40 Degrees wins the prologue
Peter Harding and Halvard Mabire have won the Normandy Channel Race prologue aboard 40 Degrees. Tomorrow at 1400 the boats will take the start of this first running of Normandy Channel Race. Ahead of them lies a 1,000 mile long course.
The 20 crew, accompanied by their guests, got off to a great start in the prologue, reflecting their eagerness to be at sea after several days’ preparation along the pontoons of the Bassin Saint-Pierre in Caen. British skipper Peter Harding and French offshore sailing legend Halvard Mabire, quickly extended away from the chasing pack on their 2009 generation Owen Clarke design. Used to sailing together, Harding and Mabire were first to round the windward mark and then managed to hold off some stiff competition.
Spliff, sailed by British sailors Andrew Dawson and Stephen Card went on to take second, while Tanguy De Lamotte and Jean Galfione were third.
“Peter Harding, the owner of the boat, is happy” said Mabire as they returned through the lock at Ouistreham after the race. “So I am too! We worked well together. The boat goes great in the light conditions so we quickly got ahead of the others. You always have more clear air up front”.
Manfred Ramspacher organiser of the Normandy Channel Race added: “It was reminiscent of a cycle Tour de France with uphill sections all the way!”
Ramspacher outlined the course for tomorrow’s main event: “Obviously the idea was also to cross the Channel to England. Added to that it seemed important to me that the sailors are able to sail past some legendary landmarks such as the Needles in the early hours, the Solent, the Fastnet Rock, the south coast of Ireland, Barfleur and the Raz Blanchard. They’re going to sail the equivalent of two stages of the Solitaire du Figaro in one race and the seascape and landscape will be fantastic”.
Thomas Ruyant, winner of the last Transat 6.50, will race tomorrow with well known offshore singlehanded racing coach Tanguy Leglatin and they’ll be expecting a demanding and tiring race. “We’re not going to have much respite with numerous marks to round as well as current to deal with. It may be that we get to the front but then find ourselves battling against the current for hours, with the chasing pack hot on our heels. It won’t be over till it’s over. We’re going to round all the big headlands of the Channel, the Celtic and the Irish Seas. We’ll need to be in on the action immediately, with the start of the race being relatively easy compared with the rest of the course. It’s up to us to deal with the local effects”.
However, forecasts suggest that the Normandy Channel Race will be complicated as from 1400 hours tomorrow, an 8 to 10 knot WNWerly breeze is set to build as it gradually shifts around to the WSW six hours after the start. Indeed, according to meteorologist David Lanier, the wind will increase to 20 knots by early evening. The 10 Class 40s will tackle the coast bordering the Normandy landing beaches, Contentin and Saint-Marcouf, with the wind on the nose. “We’ll have to get into our rhythm early on,” says Halvard Mabire. “Furthermore there are numerous lobster pots in these areas and there may already be a few strategic coups to be had by playing about along the coast”.
1 40 Degrees Peter Harding and Halvard Mabire
2 Spliff Andrew Dawson and Stephen Card
3 Novedia – Initiatives Tanguy de Lamotte and Jean Galfione
4 Phesheya – Racing Nick Leggatt and Philippa Hutton – Squire