An armada of 59 boats left Sunday Le Havre for a crossing of the Atlantic which promises to be muscular for the 14th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, double race of 4,350 nautical miles (8,050 km) to Salvador de Bahia ( Brazil).
3 classes at the start
The sailboats took off at 1:15 pm under a gray sky and with a lot of wind, a few hours after leaving their loved ones, not without a great emotion, on the pontoons of the Paul-Vatine basin, where the public had come in number. The fleet, almost twice as large as the previous edition in 2017, consists of 3 classes: one multihull, the Multi50 (3 boats 50 feet / 15 m), two monohulls, the Class40 (27 boats). 40 feet / 12 m) and the Imoca (29 boats 60 feet / 18 m), the stars of the race around the world alone will be played in a year.
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The big favorite in Imoca is the boat skippered by Jérémie Beyou (Charal), in partnership with Christopher Pratt. The monohull is one of the five Imoca last generation (the 'foilers'), able to fly through foils, these side appendages that raise the hull over the water to spin at 30-40 knots (55.5 -74 km / h). Beyou, 3rd in the last Vendée Globe, has been sailing for more than a year with his new horse and is in pole position to join Brazil in "flying" mode.
According to the latest estimates, it will take at least 12 days to cross the Atlantic. The Multi50 should precede the Imoca.
The tone should be given Monday night, before negotiating the Azores, where the anticyclone will divide the fleet.