The Transat Jacques Vabre opens in Le Havre
The countdown to the start of the 13th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre on Sunday, November 5 has officially begun after the race village opened in glorious sunshine yesterday (Friday). The 38 competing boats are now moored in Le Havre and the 76 sailors have taken up their autumn quarters for nine days in the Norman city. At 14:00 (French time), on what could have been a summer’s day, a last ballet of 14 boats graced the locks at the entrance to the Bassin Paul Vatine, with the Maxi, Edmond de Rothschild (32m long and 23m wide) finishing the dance to position itself in the Bassin de l’Eure. At 16:00, the race village of the Transat Jacques Vabre opened its doors to the general public, who were already there in large numbers to admire the fleet of 16 Class40, 6 Multi 50, 13 Imoca and 3 Ultime. The famous double-handed Route du Café can now begin…
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There was an air of summer in Le Havre. The sun was shining, the skippers were beaming too, the flags of the 38 boats floated in a breath of air and the visitors crowded the quays of the Bassins Paul Vatine and de l’Eure. It was like the people of Le Havre and the ocean racing fans were one big happy family enjoying a gigantic shared moment. Tomorrow, at 11:00, the Transat Jacques Vabre race village will be officially inaugurated by Luc Lemonnier, mayor of Le Havre and president of CODAH (communauté d’agglomération havraise – a regional body); Xavier Mitjavila, president of sponsors, JDE; Marie-Agnès Poussier-Winsback, vice president of the Normandy Region and Nicolas Hénard, president of the FFV – the French Sailing Federation, who will cut the traditional ribbon together and thereby launch the incredible programme of festivities.
For the 76 skippers, after the group photo and the welcome briefing in the evening, the week promises to be a busy one, what with the exhibition regatta tomorrow, the meetings with the schools and the public, the safety checks, studying the weather files, and the safety and weather briefings, all whilst enjoying the warm welcome of Le Havre.