Electric atmosphere for start of Normandy Channel Race

To say the 60 sailors who set sail this Sunday on the 13th Normandy Channel Race were eager to get going would be an understatement.

In stormy yet magnificent conditions, the Class40s were released onto the racetrack at bang on 13:30 hours local time.

A course of around 1000 miles in the English Channel and the Celtic Sea, sailors depart from and return to the city of Caen in Normandy. It’s a double-handed race that allows the Class 40 to be led to their full potential, a varied course, half coastal course in France, United Kingdom, Ireland and half offshore course in the English Channel and the Celtic Sea

There was certainly plenty of tension on the start line. Jockeying for position, the 30 duos which make up this unprecedentedly high calibre fleet got off to a clean start in a 10 knots E/SE’ly breeze.

Hotly contested, the coastal course served up a tantalising foretaste of the battle royal that will doubtless play out over the 1,000 miles or so that makes up the course for this event across the English Channel and the Celtic Sea.

The course.
The course.

The Class40s Quéguiner-Innoveo, Redman and Legallais were constantly battling for supremacy at the front of the fleet in the opening coastal course concocted by Race Management. Ultimately though, to everyone’s surprise, it was Pierre Casenave-Péré and Fabien Delahaye who came out on top on home waters, cheered on by a large crowd as they rounded the last coastal mark in first place. A great start for the local team who will be able to bank that confidence boost for this evening’s Channel hop.

Opportunistic and posting a series of impeccably clean tack changes, Ian Lipinski and Ambrogio Beccaria aboard Crédit Mutuel, managed to secure second place in the first position report. They were followed by the firm favourites of this 2022 edition, Corentin Douguet and Yoann Richomme aboard Quéguiner-Innoveo.

Australia’s Rupert Henry and Jack Boutell (Eora) are currently placed ninth overall.

An express Channel hop

In light of the very stormy conditions forecast near the Norman coast, Race Management decided to remove the first course mark, off the Saint-Marcouf islands some 36 miles from the start line, in a bid to get the fleet offshore more quickly. As a result, the duos will launch straight onto a beat across the Channel, which won’t be easy, given the abundance of shipping in this zone. The fastest sailors should reach the treacherous Solent at around 02:00 hours on Monday…

For the live race tracker, see: https://normandy-race.com/en/follow-the-race/

Jeanneau JY55
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Selden Asymetric Rib Technology
Race Yachts