Le Havre – At one week before next Sunday’s start of the 11th edition of the Transat Jacques, the two-handed Transatlantic Race from Le Havre to Itajai, Brazil, the race already feels like it has real momentum. The wind is in its sails now after the extensive race village, which is centred around Le Havre’s Paul Vatine Basin, was officially opened this Saturday morning.
Visitors flocked to the quaysides from early today to see the four fleets lined up, assembled for this eleventh edition of the race, the MOD70 and Multi50 multihulls and the IMOCA Open 60 and Class 40 monohulls. And while the sunny, windy weather was far from unpleasant for the visitors as they walked the docksides, that stiff breeze was definitely welcomed by the race duos as they took on the challenge of the Prologue Virtual Regatta Inshore which was won by Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier (Edmond de Rothschild)
The first day’s action launched a week of festivities which will run until the fleets depart, starting from next Sunday 3rd November. The race village was officially inaugurated by Edouard Philippe, Mayor of the City of Le Havre, and Pascal Bourdin, Mondelēz International President of France and Benelux representing the two race organizing partners.
“The City of Le Havre is very pleased to welcome for the 11th time the Transat Jacques Vabre an event which has long since become an essenital fixture on the race calendar – said Edouard Philippe – for 20 years now the city of Havre and Mondelēz International Group have linked in partnership to produce an event which is a popular and a sporting success with the key goal of promoting the relationship between the sailors and the public“.
Recalling his contribution to the creation of the Transat Jacques Vabre back in 1993, Pascal Bourdin recounted: “Looking back over 20 years, to be here now and see what we have fills me with a great emotion. I see that the event has been transformed and grown. There were 13 boats in 1993 we have 44 this year. And the choice of the start city, Le Havre, from that first edition, was a good one. The Transat Jacques Vabre and Mondelēz International group work together with shared commitments: sustainable development and limiting any environmental impact. The race is about telling the stories of the men and women involved“.
And of course there was the symbolic ribbon cutting, Edouard Philippe and Pascal Bourdin fulfilled the requisite ritual and set in train a week of exciting activities for all ages running through until November 3 when the race itself starts.
The ‘prologue’ is won by Sébastien Josse and Charles Caudrelier
While the four fleets, Class40, Multi50, IMOCA and MOD70 sit tied safely to the dock in the Paul Vatine Basin visitors only had to walk a few metres to see their heroes in action, live on the water. The boats were of course smaller that their race craft, Beneteau First Class 7.50’s but the action was intense and exciting in the brisk breezes. Due to the rough conditions forecast for tomorrow, Sunday, the organizers chose to push the full programme through today. A tight windward-leeward course was set. The winners of each flight went to a semi-final fleet consisting of Edmond de Rothschild, Cheminées Poujoulat, Maitre Coq, Actual, Energa and Macif. And the grand final set duo Bernard Stamm/Philippe Legros (Cheminées Poujoulat) and Sébastien Josse/Charles Caudrelier (Edmond de Rothschild) against each other. In the end it was the Edmond de Rothschild duo which won Prologue Virtual Regatta Inshore.
2011 Title Defenders
Jean-Pierre Dick & Jérémie Beyou
15days 18h 15min 54sec
Yves Le Blevec & Samuel Manuard
17days 17h 7min 43sec
Yannick Bestaven & Éric Drouglazet
21days 17h 59min 8sec