Le Havre (AFP)

All sails out but also any hull out: the double Transat Jacques Vabre, whose departure was given Sunday in Le Havre, promises to be amazing thanks to the boats of last generation, able to fly + thanks to their foils.

Under a gray sky and a little wind, 59 boats left on Sunday early in the afternoon from Le Havre to go to the other side of the Atlantic and reach Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) after a dozen days of navigation for the best of them.

The fleet, which consists of three classes of boats - one in multihulls, the Multi50s (3 boats of 50 feet / 15 m), two in monohulls, the Class40 (27 boats of 40 feet / 12 m) and the Imoca (29 boats 60 feet / 18 m) - should divide as early as Monday night, before heading to the Azores.

Particular attention will be paid to the Imoca, the star boats of the Vendée Globe (solo round-the-world race) returning in November 2020, with a new generation of sailboats, the foilers - the foils being more lateral appendages or minus 7 m acting as airplane wings to take off the hull. Some make their baptism of fire on the Transat Jacques Vabre (TJV).

- A favorite, an unknown -

First of the kind, Charal, skippered by Jérémie Beyou (in duet with Christophe Pratt), is the big favorite whereas it is more than a year that he is rode. The newcomers are: Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss, co-skipper Neal Mc Donald), Thomas Ruyant (Advens for Cybersecurity, co-skipper Antoine Koch), Charlie Dalin (Apivia, co-skipper Yann Elies) and Sebastien Simon (Arkea Paprec) , co-skipper Vincent Riou).

"We feel that it is the future, that these are the boats that will compete for victory on the Vendée Globe but we are a bit like the scenario of 2015, when only one of the five new boats had finished the race. Transat Jacques Vabre ", highlights to AFP Yann Eliès, winner in Imoca of the last edition of the TJV with Jean-Pierre Dick.

Because, undoubtedly, there will be breaks between France and Brazil. The boat Arkéa Paprec even left Le Havre deprived of one of its two foils, broken a week before the departure during the transport to Le Havre.

"Charal, is the most successful and the one that goes faster," slips Armel Le Cléach ', winner of the last Vendée Globe. "The unknown is Hugo Boss One year before the Vendée Globe (2016), they put a new boat in the water, they almost sank off Finistère, it was the disaster. that I tell myself that he will not take risks this time. "

- Without the Ultimates -

Le Cléac'h, co-skipper on the Monohull Banque Populaire with Clarisse Crémer, should not have been there. But, in multihull in 2017, he waits for the release of his new machine (in 2021) after the capsize of his boat during the Route du Rhum 2018. It was one of the giant multihulls of 32 m the very elitist category of Ultim, who are not present on the TJV.

For lack of agreement between the class and the organizers of the TJV, the Ultimate play in their yard. They created their own race, also in doubles. She will leave Brest next Sunday, with 4 boats in the running.

Still, there are still multihulls on the Transat Jacques Vabre and a priori, the victory will be for them.

"It's going to be quite interesting conditions for us, the Multi50s, I can not wait for this confrontation, in quotation marks, between the Imoca and the Multi50, everyone will try to win in his class and in addition try to arrive first at the scratch. ", rejoices Sébastien Rogues (Primonial)," disappointed "that the class is not further highlighted. "I hope we will really be wrong when we arrive first in Salvador!"

© 2019 AFP