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The Atlantic Cup - America's Class40 Race

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2019 Transat Jacques Vabre Preview

One of the iconic offshore distance races held every other year starts on Sunday, October 27th and The Atlantic Cup's very own Sam Holliday is on the ground preparing the IMOCA 60 Campagne de France. Here is his preview of who's who and who are the ones to watch!

© Jean-Louis Carli/Alea LE HAVRE, FRANCE - OCTOBER 21 The Transat Jacques Vabre is a race that has become synonymous with short-handed offshore racing. A race in which competitors’ compete double-handed from Le Havre, France to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. 4,350 nautical miles of ocean racing created to celebrate the historical coffee routes and provide a playground for many of the world’s best competitors. The 2019 edition features three classes, the Multi50, the IMOCA60 and the ever popular Class40. No Ultime’s feature in this edition as they are busy preparing for the Brest Atlantiques which looks sure to be a spectacular event in its own right. For this preview however, it’ll be the Class40 fleet that I focus on. Below is an insight into the route and the teams I expect to be arriving in Salvador at the top of the leaderboard. With two brand new boats for two brand new Class40 teams it’ll be fascinating to see how they fair against the more experienced Class40 competitors.

The Contenders: Crosscall Chamonix Mont-Blanc: Skipper: Louis Duc Co-Skipper: Aurélien Ducroz Lift40 (#150)


(Crosscall) Class40_Crosscall_Chamonix-Mont-Blanc © Eric Gachet The 2017 Transat Jacques Vabre was this boat's first outing. Crosscall Chamonix Mont-Blanc (formerly Carac) is a powerful boat that still astounds competitors when the winds pick up. Skippered by long time Class40 competitor Louis Duc, he brings an unparallelled understanding of how to make her go quickly. Don’t let his 19th place in the 2018 Route du Rhum fool you. Louis is top class and although his co-skipper, Aurélien Ducoz, is more well known for his exploits on skis, he is not only highly capable, but fiercely competitive. Sam's Prediction: 5th Lamotte – Module Création:

Lamotte ©Pierrick ContinSkipper: Luke Berry Co-Skipper: Tanguy Le Turquais Mach40.3 (#153) 5th in the 2018 Normandy Channel Race, 6th in the Route du Rhum and the winner of the 2019 Fastnet Race, Luke Berry’s Mach 40.3 is a boat that’s been there and done that. Luke is also a well-regarded sailor having posted highly impressive results in both Class40 and the Mini6.50 and it’s the Mini 6.50 fleet where he’s found his co-skipper. Tanguy le Turquais, twice the French Mini 6.5 champion brings with him exceptional abilities. It’s also reported that the pair have been exceptionally quick when training with a number of other hotly tipped Class40s. Sam's Prediction: 4th Crédit Mutuel: Skipper: Ian Lipinski Co-Skipper: Adrien Hardy Max40 (#158)

Credit Mutuel ©Christophe Brechi Wow! One of two new Class40s in the fleet, Credit Mutuel looks like a beast. Designed by David Raison (which brings the total number of designers to 17!) #158 is something we’ve never seen in Class40. Described by its designer as “more mainstream than boats that I usually draw” it’s said that Credit Mutuel is better than others in less than 10knots and above 18 and the bigger the sea state the more impressive she gets. But that’s enough about the boat because not only is the she stunning her skipper and co-skipper are no less impressive. Ian Lipinski – the only sailor to win both the proto and series fleet in the Mini Transat and Adrien Hardy a podium finisher in the Mini, Figaro, Class40 and a notable 4th in the 2015 TJV onboard an IMOCA. On paper they are the perfect team. The question? Does this race come too soon in her development? Maybe, but not soon enough to stop them getting to the podium. Sam's Prediction: 3rd Aïna Enface & Avenir Skipper: Aymeric Chappellier Co-Skipper: Pierre Leboucher Mach40.3 (#151)

Aymeric Chappellier, Class40 Aïna Enfance & Avenir © Christophe Breschi Perhaps a boring selection for second place finishers, but Aymeric Chappellier and his Mach40.3 are hugely experienced. 2nd in this race in 2017, winners of the Défi Atlantique, the Normandy Channel Race and Les Sables – Horta, he knows this boat inside and out. His co-skipper is the hugely talented Pierre Leboucher, a former Olympic campaigner who represented France in 2012 and more recently a competitor in the hotly contested Figaro fleet where he came 9th in 2019. Sam's Prediction: 2nd (by minutes) Leyton Skipper: Sam Goodchild Co-Skipper: Fabien Delahaye Mach40.3 (#156)

Leyton ©Sam Goodchild Leyton, the last of the Mach40.3’s launched in 2018 is skippered by Englishman Sam Goodchild and the Frenchman Fabien Delahye. For me this duo is the complete package. A proven fast boat combined with a young and hugely talented team. Sam has caught the eye of many of the sports top competitors. Most recently he’s been part of Thomas Coville’s Sodebo team. His co-skipper Fabien is one of France’s best. If you look at his sailing CV you’ll find one word repeated more than any – vainqueur – winner! Within the list you’ll find the TJV, Tour de France á la voile, Transat AG2R and the Volvo Ocean Race. His navigational skills will be of great worth and for me Leyton takes home the trophy. Sam's Prediction: 1st

The Route Destination Salvador de Bahia: 60 teams, of which 27 make up the Class40, will compete in this now classic double-handed event due to start on Sunday October 27that 13h15 local time. After crossing the start line, the three classes (Class40, Multi50 and IMOCA60) will race a short coastal section to Etretat before heading out into the often-challenging English Channel. They will then cross the Bay of Biscay, where, depending on the position of the Azores high, they could either find nice and fast downwind conditions or a much tougher crossing in a late autumn low pressure system! Some 400 miles later, having passed Cape Finisterre, the northern trade winds should propel teams quickly towards the island of Madeira and then onto the Canary Islands. At this point the northeast trade winds should be waiting. The Canary Islands can create an important tactical decision, do crews hug the coast or head offshore? The crews’ position here will be important for setting up for the most efficient passage of the dreaded Doldrums which are located slightly north of the equator. It’s a bit of a black art and a lot down to luck, and the first boat through the Doldrums is the first boat to pick up the southeast trade winds for the remaining 850 miles, passing by the islands of Fernando de Noronha and arriving in Salvador probably ready for their first Jacques Vabre coffee (or rum). To track the fleet, check out: