The Transat Jacques Vabre Race Village was opened officially on Saturday. There is a record 39 boats entered in this double-handed trans-Atlantic race - 17 multihulls and 22 monohulls - with 38 of the 78 skippers competing for the first time.
Out of the nine women in the race, two are racing on board Open 60 multihulls, Ellen MACARTHUR (GBR) on the Open 60 multihull 'Foncia' and Karine FAUCONNIER (GBR) on 'Sergio Tacchini'.
Britain's Emma RICHARDS on 'Pindar' is the only female skipper in the Open 60 monohull class, however legendary Frenchwoman Isabelle AUTISSIER is co-skipper with Sebastien JOSSE on 'VMI'. There are 10 nations represented in this race, with three skippers are from the Southern Hemisphere.
The sixth edition of the race will start on November 1 for the monohulls and November 2 for the multihulls. Once again, the racecourse takes the fleet across the equator on its way from Le Havre, France to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. The course distance is 5190 miles for the Multihull Open 60s, 4400 miles for the Multihull Open 50s, and 4340 miles for the Open 50 and Open 60 monohulls.
The Course mileages:
Multihull Open 60 - 5,190m course: 2001 winner was Groupama, at an average boat speed of 15.04 knots
Multihull Open 50 - 4,400m course
Monohull Open 60 & 50 - 4,340m course: 2001 winners were Open 60 Sill (average boat speed 10.92 knots) and Open 50 One Dream, One Mission.
The race start Saturday 1st November 2003 at 15.00 French time for monohulls
Sunday 2 November 2003 at 15.00 French time for multihulls