No fewer than 21 skippers from the last Vendée Globe 2020-2021 will leave to cross the Atlantic Sunday from start line of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the double handed race which this year follows a 5800 nautical miles course finishing in Martinique. The strong Imoca class sees 22 boats racing, a phenomenal fleet for the immediate post Vendée Globe period.
By comparison with the 2017 edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre – the last post Vendée Globe edition – then there were Imocas lining up after an edition won by Armel Le Cléac'h. And so there is a direct reflection of the incredible interest in the next edition which will start in November 2023. In the fleet of 22 boats, 17 of them raced the last edition of the solo non stop round the world race.
The Imoca 60-foot race program continues to grow and increasingly is an essential part of the tougher qualification process for the race. Combined with the technical rules imposed on the boats this has made them more reliable to the point that 75% of them finished the last Vendée Globe in comparison with a usual average closer to 50%. The benefit is that more than ever, sponsors and partners are continuing and extend their commitments from one edition to the next.
With the notable exception of Jean le Cam, Boris Herrmann and Maxime Sorel, seven of the top 10 of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021 are present on the Le Havre starting line. While racing their existing boats which they took round the world recently, Yannick Bestaven ( Maître CoQ), Charlie Dalin (Apivia) and Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) have all announced the build of a new boat in their pursuit of glory on the 2024 race. Jérémie Beyou (Charal) and Sam Davies (Initiatives-Cœur) are both also building new.
Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée) will be racing the boat which is new to him. He bought L’Occitane-en-Provence from Armel Tripon. And it will be a first big trans ocean race for Romain Attanasio (Fortinet - Best Western) as well who has got his hands on SeaExplorer - Yacht Club de Monaco from Boris Herrmann.
Others still have scores to settle, Charlie Dalin maybe won the last edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre with Yann Eliès, but wants to keep up a winning run that surely helps salve any lingering disappointment of being overtaken by Yannick Bestaven on the strength of his time compensation, even after crossing the Vendée Globe finish line first. That chimes with the drive of Paul Meilhat who is his co-skipper on Apivia, who abandoned the Vendée Globe 2016 into Tahiti. So too there is some unfinished business for Thomas Ruaynt, whose Vendée Globe was compromised by the loss of his port foil, here partnered with the highly driven Morgan Lagravière who pulled out of the 2016 Vendée Globe into South Africa.
Jérémie Beyou’s 2020-21 race was not anything close to what was wanted by one of the pre-race favourites. On this TJV he again sails with his friend of some fifteen years Christopher Pratt. They have to erase the twin frustrations of the Vendée Globe 2020, for Beyou who finished 13th after leaving Les Sables again three days after the fleet. But this duo especially have to exorcise memories of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2019. They led into the Doldrums but got badly stuck and suffered as Apivia slid away to and take victory.
Sébastien Simon (Arkea Paprec) has chosen Eliès, to accompany him in this rematch. Simon knows his contract will not be extended with the sponsoring partners and really intends to make his mark on this race, a way of preparing for the future. The Vendée Globe was cruel to him as well, forcing him to retire before the Cape of Good Hope. Also in that category, sailors who abandoned and are out to fight for a strong result to take them into the next quadrennial are Sam Davies and Isabelle Joschke (MACSF). Nicolas Lunven is the co-skipper for Davies and Fabien Delahaye for Joschke.
Fabrice Amedeo (Nexans - Arts & Fenêtres) who retired into Cape Town has a score to settle with his immediate past. He wants a good result and races with the young Figarist Lois Berrehar. Nicolas Troussel fully intends to show the best of CORUM-L’Epargne racing with Sébastien Josse, eminent weather consultant for the last Vendée Globe and above all an exceptional sailor who won the 2013 Transat Jacques Vabre on the MOD70 Gitana.
Brothers (and Sisters) In Arms
Three 100% Vendée Globe 2020-2021 duos take part on the Coffee Route. Damien Seguin and Benjamin Dutreux join forces on Groupe Apicil; Stéphane le Diraison and Didac Costa are on Time for Oceans; Manuel Cousin chose Alexia Barrier for Groupe Setin - 4myPlanet. And meantime Clément Giraud (Compagnie du Lit - Jiliti) is crossing with Erik Nigon who lent him his boat to allow him to race the Vendée Globe. Arnaud Boissières takes Rodolphe Sepho who has bought his boat as ‘Cali’ has bought Initiatives-Cœur/
Kevin Escoffier who was so memorably rescued by Jean Le Cam is paired up with Armel Le Cléac’h in the Ultimes class aboard Banque-Populaire. Three Vendée Globe winners are present on this edition: François Gabart (2012-2013, trimaran SVR - Lazartigue), Armel Le Cléac'h (2016-2017, Banque-Populaire) and Yannick Bestaven (2020-2021, Maître-CoQ )