Concise 2 clinches Normandy Channel Race
Young British sailors Ned Collier Wakefield and the Artemis Offshore Academy's Sam Goodchild aboard their Akilaria RC2 Concise 2 pipped at the post Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron's Pogo40 S2 Campagne de France to claim victory in the Class40's doublehanded Normandy Channel Race.
Concise 2's put on a strong performance. After the leading out of the start, Collier Wakefield and Goodchild, 24 and 22 years old respectively, remained in contact with the leaders throughout and the match race took off as the two boats came into the Tuskar Rock off southeast Ireland on Wednesday evening. They then match raced back towards the French coast and only took the lead in the Normandy Channel Race as they punched the tide last night just off the northeast part of the Cherbourg Peninsula ((ironically where the Mabire-Merron land-base residence is). They then hung on to the lead, crossing the line off Ouistreham at 1737 UTC, just 10 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of Campagne de France.
The result was vindication for last year's Transat Jacques Vabre when the duo were forced to retire into the Azores while jockeying for the lead of the race.
Ned Collier Wakefield commented: “It was great! It’s one of the best races I’ve ever competed in. There were so many spectacular landmarks, combined with a lot of upwind points of sail, but we really had fun. Thanks to Halvard and Miranda for making the race so thrilling. We just wanted to do our best and a place in the top five would have already been fantastic. We’d never have thought that we’d snatch the win. We constantly sailed within contact of the others and the finale was magnificent! We’ll be back for more next year, that’s for sure! Last night we had to kedge in the calm conditions, but we made the most of it to get some sleep…”
Sam Goodchild added: “We really enjoyed ourselves. The duel with Halvard and Miranda was very intense. They’re very fast and we really had to battle to stay in contact. Six days of contact in fact! We didn’t think we’d be able to get past them. Four hours before the end of the race, we still didn’t believe we could win! Ultimately we got lucky enough to overtake them this morning after Cap de la Hague. We snapped up that opportunity with both hands and here we are! This race is fabulous! It’s the best, really the best I’ve ever competed in, with strong opposition, a very good boat and a double-handed configuration…”
Of the outcome Halvard Mabire commented: “I’d rated Concise 2 among the dangerous boats prior to the start and I wasn’t mistaken in my forecast. We made the mistake of following them whilst preceding them! We’ve learnt loads of things in this race. It’s always enjoyable to be at the front. We’re now awaiting an edition of the Normandy Channel Race where the wind is in the right direction with the good visibility that coloured this year’s event. I can better understand now why the Normandy Channel Race is written with a Y here. Three Britons are among the top two Class 40s in the overall standing”.
Miranda Merron added: “Second is superb. The line-up was a really high standard with some very fine sailors at the start. We lost the lead at Land’s End on opting to cover Concise 2. Marking a team is too risky over a race spanning nearly 1,000 miles”.
Manfred Ramspacher, Event Organiser: “Something special happened this year. It’s a turning point in the development of the event. We enjoyed big crowds during the parade between Caen and Ouistreham. In fact it was reminiscent of a little Vendée Globe! It also confirms the relevance of the Normandy Channel Race, particularly in terms of its sporting credibility. It was a thrilling battle to track and we’ll be back for more of the same in April 2013… Thank you to the local organisations for their commitment. Congratulations to Concise 2 and Campagne de France, Ned Collier-Wakefield and Sam Goodchild, Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron. We look forward to the next arrivals…”