Transat Jacques Vabre, here we go! Will it be the fastest Transatlantic (on foils) ever?


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The new Hugo Boss, you notice the particular round, almost C-shaped foils, different from the triple-edged ones we show you below with Charal

27 Class 40, 3 Multi 50, 30 Imoca 60, 4350 miles from Le Havre (France) to Salvador de Bahia (Brazil) : these are the numbers of the Transat Jacques Vabre about to start, the last test of the Imoca class before the highly anticipated Vendée Globe 2020-2021.

There will be only two Italians in the regatta, Giancarlo Pedote, skipper of the Imoca 60 Prysmian Group (read our eve interview HERE), and Pietro Luciani, in his second Jacques Vabre, who will co-skipper with Catherine Pourre on the Class 40 Earendil. The top of the world’s ocean sailing will compete on the water, and of course the lights are on the Imoca 60s who are also going for a possible course record. On the other hand, it is difficult to immediately aim for the 24-hour mile record, as the route does not have particularly favorable weather conditions except along the coast of Portugal, but never say never.


Charal with his edge foils

The level on the water is simply sidereal, with 5 new designs on the starting line and many penultimate generation Imocas that have upgraded foils increasing their performance by at least 20%. The new projects are Hugo Boss (Alex Thomson paired with Neal Mc Donald), Charal (Jérémie Beyou paired with Christopher Pratt), Apivia (Charlie Dalin paired with Yann Elies, Arkea Paprec (Sebastien Simon and Vincent Riou), and Advens (Thomas Ruyant with Antoine Koch, boat built by Persico Marine of Italy).

Arkea Paprec

The favorites? We say on paper Charal, because it is the new Imoca that has been sailing the longest. One step backward all the others, who will have to test tightness first and for this reason are unlikely to be able to express their full potential. The new designs have been oriented, although with appreciable differences on some choices from boat to boat, on four general trends: XXL-sized foils (double-edged variant for example those of Charal, round and almost C-shaped those of Hugo Boss), exaggerated deck flaring to maximize aerodynamic trim and reduce turbulence on the headsails, volumes in the lower part of the bow increasingly powerful, cockpits increasingly covered to increase skippers’ comfort. A dry skipper is in fact also more efficient and polished, thus faster.


Ian Lipinski’s Class 40 Credit Mutuel, perhaps the most extreme of the fleet

Between class specialists and newcomers from the Mini 650 world, even among the Class 40s the technical level will be very high. Even on these boats, the widespread trend is to create increasingly powerful bow volumes, practically scow, and almost all new designs have followed this path. Eyes on Ian Lipinski (winner of two Mini Transats) and Adrien Hardy aboard Crédit Mutuel (boat designed by that David Raison who introduced scows to the Mini world). But also look out for Banque du Leman with Simon Koster and Valentin Gautier (2019 Sam Manuard project), Beijaflore by William Mathelin and Marc Guillemot, Lamotte by the pair Luke Berry and Tanguy Le Tourquais (2018 Manuard project), and Leyot with Sam Goodchild and Fabien Delahaye.

Multi 50

Three trimarans are competing; there are no newly launched boats; the most recent, from 2017, is Solidaires en Peloton by Thibaut Vauchel and Fred Duthil (photo). But watch out for the well-trodden Gilles Lamiré and Antoine Carpentier on Groupe GCA and Sebastien Rogues with Matthieu Souben on Primonial.


Mauro Giuffrè


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