In fact, it is no coincidence that the winners of the last four Vendée Globes have all come from this very training centre. For this particular edition of the race, three of the participants in this Transat Saint-Barth – Port la Forêt are members of the centre (Paul Meilhat, Yann Eliès and Sébastien Josse). One of them, Paul Meilhat, has settled in Port-la-Forêt with his shore team.