Jörg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur took the Normandy Channel Race
Thursday 18 April 2013 –
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A boisterous Normandy Channel Race
The 2013 edition of the event, organised by Sirius Evénements, was played out in medium to strong winds. Blowing in from the south-west for the bulk of the race, it never really eased, save for a few hours after the start as the fleet negotiated the Saint Marcouf islands.
After setting out on Sunday at 1700 hours local time the competition, based in France’s Calvados region, lived up to expectations from the outset, and it was a sight to behold on the water. In glorious sunshine, the 20 Class 40s powered across the start line. Since the Route du Rhum Route du Rhum #RouteDuRhum 2010, never have so many Class 40s taken the start of an offshore yacht race.
The pacy “Mare”, Jorg Riechers’ Class 40, immediately created a stir, taking control of the fleet at the first windward mark of the initial coastal course. The other Mach 40, “GDF SUEZ” also put up an impressive performance, despite the attack from “Campagne de France” skippered by Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron and the skill of the German sailors on “Red”, Boris Herrmann and Mathias Blumencron, the former editor of “Der Spiegel”.
Close-hauled in around 15 knots of breeze, the NCR fleet made for the Saint Marcouf islands. Some opted for an offshore option prior to this compulsory passage, whilst others took their chances with a coastal option. Early that night, “Phoenix Europe – Carac” skippered by Louis Duc from Cherbourg and Stéphanie Alran from La Rochelle, were the first to link onto the Channel crossing thanks to a cunning option hugging the coast where it was sheltered from the current. “Made in Normandie” was in hot pursuit whilst the stars seemed to get bogged down. Making headway downwind, the wind picked up. Remaining slightly to the West of the great circle route, Alexandre Toulorge, also from Cherbourg, and Nicolas Jossier from nearby Granville, took the lead. Aboard their Kiwi 40, the duo were really packing a punch in this their first Class 40 race and first Normandy Channel Race.
In the early hours of Monday, “Made In Normandie” negotiated the Solent with ease and, close-hauled, soon had it in its wake. Behind them, “GDF SUEZ” skippered by Sébastien Rogues and Ludovic Aglaor, “Groupe Picoty” helmed by Jean-Christophe Caso and Aymeric Chappellier, slowly made up ground on the leaders thanks to a rather dangerous option flirting with the sand banks around the Needles. “Norma Concept – Le Pal” skippered by Bruno Jourdren and Thomas Ruyant, always among the winning options since Sunday’s start, climbed into second place. On the nose, the winds were becoming increasingly strong as the fleet headed down the South coast of England.
In a biting cold the fleet made good speed Speed #speedsailing off Poole and offshore of Start Point, whilst overnight on Monday, several competitors suffered from technical issues. On Tuesday morning, eight competitors had retired from the NCR, “GDF SUEZ” and “Norma Concept – Le Pal” opting to make for Plymouth so as not to damage their brand new Class 40s. A front situated above Ireland was causing the racers some concern and the Race Committee and Race Management took the tough decision not to send the sailors into the difficult seas off Ireland. In this way, a virtual waypoint had to be rounded some 50 miles North of Land’s End. “Made in Normandie” was first to link onto the return leg, with some surfing on the programme!
On Tuesday evening, the top four, “Made In Normandie”, “Mare”, “Campagne de France” and “Geodis” were already on the homeward leg. On a reach they were able to glide across the English Channel, “Mare” really smoking as she made gains on the Normans. With 35 knots of breeze in the area, coloured by great fatigue for the majority of the sailors, the Normandy Channel Race was really living up to form…
By Wednesday afternoon they were on the home straight, upwind and then downwind, the two major protagonists in the Normandy Channel Race devoured the Raz Blanchard with gusto. It was at Barfleur that they began punching tide, with “Mare” extending away from the fleet and taking the win in style!
View online : Info presse TB Press / www.normandy-race.com
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