First entries for Normandy Channel Race
The Normandy Channel Race 2011, starting on 22 May from Caen/Hermanville, has signed up its first participants. Eight competitors have formally registered.
The initial entries are a 50/50 split of international and French crews. Among the host of Class 40 projects are a mixture of experienced crews with numerous oceanic races under their belts, and newcomers, keen to discover the race.
Three have already signed up for the next Global Ocean Race, due to set sail from Majorca on 25 September this year. A partnership exists between the two races, with the Normandy Channel Race forming part of the qualification phase for the round the world race.
Among the crews are skippers from the UK, Germany and Holland.
At 71, Dutch skipper Nico Budel (BUME.BV) is by far the most senior participant in the race. An experienced sailor, he took part in the Portimao Global Ocean Race over 2008/2009; from which he was forced to retire from in the middle of the Indian Ocean due to keel problems. However, he has signed up to compete in the next Global Ocean Race aboard his Akilaria Class 40, the same boat which as Beluga Racer took victory in the previous race.
Mathias Blumencron (RED), a German skipper living in Hamburg, has been a familiar face on the European Class 40 circuit for a few years. He has participated in the Rolex Fastnet Race in 2009 and the Class 40 World Championships in 2009 and 2010 finishing 7th in the latter. RED is an Owen Clarke Design.
Axel Strauss (TZU HANG) is also German but lives in Switzerland, as well as being an adopted Norman thanks to his Class 40 being based in Caen, at the V1D2 yard. Strauss has just enjoyed a successful Route du Rhum, where he finished 13th and he has also taken part in the majority of the circuit’s races over recent years (the Rolex Fastnet Race, 1,000 Milles Brittany Ferries and Les Sables-Horta). He sails an Akilaria.
Stuart Dodd (LIVEWIRE) represents what is hoped to be the first of many participants from the UK Class 40 fleet. Livewire is an Owen Clarke Design Express 40, whose major focus in 2010 was the Shetland Round Britain and Ireland Race.
The Anglo-French partnership of Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron is a campign boasting two very sizeable track records in ocean racing. They will be sailing aboard a latest generation and brand new Pogo 40 S2 – largely built with their own hands. The ultimate aim of their project is also to participate in the Global Ocean Race. Mabire narrowly missed out on victory in the first time this race was held, finishing just 15ft astern of the frontrunner, Thomas Ruyant, winner of the Route du Rhum. (The duo are looking for a sponsor - more here)
Jean-Edouard Criquioche and Jacques Fournier on Groupe Picoty are an amateur partnership, but have amassed countless miles over recent years on the Class 40 circuit. They also are part of the Class 40 management team. In the Route du Rhum, Criquioche finished 7th while the double-handed Solidaire du Chocolat the previous year saw them take 8th place. Between they have taken part in the vast majority of the events on the Class 40 circuit aboard their Pogo 40S2. They too have signed up for the next Global Ocean Race.
Damien Seguin (Des Pieds et Des Mains) is already a well-known figure in French sailing, as a representative for disability sports. He is also a strong performer in able-bodied races. Seguin was a gold medallist in the Paralympic Games in Athens and a silver medallist in Beijing but he has also raced on numerous offshore race boats like the Figaro Beneteau in which he has competed in la Solitaire du Figaro and the Transat AG2R, and the Farr 30 before making the switch to the Class 40. In this he has often been at the front of the fleet in several transatlantic races (4th Solidaire du Chocolat 2009 – 10th Route du Rhum 2010) aboard his Rogers-designed Class 40.
Finally, Matthieu Galland and Mathis Prochasson are newcomers to the Class 40. After several seasons racing in the Mini class finishing among the top spots in the 309 Transat 6.50 Charente Maritime-Bahia, respectively 9th and 5th in the series class, these two young skippers will be racing the ex-Ocean Eleven, the Pogo 40 previously owned by Jacques Fournier and Jean-Edouard Criquioche.
Other crews of Class 40s wishing to take part can do so here