Created in 1993 and harking back to the history of the major trade routes from centuries past, the Transat Jacques Vabre quickly made a name for itself as an unmissable event. It is held every two years and has been contested double-handed since 1995. Historically linked to the city of Le Havre, the first edition of the Coffee Route finished in Cartagena in Colombia. The race has had various destinations since that time: Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, then Puerto Limon in Costa Rica and Itajai in Brazil, before returning to Salvador since 2017.
The finish line, in the heart of the Bay of All Saints, heralds the conclusion of a 4,350-mile course encompassing the English Channel, the Bay of Biscay and the North Atlantic, before linking into the trade winds and the terrible Doldrums before crossing the equator into the South Atlantic. The IMOCA reference time has belonged to Jean-Pierre Dick and Yann Eliès aboard St Michel-Virbac since the last edition with a time of 13 days, 7 hours, 36 minutes and 46 seconds. It’s highly likely that it will be beaten in 2019, with no fewer than thirty boats or so at the start on 27 October, including several from the latest generation: Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson and Neal McDonald), Arkéa-Paprec (Sébastien Simon and Vincent Riou), Apivia (Charlie Dalin).