Photo: Bruno Bouvry

Normandy Channel Race sets sail this Sunday

Strong line-up for the third running of thie 975 miler

Friday August 31st 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

15 Class40 are currently in Caen, northern France waiting to set sail this Sunday on the doublehanded Normandy Channel Race.

For its third running, the 975 mile follows the same course as before, heading across the English Channel, passing through the Solent, then west along the south coast of the UK across the Celtic Sea to the Tuskar Rock, then along the south coast of Ireland to the Fastnet, before returning via Guernsey to the finish at Caen/Ouistreham. 

Boat Hull no Type Skipper Nat Co-skipper Nat2
AVIS IMMOBILIER 47 Akilaria Louis Duc FRA Samatha Evans GBR
BODACIOUS DREAM 118 Kiwi 40 Dave Rearick USA Matt Scharl USA
CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE 101 Pogo 40 S2 Halvard Mabire FRA Miranda Merron GBR
CONCISE2 93 Akilaria RC2 Ned Collier Wakefield UK Sam Goodchild GBR
EÄRWEN 88 Tyker 40 Catherine Pourre FRA Goulven Royer FRA
EOLE GENERATION-GDF SUEZ 105 Akilaria RC2 Sebastien Rogues FRA Dominic Vittet FRA
JASMINE FLYER 112 Akilaria RC2 Scott Cavanough AUS Thibault Reinhart FRA-CH
LES CONQUÉRANTS–CAEN LA MER 83 Akilaria RC2 Marc Lepesqueux FRA Eric Defert FRA
LUPI 114 Pogo 40 Bjorn Borresen NOR Jan-Helge Furnesvik NOR
MARE MAGAZINES & BOOKS 115 Mach 40 Jörg Riechers GER Nicolas Boidevézi FRA
MASAI 109 Pogo 40 S2 Stéphane le Diraison FRA Ben Korner NED
OBPORTUS3 60 JPK Olivier Roussey FRA Gérard Quenot FRA
PARTOUCHE 113 Pogo 40 S2 Christophe Coatnoan FRA Eric Galmard FRA
PHOENIX EUROPE EXPRESS 98 Tyker 40 Yannick Bestaven FRA Stéphanie Alran FRA
ROARING FORTY 2 107 Kiwi 40 Michel Kleinjans BEL Richard Tolkien GBR
SOLO 36 Express 40 Rune Aasberg NOR Simen Løvgren NOR
TALANTA 95 Pogo 40 S2 Jean Galfione  FRA Eric Peron FRA

Jorg Riechers' is favourite for this year's race. So far this season the German skipper has won the Solidaire du Chocolat from Saint Nazaire to Mexico doublehanded with Marc Lepesqueux. He also won the Atlantic Challenge in the USA before coming home second in the Quebec–Saint Malo. His Mach 40 is latest generation Class40 designed by Sam Manuard, and Riechers has with him on board the young, talented Nicolas Boidevezi, recent winner of the last leg of the Mini's Les Sables-Azores-Les Sables race.

With more mileage under their belts than anyone in the fleet having completed the first half of the Global Ocean Race before taking line honours in the Quebec-St Malo are Franco-English duo Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron on Campagne de France. Mabire is one of France’s greatest offshore racers, having raced offshore for more than 30 years, including time on board Cote d'Or with the legendary Eric Tabarly. Mabire and Merron finished second in the 2010 Normandy Channel Race behind Thomas Ruyant and Tanguy Leglatin.

Basque sailor Sébastien Rogues, a Mini competitor and winner of the first leg of the 2011 Mini Transat and third in the Quebec–Saint Malo, will also be a strong competitor. He has invited a former Solitaire du Figaro winner and Class40 skipper Dominic Vittet to sail Eole Generation – GDF Suez with him.

Marc Lepesqueux will also be racing on home waters. He has teamed up with Eric Defert to race Les Conquérants – Caen La Mer.

After a disappointing end to their Transat Jacques Vabre last year, there are also high hopes for young British duo Ned Collier-Wakefield and the Artemis Offshore Academy's Sam Goodchild on their Akilaria RC2 Concise 2

Yannick Bestaven, winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2011 and Julien Pulvé are also among the favourites sailing the Guillaume Verdier-design  Phoenix Europ Express, as are Stéphane Le Diraison and Dutch sailor Ben Korner on Masai

Bestaven gave his form guide: “There are a number of contenders including Mare skippered by the German sailor Jorg Riechers, who has the fastest boat. Campagne de France, skippered by the experienced Halvard Mabire, who’s very familiar with sailing along the English coast, has a chance, as do Sébastien Rogues and Dominic Vittet, to name but a few. For our part, we have a few points to our credit. I’m teaming up with Julien Pulvé, a young Mini sailor who’s brimming with talent and usually is my préparateur."

Jorg Riechers gave his take: “I’ve heard that we’ve been given the label of favourites for the Normandy Channel Race. We’ve certainly had some good results since the start of the year but the crews of Mabire/Merron, Rogues/Vittet, Bestaven/Pulvé will be a threat. This race won’t be decided on boat speed. Strategy will come into play given the complexity of the course."

Manfred Ramspacher, organiser of the Normandy Channel Race commented: “The level of the fleet is very high. I reckon seven to eight of the doublehanders could take outright victory. The battle will be intense and it’ll be very interesting to track them each day."

The race sets sail on Sunday at 1700 local time. They are expected to finish the following Friday/Saturday.



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