A new course for this years TJV will take the double-handed crews across the Caribbean Sea

Whilst remaining true to its roots, the Transat Jacques Vabre (starting 8 November) is breaking new ground. Once again it will be setting off from Le Havre, but is offering sailors a new course, culminating with the double-handed crews crossing the Caribbean Sea.

The race will have a strong contingent of non-French sailors – including world record holder Alex Thomson who, like Mike Golding, is more motivated than ever. Joining the two Brits will be two Spanish crews, Alex Pella – Pepe Ribes and Guillermo Altadill – Pachi Ribero, in what will be their first participation in an IMOCA race. The female sailors will be represented by Samantha Davies, who will race with Sydney Gavignet, and Dee Caffari, who will this time be joining forces with Brian Thompson.

These six overseas crews will have to compete against big French names such as Michel Desjoyeaux, double winner of the Vendee Globe and recent winner of the Istanbul Europa race, who will be defending his title alongside Jeremie Beyou.

The latter pairing will once again be up against some old adversaries: Roland Jourdain accompanied by Jean-Luc Nelias, Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier, the duo Armel Le Cleac’h-Nicolas-Troussel as well as Kito De Pavant, who will be teaming up with promising talent Francois Gabart.

To the north of Panama and the south of Nicaragua, Costa Rica is preparing to play host to this year’s competitors. A new course will take the sailors across the Caribbean Sea, which will require both tactics and the ability to adapt. Any option is possible, with just one single requirement: for monohulls to leave the Dominican Republic to starboard and for the multihulls to leave the island of Barbados to starboard.

Such a course means that we are likely to expect a bunched finish off Puerto Limon. In total, the course will represent 4,730 miles for the monohulls and 5,050 for the multihulls.

For more, visit www.jacques-vabre.com .