The first edition of the Coffee Route was in 1993 (it was held in the “solo” category) in which 5 multihulls and 8 monohulls would participate; Regatta that Paul Vatine would win with the ORMA 60 “Région Haute-Normandie” trimaran after 16 days and 46 minutes, and in monohulls Yves Parlier would win with the OPEN 60 “Cacolac d’Aquitaine” after 18 days, and 23:38 hours.
From the second edition in 1995 (it is held every two years) there will be a change in the regulations going from solo navigation to A Dos, only 6 trimarans and 5 monohulls attended the event. He would win again the “Région Haute-Normandie” in multihulls manned by Paul Vatine and Roland Jourdian in 14 days and 12:25 hours; and in monohulls the “Côtes d’Or” by Fred Dahirel and Jean Maruel with a time of 21 days and 08:40 hours.
1995 will mark the beginning of the competitive growth of the Transat Jacques Vabre, little by little more classes are incorporated between monohulls and multihulls; although at some point there will also be a setback. In 2007, the Class40 with 28 monohulls entered squarely, practically double the number of the IMOCAs, which were 16 OPEN 60 units.
A bad taste in the mouth left the organization for the 2009 edition by reducing participation to only 14 IMOCAs, among which there were four dropouts, and 6 trimarans of the 50-foot class, with two dropouts. Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier with the «Safran were the first in monohulls, and Franck-Yves Escoffier with Erwan Le Roux won in multihulls on board the« Crêpes Whaou! ».
In 2015 the Ultimes appear, super maxi trimarans with more than 30 meters in length, lining up at the exit «Macif», «Sobebo Ultim», «Actual» and «Prince de Bretagne»; and the same number of multihulls in the Multi 50 Class. Although the group of the fleet was specified among the monohulls with 20 registered in IMOCA and 14 in Class40.
François Gabart, accompanied by Pascal Bidégorry, made clear the potential of the Ultims after crossing the Itajaí (Brazil) finish line with the «Macif» in 12 days and 17:29:27 hours at an average speed of 20.75 knots; a day faster than the second “Sobebo Ultim”, which took 13 days and 01:17:38 hours. At IMOCA Armel Le Cléac’h and Erwan Tabarly took the lead in the trade winds, but the Doldrums shuffled the cards again. Vincent Riou and Sébastien Col were the first to get out of the trap and held the chasing group until the finish, leaving the clock in 17 days and 00:22:24 hours at an average speed of 13.22 knots, being a second consecutive victory of Riou in this regatta.
The multihull fleet contracted in 2019 with only three trimarans in Multi 50, while in the IMOCA Class it reached 29 entries as a consequence that in 2020-2021 the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe solo round the world would be held; and the Class40 added 27 monohulls.
An exciting and rich Route du Café. A regatta of more than 4,350 miles between Le Havre and Salvador de Bahía (Brazil) of the highest level and with more than deserved winners. Lipinski / Hardy in the Class40 on board the «Crédit Mutuel» (17 days and 4:21:23 pm), Lamiré / Carpentier in the Multi50 with the «Groupe GCA – Mille et un sourires» and Dalin / Eliès on the IMOCA « Apivia »(13 days and 12:08 hours).
There are less than twenty days left for the celebration of the fifteenth edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre, the departure is scheduled for November 7 in Le Havre to Martinique, but with a route configuration that will have four routes for each of the classes competing.
The fleet that will descend the most in the Atlantic Ocean will be the Ultim 32/23 that will have to turn the Brazilian archipelago of Trindade and Martim Vaz located on parallel 20 ° 31´ South, a route that will add 7,500 miles that will force them to cross on two occasions the equatorial zone, a first time heading south and the second heading northwest towards the Caribbean. The IMOCA and Ocean Fifty will also make the same pass in Ecuador, but they will only descend in the southern hemisphere until they turn the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha to return to the northern hemisphere traveling some 5,800 miles.
Only the Class40 will make a more classic route, of about 4,600 miles, with the only exception that they will have to leave the Cape Verde islands to starboard and then head west with the trade winds towards Martinique Island.
What the Organization of the Transat Jacques Vabre intends is that the arrival of the entire fleet coincides on the date for all classes.
Who are the favorites? Difficult task before a total of 80 participating teams, distributed as follows: 45 in Class40, 23 in IMOCA, 7 in Ocean Fifty and 5 in Ultim 32/23. In each of them are the winners of the 2019 edition, such as Ian Lipinski in Class40 or Charlie Dalin in IMOCA; To these we add the return world sailors Sébastien Simon, Yann Eliès, Jérémie Beyou, Sébastien Josse, Sam Davies, Thomas Ruyant, Pascal Bidégorry, Armel Tripon, Armel Le Cléac’h, Kevin Escoffier, Yves Le Blevec, Franck Cammas, Charles Caudrelier, Thomas Coville or François Gabart, well, let each one make their own speculation.
There will be two Spaniards who will participate in this regatta, Didac Costa together with the Frenchman Stéphane Le Diraison aboard the IMOCA «Time For Oceans»; and Pablo Santurde Del Arco in Class40 at the «Redman» with Antoine Carpentier.
The truth is that we will see 160 sailors in groups of A Dos squeezing their boats to the maximum through the Bay of Biscay and the Atlantic Ocean.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism