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Transat Jacques-Vabre: a particularly hectic departure

Ⓒ AFP – Damien MEYER – | The competitors of the Transat Jacques Vabre, November
5, 2017 in Le Havre

From the sea and the galleys: 37 boats left Le Havre Sunday
to Brazil in tonic sea conditions for the Transat
Jacques-Vabre, double race, which has experienced a big stir
with the indictment and detention of a skipper.

The start was given at 13:35 in front of the beaches of Le
Havre for the fleet that headed between two showers, towards a
rough sea, with hollows of 1 to 2 meters.

The star of this 13th edition is undoubtedly the brand new
boat, capable of + flying like no other, the Maxi Edmond de
Rothschild (Ultimate category), skippered by Sébastien Josse,
assisted by Thomas Rouxel.

The giant multihull (32 m long and 23 m wide) could reach
Salvador de Bahia in an incredible time estimated at 8 days,
for its premiere in competition. The boat was launched just
four months ago.

“The crossing is going to be fast, we are going to meet
conditions that we have never had with this boat.Our goal is to
go to Bahia as best as possible, and especially make the round
back the first two days Josse said just before the start,
adding that he had “the ball in the stomach”.

– Sea fortunes –

Ⓒ AFP – Sophie RAMIS – | The Transat Jacques Vabre

Its main rival is none other than Thomas Coville (Sodebo
Ultim ‘), holder of the record of the solo tour around the
world (49 days and 3 hours). But its maxi-trimaran is not last
generation and the battle will be tough between a boat “old
briscard” and another “young rookie”, equipped with “foils”,
these appendages that allow the boat to be raised beyond- above
the water to spin at high speed.

“It will maybe go 4 knots faster than us and in this case
there will be no race, we will see him leave and we will never
see him again,” says AFP Jean-Luc Nélias, co-skipper of

“There can be a lot of seas, if we can reach 102% of the
potential of the boat, it motivates us.It is a boat that has
largely fulfilled the objectives but we must use it as best as
possible,” he says. -he.

Sunday morning, all the boats left the Paul-Vatine basin
where they were moored to join the starting line, in front of a
few thousand visitors.

A small breath of emotion invaded the village of the Transat
while the families of competitors came to greet their loved

Some sailors are young dads, like Paul Meilhat and his
co-skipper Gwénolé Gahinet (SMA), who took their children in
their arms in a freezing cold.

– Aggression –

Servane Escoffier, on board with her husband Louis Burton
(Bureau Vallée 2), was probably the most moved as she said
goodbye to their two children for her first great race in seven

Ⓒ AFP/Archives – CHARLY TRIBALLEAU – | Fahad Al Hasni, the co-skipper of Oman Sail, October
28, 2017 in Le Havre

The start of the race was marked by the abandonment of the
boat Oman Sail whose co-skipper was still in custody at the
time of departure, suspected of sexual assault before being
indicted and detained for rape in the evening of Sunday.

Fahad Al Hasni was arrested on Friday night after a woman
was found crying in the hallway of a hotel, claiming to have
been sexually assaulted.

“The investigating judge has put Al Hasni on trial for
rape.A request for delay was made by the mis en cause to
prepare his defense,” said François Gosselin, prosecutor of Le
Havre, to AFP. “A temporary imprisonment of four days, in the
meantime, has been imposed,” said the magistrate.

Oman Sail, whose co-skipper denies the complainant’s version
of events, has decided to withdraw from the race.

It is therefore 37 and not 38 boats, or 74 sailors, who left
Le Havre, divided into four categories (Ultimate, Multi50,
Imoca, Class40).

They will first have a small coastal
course before descending to the tip of Brittany and then cross
the Bay of Biscay. They will skirt Spain and Portugal before
passing near Cape Verde and then cross the equator and go to

The Ultimate are expected around November 13-14, the Multi50
around November 15-16, the Imoca around November 18-19 and the
Class40 around November 23-25.

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