Tuesday 27 May 2014

Normandy Channel Race : Divisions and groupings in the Solent

GDF Suez was first to enter the Solent. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/NCR2014

by Kate Jennings

The 16 competing Class40s are currently rounding the Isle of Wight and are making headway at 5-6 knots in the Solent.

“It hasn’t been an easy night to negotiate. We really didn’t have much wind, but right now, we’re finally making headway, even though the current isn’t favourable. We’ve caught up with the fleet a little so we’re in fine spirits,” explained Juliette Petres aboard CONCISE 2 early this morning.

Concise 2 is an all-women team with Philippa Hutton-Squire (left) and Juliette Petres. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/NCR2014

GDF SUEZ was the first to enter the Solent, TEAM WORK right on her heels. They opted to hug the Isle of Wight coastline, whilst SERENIS CONSULTING, LE CONSERVATEUR and L’EXPRESS – TREPIA, which were glued to the southern coast of England, pinched the head of the ranking at one point. This Monday morning, the top 10 boats are bunched within 1.2 miles, with the Galfione/Jourdain duo (SERENIS CONSULTING) in first position, while their pursuers are embroiled in a formidable battle behind.

Jean Galfione (left) and Roland Jourdain (Bilou) of Serenius Consulting. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/NCR2014

The fleet has become divided and two clear groups have formed. It’s SWISH skippered by Roderick Knowles and Paul Peggs, who are leading the way in the chasing pack, some 3.2 miles behind the first group, just ahead of BELLE EQUIPE 2 and OBPORTUS 3.

Roderick Knowles: “It is 0533 hours and we are the first of a bunch of 6 Class40s currently negotiating the Solent to the south of Southampton. The 5 others are visible to our stern. There is 15 knots of wind at 97 degrees and this pleasant breeze will help us counter the current, which we’ll be punching into for another 4 hours. The BELLE EQUIPE 2 is just 10 boat lengths behind us to starboard. It’s been a pleasant night despite 90 minutes with absolutely no wind. We’d been sailing under code zero until we entered the Solent. We’re delighted to be sailing within sight of our 5 playmates, which is a pretty improbable scenario after covering 100 miles in a shifty breeze!”

The Norwegians on Romerike Elektro AS have now retired from the 2014 Normandy Channel Race. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/NCR2014

Official retirement of ROMERIKE ELEKTRO AS: At around 2200 hours last night, Race Management welcomed back the Norwegian duo Rune Aasberg and Simen Lovgren at the lock gates in Ouistreham. Sailing downwind, the bobstay (cord which links the bowsprit to the hull) broke and, with the tension of the headsail sailing downwind, the two fittings pulled loose making the bowsprit unusable. Finding it impossible to effect repairs and with holes in the hull at each fitting, the duo has decided to retire and return to Caen.

Ranking at 0700 GMT:

1. SERENIS CONSULTING (Galfione/ Jourdain)
2. GDF SUEZ (Rogues/ Castelnerac)
3. TEAM WORK (Delesne/ Raison)
4. TEAM PICOTY – Lac de Vassivière (Caso/ Chappellier)


L'Express Trepia (Pierre-Yves Lautrou/Thomas Ruyant) is currently leading the fleet of Class40s in the Normandy Channel Race. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/NCR2014

Classement prévisionnel à 16h :

1 : L'Express - Trepia
2 : Advanced Energies - Carac
3 : Groupement Flo
4 : Serenis Consulting
5 : ERDF

Normandy Channel Race