Sunday, 6 June 2010

Normandy Sailing Week and Farr 30 Practice in the Heat for the Tour de France a la Voile

Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

by Normady Sailing Week media

The IRCs, J80s and Sportsboats began their Normandy Sailing Week today in glorious sunshine and a Mediterranean heat. 8 to 10 knots of N’ly wind blew across the Baie de Seine’s race zone, which faces the town designed after the second world war, by the modern architect Auguste Perret. The Farr 30s, prior to taking tomorrow’s start of a 105 mile coastal course, continued with their windward-leeward event today, which is the theatre for the second stage of the French Crewed Championship.

Courrier Dunkerque, Farr 30 leaders, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

The 34 boats competing in IRC 1, IRC 2 and IRC 3, according to their length, really put on a show on the Norman playing field today. The IRCs are sophisticated craft constructed for cruiser-racing and long offshore runs. The race committee for the IRC Round managed to launch two races which proved to be incredibly intense.

In the star category of large IRC 1s, “Gaia”, the prototype skippered by Alexandre Mercier, leads, virtually neck and neck with the British Swan 45, “Wisc” skippered by Glynn Williams and “Selagis/Karver” skippered by local skipper François Blossier. In the IRC 2 category, there was some fierce battling at the top level between the Le Havre sailors and those of nearby Dunkirk. Ludovic Senechal on “Foggy Dew” and Philippe Bourgeois on “Marine Diffusion Dunkerque” are tied. Finally in IRC 3 the top three in the provisional general ranking are within a hair’s breadth of each other.

Farr 30 race start, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

The small, 6m50 ‘sleighs’ that are the Sportsboats managed to complete four races on their round. Manuel Guedon on the Mach 6.50 “Nemo”, the number one supporter of this class of latest generation one-designs, won all today’s races. The UNCL member was beaming from ear to ear this evening on the pontoon of the Anse des Régates. He boasts a 6 point lead over the K 6.50 “K.MA 3”.

Meantime it’s a tie for the top two from the J80 class at Normandy Sailing Week. After four races “Marine Cherbourg” and “Ecole Navale CG29” both have 10 points, so it’s been a great day for the French Navy teams!

Ile de France, Farr 30, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

Finally, amongst the Farr 30s, a further four races were run today. The Dunkirk sailors are leading the way, just two points ahead of the Omani team, three ahead of Fabien Henry and his crew and 10 ahead of the fearsome Norman Benoit Charon. Tomorrow’s coastal course, which will be launched at 1200 hrs local time, will doubtless play the role of justice of the peace for the Farr 30 series racing at Normandy Sailing Week.

Quotes from the boats:

Ludovic Senechal aboard Foggy Dew: “In everyday life I’m a docker who takes care of general dock work in port. However, I’ve sailed a lot too, notably aboard the America’s Cup Class boat “Ville de Paris” and with the late Paul Vatine on the trimarans “Région Haute-Normandie” and “Chauss Europ” as helmsman or bowman. Nowadays most of my sailing is for pleasure amongst friends and notably involves the RORC races in the UK. Our JPK is new and the season has started off very nicely for us”.

Oman Sail Renaissance (Rob Greenhalgh), Farr 30, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

Manu Guedon aboard the Mach 6.50 “Nemo”: “I created the 6m50 class (which shouldn’t be confused with the Mini 6.50). It gathers together several Class associations which sail on 6m50 sportsboats (K 6.50, Open 6.50, Mach 6.50). They’re small boats weighing in at less than 500 kg and easy to manœuvre, fun to helm and really pick up speed very quickly the minute there’s 15 knots of breeze, especially downwind. We’re competing in the final of our championship here.”

Dimitri Deruelle “TPM – COYCH”: “It’s pretty difficult for us because in this kind of weather (light airs), everyone goes fast, even the less hardened sailors. It’s a dense fleet. You really have to battle for supremacy. Tomorrow we’re setting off on a race spanning around 105 miles. If the course isn’t shortened, the coastal race will have a coefficient 3. Suffice to say then that the Normandy Sailing Week will be decided at the end of that race”.

Ile de France, Farr 30, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

Jimmy Pahun “Ile-de-France 2010”: “I’m disappointed to read the general ranking (sixth place) because we had a good day with one race victory. First days are complicated because you have to find your bearings again. The crew was better today. Tomorrow a big coastal course awaits us between Le Havre and Quenneville (a return trip) along the coastline bordering the Baie de Seine. Light airs are expected and even some rain on Saturday night”.

Laurent Pagès “Mumma Duck”: “We’re competing in Normandy Sailing Week to train for the Tour de France à la Voile. It’s a way for me to get in touch with the crew and there’s already been some progress. It’s my first race for over two years. I’m happy to put myself in danger with this team of youngsters who are in very fine shape”.

Day One for the Farr 30s (Thursday):

Farr 30s downwind, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

"We couldn’t have hoped for more for the first day’s racing” said Manfred Ramspacher, organiser of the Normandy Sailing Week. With glorious sunshine and 17 knots of breeze blowing across the Baie de Seine, the 17 Farr 30s participating in the competition linked together three races and it was clear for all to see that the standard on the water was very high to say the least.

