On 7 November 2021, 81 boats will take the start of the 15th edition of the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre. Created back in 1993 and run biennially, this legendary race enables some of the big names in sailing, together with amateur sailors, to take on the historic trading routes for coffee, from France to South America or, as is the case this year, to the West Indies.
For this 2021 vintage, as per usual, there are a number of pretenders to victory. Twelve of them (three in Ultim, seven in IMOCA and two in Ocean Fifty) have one thing in common: they benefit from both the experience and expertise of the CDK Technologies yard, a specialist in the construction of prototype yachts, whose productions have pretty much systematically made a clean sweep of the prizes in the most prestigious offshore races for the past 35 years and more.
The cast for the 15th edition of the Coffee Route is impressive. Better still, it boasts a record fleet with some 81 boats split into four classes (Class40, IMOCA, Ocean Fifty and Ultim). Indeed, the previous best score dates back to 2017 when 60 duos took the race start. As such, this year’s event is already exceptional before the competitors have even set sail and observers are particularly thrilled to see the return of the giant multihull category, which was absent two years ago. Five maxi-trimarans make up the ranks this year and this ‘clash of the titans’ is eagerly awaited since among these machines geared up for the finest round the world adventures, two have only been launched in recent months: the Maxi Banque Populaire XI skippered by the Armel Le Cléac’h – Kévin Escoffier pairing, for which CDK Technologies was responsible for the entire project management and the manufacture of her foils, as well as SVR Lazartigue sailed by the François Gabart – Tom Laperche duo, for which the yard manufactured the key components, namely the floats, the beams and the foils. Their performance is sure to be examined in detail between Le Havre and Fort-de-France. The same is true for that of Actual Ultim 3, skippered by the Yves Le Blévec – Anthony Marchand duo, she too a direct product of the Port-la-Forêt and Lorient sites in 2015. A solo world tour record holder since 2017 (42 days 16 hours 40 minutes and 35 seconds) and then winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2015, The Transat bakerly 2016 and then The Bridge the same year, today this high-tech multihull in the colours of a group specialising in temping, has a significant asset: her reliability.
Boats at the cutting edge of innovation and performance
Alongside these three ULTIMS there are no fewer than seven exceptional IMOCAs, whose creations have also been crafted by CDK Technologies and will be at the start with high hopes: 11th Hour Racing Team – Malama skippered by Charlie Enright and Pascal Bidégorry, the latest addition to the class, as well as APIVIAskippered by Charlie Dalin and Paul Meilhat (line honours in the Vendée Globe 2020-2021), CHARAL 1 skippered by Jérémie Beyou and Christopher Pratt, Maître Coq IV (winner of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021) sailed by Yannick Bestaven and Jean-Marie Dauris, CORUM l’Épargne sailed by Nicolas Troussel and Sébastien Josse, Arkéa Paprec sailed by Sébastien Simon and Yann Eliès, Initiatives-Cœur skippered by Sam Davies and Nicolas Lunven and Kostum Lantana Paysage skippered by Louis Duc and Marie Tabarly (ex Fortil, victim of a fire in the port of Le Havre just before the start in 2017).
All fuelled by a desire to push the envelope
Fleshing out the TJV ranks still further will be a couple of Ocean Fiftys, witnesses of the passion and know-how of CDK Technologies in the construction of these 50-foot multihulls: GCA – Mille et un Souriresskippered by Gilles Lamiré and Yvan Bourgnon, 2017’s TJV winner, and Leyton skippered by Sam Goodchild and Aymeric Chappellier (ex Ciela Village 2), winner of this season’s Pro Sailing Tour.
All these skippers, at the helm of offshore racing’s flagships, are driven by the desire to push back the limits of what is possible with the aim of making their boldest dreams a reality. These same drivers inspire the teams at CDK Technologies on a daily basis to build and develop such special boats, all of them capable of posting a (or another) win in this famous Coffee Route race. The event promises a top-flight match in every one of the categories represented, and there is no doubt that the company’s associates will be absolutely hooked on the action from beginning to end!.