The stage is set at Quai Vendeuvre in Caen for another edition of the CIC Normandy Channel Race. Once again, the event devised and created by Sirius Évènements continues to go from strength to strength. On a competitive front, no fewer than 34 Class40s are expected to take the race start this Sunday 4 June. A new record! The presence of the circuit’s key players, the participation of the very latest additions to the series and the renewal of part of the fleet means that the outcome of the quest for the Normandy throne is even more of a conundrum than ever. Fortunately, the fleshing out of the media device means that the local, national and international audience will be able to follow every gripping detail of what promises to be an historic edition.
Year on year, the CIC Normandy Channel Race is becoming increasingly successful. Despite being in a post Route du Rhum season, which typically translates as a dip in competitors competing on the circuit due to project replenishment, the number of entries has peaked again. In fact, following a record edition last year, which saw the symbolic 30 entries reached for the first time, 34 Class40s are expected on the start line of this 2023 edition. Furthermore, quantity is matched by quality.
Indeed, among the wealth of protagonists, it’s important to note the presence of 6 past winners of the event no less. We start with the victorious duo from the 2022 edition, who are each returning on their own steeds this time. Helming his Crédit Mutuel No.158 again, Ian Lipinski will be aiming for a repeat performance. To do so, he’s called upon the services of the triple winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre, Antoine Carpentier. For his part, the talented Italian skipper Ambrogio Beccaria is rejoining the fray aboard his modern Class40 Alla Grande Pirelli on which he really created a stir in the last Route du Rhum – Destination Guadeloupe by securing second place. Axel Trehin and Nicolas Troussel, respectively 2021 and 2015 champions, have decided to join forces with their sights on the Norman throne. Spaniard Pablo Santurde Del Arco, double event winner (2016 and 2017), will be supporting Italian Alberto Bona (IBSA No.186), who will be making his event debut. Each as talented as the next, these sailors will also have to be wary of a slew of new models which have only just been launched.
The local of the leg, Pierre-Louis Attwell, who knows the race zone like the back of his hand, will be lining up with Vogue avec un Crohn (195), a brand-new Manuard design and the most recent addition to the series. We can also count on the presence of the Lombard design 194, Groupe Berkem, which recently came out of the local V1D2 yard. The latter will be skippered by Edgard Vincens accompanied by the experienced former winner of the competition, Julien Pulvé (in 2018). To complete the battle of the naval architects responsible for the latest crop of boats, representing Guillaume Verdier will be the crew on Think Big – Think Social, Pogo S4 No.189, sailed by the young German sailors, Lennart Burke and Melwin Fink who commanded the Mini Transat spotlight. Among the skippers docking into Caen with a new boat, Fabien Delahaye, who recently took the helm of the Legallais Team Voile project and is chartering the Class40 No.190, will certainly be one to watch. The same can be said of his teammate Corentin Douguet, a real mover and shaker in the previous edition of the CIC Normandy Channel Race, who bagged second place after virtually leading the race from beginning to end.
Among the crews likely to be pretenders to outright victory are two duos renowned for being Class Figaro Beneteau specialists: Achille Nebout and Gildas Mahé aboard Amarris (182) as well as Xavier Macaire and Pierre Leboucher on Groupe SNEF (178). The two pairings are beginning to rack up a fair amount of experience and miles on the Class40 circuit. Another duo to watch, Aurélien Ducroz will be paired up with Vincent Riou, with the winner of the Vendée Globe 2004-2005 returning for his third participation in the great Norman classic. Other stars include world-renowned offshore sailor and coach on The Famous Project, Brian Thompson, who will be teaming up with fellow Briton and world champion multihull specialist, skipper Alister Richardson on Tquila (159). To further complicate forecasts in the race for the crown, the 14th CIC Normandy Channel Race has been substantially replenished with nearly 50% of the fleet fleshed out by newcomers to the Class40 who will certainly be worth keeping a close eye on. Equally, there will be a number of Globe40 round the world sailors among the event’s ranks too. Having just navigated the oceans of the globe, Mélodie Schaffer, Estelle Greck and Roger Junet are now going to be tackling the English Channel and the Celtic Sea, a shorter but just as intense sea passage.
Media coverage on a par with the stellar line-up
For the first time, a France-wide media device will report on the event with the L’ÉQUIPE TV channel and the LEQUIPE.FR website providing daily coverage with the support of the CIC. From Saturday 3 June to Sunday 11 June, a short one-minute-long programme, L’IMAGE DU JOUR, will present the latest sports news about the race, with repeat broadcasts 3 to 4 times a day, which equates to around thirty or so broadcasts over that period. This France-wide commitment will complete the historic partnership with France 3 Normandie, which will this year take the form of a special broadcast of the ‘Vous Êtes Formidables’ programme on Friday 2 June, live coverage of the start for 90 minutes and the CIC Normandy Channel Race Minute, which will be broadcast twice a day for 13 days (extended across France 3’s Haut de France’s region) after the day’s television news. Also partnering the event from day one, France Bleu Normandie will have a strong presence with several highlights on the programme: columns in NORMANDIE SPORT and NOUVEL ECO, morning interviews, 3 periods of live coverage for the start day, coverage of the race during the week, plus a series of radio sessions as part of the partnership agreement.
A buzzing race village
The race village will be centred on the Quai Vendeuvre around the Bassin Saint-Pierre and is set to open its doors this Friday 2 June at 11:00 hours (from Thursday 1 June for schoolchildren) when it will welcome the general public for a wealth of fun-filled entertainment. In addition to the traditional trips out to sea on old sailing ships, boat model-making, a 3D immersive experience, a timed Karver winch ‘trial of strength’, beginners’ Optimist sailing sessions, Aqua Dog demonstrations and a marching band… the Base Paddle CIC will also be offering locals the chance to try paddleboarding. Fleshing out the entertainment will be the presentation of the skippers (16:00 hours – Saturday 3 June), the departure of the Class40s (10:00-10:30 hours – Sunday 4 June) and the prize-giving (12 noon – Sunday 11 June), which are the real high points for the locals in Caen, who always come out in force to cheer on the sailors.
Source / Sirius Evenements