2008: Birth of a Legend

It was a crazy gamble for the organizers but, thanks to the enthusiasm of the competitors, it worked! Who would have thought that those classic yachts – for the most part restricted to comfortable outings that had more to do with elegance than passage making – would take up the challenge of an Atlantic crossing, and under racing conditions too! 

It was Loïc Blanken who had the idea for the race, inspired by the sight of an old gaffer in the middle of the Atlantic, and with the support of François Séruzier, the Transat Classique was born. That first race brought together no fewer than 25 sailboats which, after a warm-up leg from Douarnenez, raced across the Atlantic under sail. And boy did they race! The crews pushed their charges to the limit and showed just what those elegant thoroughbreds could do, proving there's much more to a classic yacht than varnish and brightwork! 

Despite their intense competitiveness the crews always made sure they treated the yachts with respect and during the warm-up leg the only damage reported was a broken boom. Sea conditions were tricky on the first leg, especially in the Bay of Biscay, but the main event from Agadir to Saint Bart's in the Lesser Antilles turned out to be less punishing and more tactical. Some opted for a northern route to catch a stronger breeze but most went south to fall in with the steady trade winds. 

First across the line in real time was Pen Duick VI, formerly owned by famous French sailor Eric Tabarly who won the Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race in 1976. However once the times were corrected, the magnificent Stephens design Stiren was declared the winner of the first ever instalment of the Transat Classique.