Normandy Channel Race boats head for home

40 Degrees closes to within 7 miles of the lead with 24 hours to go

Saturday May 22nd 2010, Author: Denis van den Brink, Location: none selected

For the second time in less than six days, the doublehanded Class 40 competitors in the Normandy Channel Race are back into the Channel and are this morning passing the Lizard for the final sprint towards Caen and the finish line.

With the first boats expected to arrive on Sunday, so over the last 24 hours the lead held by Thomas Ruyant and Tanguy Leglatin on Destination Dunkerque has withered to just 6.7 miles at the 0630 GMT sched with the Anglo-French duo of Peter Harding and Halvard Mabire on 40 Degrees putting in a strong 11th hour charge.

With high pressure over the UK bringing summery conditions, so the boats heading east up the Channel are directly on the wind in 10-15 knots. The leaders passed the Lizard at around midnight with Destination Dunkerque on a more southerly track to 40 Degrees but they have since tacked back to the northeast to cover. The hi-res forecast for the next 24 hours shows the wind building from the west and for the front runners there will initially be more breeze closer to the Cherbourg Peninsula.

In the upwind conditions the Owen-Clarke designed 40 Degrees appears to be showing better performance than her Verdier-designed opponent, so we look set for a close finish with 133 miles to go.

Halvard Mabire reported: "...It's done. We passed the Lizard at around 0100 GMT so we can really consider ourselves to be in the English Channel now. If the Lizard marks the end of the Atlantic record, then logically it means that that's where the Atlantic stops after all. The edge of the Channel would then follow the line between the Lizard and Ushant. However, oceans don't have very well defined borders, because water is constantly moving and mixing together. Furthermore the currents carry a few thousand million m3, which merrily cross these imaginary borders without a word to anyone.

Ultimately everyone places their barriers where they want really. For me, for example, the Basse de Portsall is the rightful entrance. When returning from the South, once I'm past there I feel like I'm home. All that to say that it feels like we can smell home now, even though there are still a few miles to go yet and we haven't really gone far or been gone for very long. One thing which is a bit of a novelty to negotiate, outside the currents, the tides and the winds, is this sort of forbidden zone, smack bang in the middle of the sea. It's a big rectangle where we're not allowed to stray. It's the "traffic separation zone" which is a kind of town square organised by traffic lights, zebra crossings, etc, to prevent cargo ships entering into it. The policeman directing the traffic isn't in a booth in the middle of the crossroads as used to be the case in towns, instead he is perched on top of the Hague and you have to watch out because he's got his eye on you! Nothing North of the Casquets escapes him, and thanks to the Jobourg coastguard, there's a mass of potential collisions avoided."

Behind the two leaders, there is the same intense battle for the top spots. Yvan Noblet and David Taboré on Appart City have managed to overhaul the Dutch-Belgian duo of Roelland Franssens and Michel Kleinjans on Moonpalace to claim third, the boats out in the middle of the Channel, currently due south of the Lizard.

Meanwhile Tanguy De Lamotte and Jean Galfione on Novedia Initiatives are uncharacteristically bringing up the rear of the fleet, 112 miles astern of the leaders, but are still proving to be a threat to Groupe Partouche skippered by Christophe Coatnoan and Pierre-Yves Lautrou.

Positions at 0630 GMT


Pos Boat Lat Long Spd Crs Spd2 Dist DTF DTL
        4 hour aver   24 hours      
1 Destination Dunkerque 49 33.20' N 4 04.84' W 5.5 89.9 5.5 133.1 156 0
2 40 Degrees 49 36.52' N 4 15.72' W 6.9 112.4 6 144.8 162.7 6.7
3 Appart city 49 35.76' N 5 15.48' W 5.8 112.1 5.6 135.4 201.4 45.4
4 Moonpalace 49 33.32' N 5 19.56' W 6.8 125.5 5.3 128.3 204.2 48.2
5 Marie Toit - Caen La mer 49 42.52' N 6 06.12' W 4.6 94.8 5.2 125.9 233.7 77.7
6 Phesheya-Racing 50 03.20' N 6 26.48' W 7.1 41.5 4.7 112.6 247.3 91.2
7 Partouche 49 26.04' N 6 57.20' W 7.1 133.8 4.8 115 268.1 112
8 Novedia - Initiatives 49 57.64' N 7 07.40' W 7.1 132.8 4.6 110.2 268.7 112.7
ABD Spliff                
ABD Groupe Picoty                


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