A race first run back in 1993 celebrating the traditional clipper coffee-trading route between Brazil and France and aiming at making ocean racing more accessible, this highly mediatic transat takes place every other year. Covering 4350 nm of open ocean and as such the toughest and longest double-handed race, it is a major event on the racing calendar for career sailors and strong, prestigious offshore classes such as the IMOCAs and Class 40s.
Le Havre is of course a well-known racing destination, hosting inshore and offshore events through the year. This is the home of the Transat Jacques Vabre (or “Route du Café”), as a leading coffee importer and foreign trade port with a strong maritime history. The race village set up for the 14th edition lasted a full 10 days with concerts, an eco-awareness programme, and numerous interviews and with no less than 2400 free sailing trips offered by local clubs. 80 volunteers helped out at the event, which was attended by an incredible 520,000 visitors.
The impressive line-up of participants included 29 IMOCAs, 3 Multi 50s and 27 Class 40s, providing a rich banquet of top competitive sailors and highly technical offshore yachts.
Harbour Master Julien LeBas described the attraction of the event:
This type of event attracts both a public of racing enthusiasts, who travel by boat to Le Havre to visit the race village and participating boats and to follow the start on the water, and also a large number of folk who just love the sea. The concept of offshore sailing definitely captures the imagination and the prospect of these yachts preparing to race across the Atlantic chimes with a lot of people.
The set-up around the race is also an opportunity to showcase the City’s nautical character in front of a large national and an international press. Correspondingly, in Le Havre marina, an event like this allows us to demonstrate the quality of our facilities and technical services.
For next year, we look forward to the “Voiles Etudiantes du Havre”, Figaro event “Le Havre – Allmer Cup”, local racing events every fortnight and the Winter Championship amongst others.