Monday, 23 May 2011

Preview of Normandy Channel Race

Class 40s in the Normandy Channel Race 2011. Image copyright Jean-Marie Liot/NCR2011.

by Kate Jennings

The 16 Class40s competing in the Normandy Channel Race will leave Bassin Saint Pierre in Caen for a 1,000 mile sprint in double-handed configuration today. After 4 days of preparation, they’ll set off on what promises to be a demanding and testing course, which will pile the pressure on the skippers from beginning to end. As they await tomorrow’s start, the competitors were able to enjoy the sunshine of Normandy today, as well as the warm welcome proffered by the general public, who were out in force to meet the crews. In less than 24 hours’ time, the fleet of Class40s will be across the start line and off on the Normandy Channel Race 2011!

A race village in party mode

Participants in the Normandy Channel Race 2011. Image copyright Jean-Marie Liot/NCR2011.

This Saturday proved to be very sunny in Caen as thousands of visitors flocked to the Normandy Channel Race village. They were able to enjoy a wealth of entertainment, local product tastings, tours of the old sailing ships, rescue dog demonstrations and Optimist sailing. The main event was the helicopter winching demonstration performed by the French navy. The Journal de la Course (Race News emission), presented by Serge Herbin and broadcast live across the race village, enabled the public to get a better understanding of ocean racing. A packed day then, which certainly had a little something for everyone!

A recap of the course

Map of the course of the Normandy Channel Race. Image copyright NCR2011.

It’ll be quite a festival for the racers because, once again, the very northern course of the Normandy Channel Race 2011 won’t spare the sailors. Current, wind and effects of the site will all give the skippers something to play with! At 1400 hours local time, they’ll set off from Caen bound for the Saint-Marcouf islands. From there they’ll traverse the English Channel where they’ll make headway as quickly as possible to one of the main difficulties of the course: the Solent. On exiting the English sound, the fleet will make for Tuskar Rock and then on towards the legendary Fastnet lighthouse, devouring the Irish Sea as they go.

The island of Guernsey will be the next passage point, then Raz Blanchard and Raz de Barfleur, culminating with a last run towards the finish in Caen. A 1,000 mile course full of pitfalls which, according to the organiser, Manfred Ramspacher, is reminiscent of a “cycle Tour de France solely made up of cols”! There are numerous tricky passages along the way and the rankings are likely to witness more than their fair share of upsets. Only the future will tell us which names will succeed those of Thomas Ruyant and Tanguy Leglatin, winners of the 2010 edition…

The start of the Normandy Channel Race 2011 will take place tomorrow, Sunday 22 May at 1400 hours local time. The public are invited to the Bassin Saint Pierre from 0930 hours to witness the grand Class 40 parade.

List of participants 2011:
Boat name - No. - skipper - type - nat - co-skipper - nat

TEAM MABIRE - MERRON 101 Halvard Mabire Pogo 40 S2 FRA Miranda Merron GBR
DEFI GDE - TZU HANG 53 Axel Strauss Akilaria GER Nicolas Boidevézi FRA
RED 66 Matthias Blumencron CC 40 GER Boris Herrmann GER
LIVEWIRE 48 Stuart Dodd Express40 GBR Steve Kennington GBR
OCEAN ELEVEN 20 Stéphanie Alran Pogo 40 FRA Caroline Vieille FRA
DES PIEDS ET DES MAINS 52 Damien Seguin Rogers 40 FRA Yohann Richomme FRA
PARTOUCHE 60 Christophe Coatnoan JPK FRA Sébastien Figue FRA
PERASPERA 102 Francesco Piva Kiwi 40FC ITA Zoccoli Luca ITA
PORT DE CAEN OUISTREHAM 59 Fabien Delahaye Rogers 40 FRA Bruno Jourdren FRA
SPLIFF 67 Andrew Dawson Express40 GBR Rune Aasberg NOR
TALANTA 95 Jean Galfione Pogo 40 S2 FRA Eric Péron FRA
MARE.DE2 79 Jorg Riechers FS 40 GER Etienne David SUI
PHESHEYA RACING 23 Philippa Hutton Akilaria RSA Nick Leggatt RSA
MARIE TOÎT - CAEN LA MER 107 Marc Lepesqueux Kiwi 40FC FRA Michel Kleinjans BEL
GRYPHON SOLO 2 106 Joe Harris Akilaria RC2 USA Josh Hall GBR
40 DEGREES 90 Hannah Jenner Jaz40MK2 GBR Anna-Maria Renken GER
L'EXPRESS - SAPMER 68 Pierre-Yves Lautrou Pogo 40 S FRA Dominic Vittet FRA
INITIATIVES SAVEURS 30 Tanguy de Lamotte Rogers 40 FRA Sébastien Audigane FRA

Normandy Channel Race