Offshore racing

Transat Jacques Vabre - The Ultims and the Fiftys off to a great start on their way to Martinique

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The Transat Jacques Vabre has been going since 1993, and is sometimes known as the Route du Café. This is due to the main sponsor of the race but also because of the countries of arrival, with ports south of the Equator in Brazil often hosting the finish lines, as well as Colombia and also Costa Rica. This year, another new destination, with Martinique set to welcome the crews. The three courses require all the categories (except the Class 40 monohulls) to make a double crossing of the doldrums, with the aim of regrouping the arrivals. The five Ultims will cover 7,500 miles, while the seven Ocean Fiftys will have to make do with a mere 5,800 miles. Following a good start with a decent breeze and slight seas, the crews then had to contend with the current generated by the high spring tides, and winds of less than 5 knots, as they headed out of the English Channel - enough to set back even the fastest ocean-going yachts in the world!

Video: SVR-Lazartigue (François Gabart and Tom Laperche) at the start off Le Havre
© Trimaran SVR Lazartigue _ Guillaume Gatefait



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