The international Farr 30 teams are already well honed for the upcoming Tour de France à la Voile. There were some fabulous flying starts, clean manœuvres, impeccable mark roundings, gybes, tacks, spinnaker hoisting and close contact racing… the 7 crews aboard the ‘Bruce Farr’ designs put on an impressive performance in Le Havre today for the start of Normandy Sailing Week.

The powerful current and the fabulous cliffs that characterise the North of Normandy make sailing in the Baie de Seine highly tactical and strategic. The best on the water today was the crew of “Courrier Dunkerque” skippered by Pierre-Loic Berthet, reigning French champion, who took the lead in the provisional general ranking thanks to a consistent performance, worthy of the top specialists in contact racing (2nd ,2nd and 1st). “We’re leading with just a two point lead over the Toulon sailor Fabien Henry” explained Pierre-Antoine Morvan, helmsman on the boat from northern France. “We’re a bit frustrated as we rounded the first three windward marks at the head of the fleet. We took a bit of time to find our speed when sailing downwind”.

In second position then, “TPM – Coych” was on the hunt… proving why the top two teams in the Farr 30 of recent years are in that position. On the third step of the podium, “Oman Sail Renaissance”, a team that has only just hit the Farr 30 circuit, really packed a punch with an impressive speed downwind. Helmed by the British skipper Rob Greenhalgh, a veteran from the Volvo with two participations on ABN AMRO (1st) and Puma (2nd), with French sailor and windward leeward specialist Cédric Pouligny at the helm, the Omani crew have had a great start to Normandy Sailing Week. “Three Omani debutants are sailing with us” highlights Pouligny. “As such it’s a good result. Our aim is to get into the top 5 in the general ranking on Sunday”.

Nouvelle-Caledonie, Farr 30, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

In fourth place, the Dutch boat “Tu Delft” are the big surprise of the day. “We did a lot of training in Scheveningen this winter” explains the robust Bert Schandevyl, skipper of the boat. “This Farr 30 fleet is fantastic with a number of international projects. It’s nice to hear English on the race zone”. For his part, Nicolas Lunven, mainsail trimmer on “Team Sog-Safran”, seventh in this evening’s ranking, appreciated this fine day of sailing. “15 to 20 knots of breeze, current, waves and a great atmosphere aboard; what more could you ask for?”

During this time, the other series and their crews (IRC, J80, Sportsboats, First 7.5) were making some final adjustments to their boats in preparation for their first day’s racing tomorrow. 100 craft will take to the water from 1200 hrs local time, at which point the Normandy Sailing Week will really take off!

Region Bruxelles Capitale, Farr 30, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

Top Placings after Friday's Racing:

Farr 30 Group (FAR) after 7 races (6 of which are retained.)
1: "Courrier Dunkerque", Pierre Loic Berthet ( / A P C C Nantes) 18 points
2: "Oman Sail Renaissance", Robert Greenhalgh ( / Oman) 20 points
3: "Tpm-Coych", Fabien Henry ( / Cercle Org Yachting Competition Hyerois) 21 points

IRC1 Group (IR1) after 2 races
1: "Gaia", Alexandre Mercier ( (Jnd 36 / Union Nationale Pour la Course Au Large) 4 points
2: "Wisc", Glynn Williams ( (Swan 45 / UK) 5 points
3: "Sealogis/karver", Francois Blossier ( (A 35 / C N D Honfleur) 7 points

Rapetou, Farr 30, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

IRC2 Group (IR2) after 2 races
1: "Foggy Dew", Ludovic Senechal ( (Jpk 10.10 / Sport Nautique Et Plaisance du Havre) 3 points
2: "Marine Diffusion Dunkerque", Philippe Bourgeois ( (First 34.7 Gte / Dunkerque Plaisance) 3 points
3: "Gwaihir Venturi", Philippe Rios ( (Dufour 34 / Sport Nautique Et Plaisance du Havre) 6 points

IRC3 Group (IR3) after 2 races
1: "Farrniente", Olivier Hays ( (Farr 727 / Sport Nautique Et Plaisance du Havre) 7 points
2: "Casper", Vincent Delforge ( (Corby 26 / S R de Courseulles) 8 points
3: "Fletcher Lynd", Frederic Denis ( (Hustler Sj 30 / Y C Boulonnais) 8 points

Farr 30s downwind, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

6.50 Group (6.5) after 4 races
1: "Nemo", Manuel Guedon ( / Union Nationale Pour la Course Au Large) 4 points
2: "K.Ma 3", Yves Gouron ( / S N Trinite S/mer) 10 points
3: "Raoul Volfoni", Ronan Commault ( / Ecole de Voile Oceane) 10 points

J80 Group (J80) after 4 races
1: "Marine Cherbourg", Fabrice Simon ( / C N Marine de Cherbourg) 10 points
2: "Ecole Navale Cg29", Patrick Bot ( / C V Ecole Navale) 10 points
3: "Vog", Philippe Szellos ( / Deauville Y C) 17 points

Team SOG-SAFRAN, Farr 30, Normandy Sailing Week 2010. Image copyright JM Liot/

LASER SB3 Group (SB3) after 4 races
1: "Baloo 's Zhik", John Outhwaite ( / UK) 5 points
2: "Onyx", Manuelle Adam ( / Societe des Regates du Havre) 10 points
3: "Morpheus", Edward Russo ( / C N Valeriquais) 11 points

Normandy Race Week