The open Atlantic is going to be a busy place over the next few of weeks as not one but two fleets of shorthanded sailors make their way from Europe to South America.
The first to jump off will be the 44-boat Transat Jacques Vabre doublehanded fleet, which sets out from Le Havre, France, on November 3 bound for Itajai, Brazil. The second to set sail will be the 84 Mini 6.5s taking part in this year’s Mini Transat—a two-stage event that is scheduled to depart the Canary Islands bound for Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe on November 9, following a 1,200-mile “prologue” that was originally set begin October 13 in Douarnenez, France, but is currently on hold because of severe weather in the open Atlantic.
This year’s Transat Jacques Vabre will be comprises four sections, including a Class 40 class, IMOCA Open 60 class, a Multi50 trimaran class and a MOD70 trimaran class. Among the Class 40s will be U.S. sailor Rob Windsorand British sailor Hannah Jenner of Team 11th Hour Racing. Windsor will be the only U.S. competitor in this year’s multinational fleet, and Jenner is one of only three women competing.
As always, the fleet will also include a number of European shorthanded racing rock stars, like French Vendée Globe winners Francois Gabart and Michel Desjoyeaux aboard the Open 60 Macif, and Barcelona World Race winner Jean-Pierre Dick and past race winner Roland Jourdain, also both of France, aboard the MOD70 Virbac-Paprec.
This year’s Mini Transat fleet includes U.S. Jeffrey MacFarlane who has been battling back from a disastrous dismasting off the Spanish coast last spring.