Mare victorious again
The German-French crew of Jörg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur, aboard the Class40 Mare, have won the fourth Normandy Channel Race. Their Mach 40 crossed the finish line at 00:57:30 local time this morning after 3 days 7 hours and 57 minutes at sea an average of 8.08 knots.
Second home, 56 minutes and 20 seconds behind mare, was Made in Normandie, the original leader of the race, sailed by Nicolas Jossier Alexander Toulorge, but with Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron on Campagne de France coming home third only one minute and three seconds behind.
Jörg Riechers: "It's great to win the Normandy Channel, especially after dismasted just before the race. It's really a hard and technical event. Sailing in the Celtic Sea was chaotic. But we never let anything go. Despite a difficult transition from Barfleur we fought back with speed and determination." See Jörg Riechers giving us the tour to his winning machine here.
On their second place Alexander Toulorge said: "We are pleased with our performance because this Normandy Channel Race was a first for us. We are getting to grips with the Class40. On a short course like this we spent a lot of time changing sails, it's extremely physical."
Halvard Mabire: “We came back from nowhere. It’s a fine third place. A few more miles and we’d have secured second place. We took a minute too long.”
Fabrice Amedeo: “What fun! Geodis goes well. We checked her performance once again in the Normandy Channel Race. We made a few mistakes, but we caught up as we headed down the coast of Cornwall. “Campagne de France” extended its lead over us during the passage around Guernsey. At that point we were sure of fourth place but very soon it was our rivals behind who were breathing down our necks. We finished the race with a sprint. We’re all-in.”
Victory for Reichers follows a successful season in 2012 when he won the Solitaire du Chocolat transatlantic race and then the Atlantic Cup up the east coast of the USA. Reichers met Brasseur, a former member of Jimmy Pahun's Ile de France Tour Voile crew when they both competed in the Mini class.
Mare made an impression on this Normandy Channel Race right from the outset when she led for the majority of the round the cans course off Hermanville before the 20 strong Class40 fleet set off on the course properly. At this point she was being challenged by Campagne de France and Red sailed by Germans shorthanded round the world sailor Boris Herrmann and Mathias von Blumencron, former editor of Der Spiegel.
On Sunday evening, in 15 knot winds, the Normandy Channel Race race headed west along the coast towards the turning mak at the Saint Marcouf Islands. After this passing north up the east side of the Cherbourg Peninsula there were some differing opinions over whether to head offshore or stay in. Mare and the newer Mach 40 sistership GDF Suez of Sebastien Rogues both suffered when they headed offshore allowing Phoenix Europe - Carac sailed by Louis Duc and Stephanie Alran to take the lead off Barfleur.
As the fleet converged with the south side of the Isle of Wight Toulorge and Jossier took the lead aboard their Kiwi 40 and on Monday morning, Made in Normandie led the Normandy Channel Race fleet west down the Solent, closely followed by J-C Caso and Aymeric Chappellier on Groupe Picoty. Exiting the Solent they were followed by Red, with Phoenix Europe - Carac down to fourth.
With the wind constantly in the southwest the boats were heading to tack to get around the numerous headlands en route to Lands End and on the wind as it built to 20 knots took its toll on the fleet ultimately causing the retirement of eight boats from a variety of issues ranging from charging, to sail damage and autopilot problems. With conditions forecast to build further, on Tuesday morning the Race Committee and Race Management took the decision to shorten course and instead of sending the boats around the Tuskar and Fastnet Rocks off southern Ireland, instead required them to round a virtual turning mark in the middle of the Celtic Sea some 50 miles north of Land’s End.
By Tuesday evening, the top four, Made In Normandie, Mare, Campagne de France and Geodis were already homebound, reaching southeast back across the English Channel. It was here that Mare benefitting from the reaching conditions was able to make her jump to first place from which she never relinquished.
Arriving back in Ouistreham overnight, the exhausted crews have since managed to get boats back up the canal to Caen where they have retired en masse to downtown Caen's notorious Newport cafe to drink beer and share war stories.
Finish order and times
|1||Mare||Jörg Riechers||Pierre Brasseur||3d 7h 57m 30s|
|2||Made In Normandy||Nicolas Jossier||Alexandre Toulorge||3d 8h 53m 57s|
|3||Campagne de France||Halvard Mabire||Miranda Merron||3d 8h 55m 0s|
|4||Geodis||Fabrice Amedeo||Armel Tripon||3d 10h 6m 3s|
|5||Al Bucq||Brieuc Maisonneuve||Ned Collier Wakefield||3d 10h 9m 55s|
|6||Red||Mathias Blumencron||Boris Herrmann||3d 10h 18m 10s|
|7||Picoty Group||Jean- Christophe Caso||Aymeric Chappellier||3d 10h 27m 45s|
|8||Momentum Ocean Racing||Dan Dytch||Emma Creighton||3d 11h 0m 27s|
|9||Phoenix Europe Carac||Louis Duc||Stéphanie Alran||3d 11h 7m 4s|
|10||Phesheya-Racing||Phillippa Hutton-Squire||Pip Hare||4.64|
|11||Obportus3||Olivier Roussey||Philippe Burger||131.26||126.61|
|RET||Eärwen||Catherine Pourre||Goulven Royer|
|RET||GDF Suez||Sebastien Rogues||Ludovic Aglaor|
|RET||Jasmine Flyer||Thibault Reinhart||Nicolas Boidévezi|
|RET||Kogane||Patrice Bougard||Gilles Dadou|
|RET||Mr Bricolage||Damien Rousseau||Benjamin Develay|
|RET||Norma Concept - The Pal||Bruno Jourdren||Thomas Ruyant|
|RET||Partouche||Christophe Coatnoan||Jean-Charles Monnet|
|RET||Pascal Atkey & son of Cowes||Piers Tyler||James Stableford|
|RET||Swish||Roderick Knowles||Paul Peggs|