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Alberto Bona crowned 2023 Class40 Champion !

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At the end of a sensational season, Italian sailor Alberto Bona (age 37) has been crowned 2023 Class40 Champion. Having only joined the Class40 circuit in September 2022, Alberto Bona propelled his Mach40.5 IBSA campaign straight in to the top 10, scoring two fine victories this year in the RORC Caribbean 600 and Les Sables-Horta, and finishing third in the season’s two transatlantic races, the Défi Atlantique and the Transat Jacques Vabre Normandie Le Havre.

The worthy runner-up is Ambrogio Beccaria (Alla Grande Pirelli) in second place ahead of Erwan Le Draoulec (Everial).

A high-octane season

Once again, the Class40s were out in force, with a number of potential winners for each race, making it very difficult to predict the top three ahead of time.

“We are absolutely delighted to win the championship. It was our first full season in Class40, and we were seeing new boats out there… it’s a great reward. We managed to be on the starting line of all the races, and to sail consistently with good results. We are super proud!” 

Champion ahead of other champions? “When we saw the sheer level of the skippers, not to mention the co-skippers, on each of the races this season, we knew that there would be serious competition! So yes, it makes us all the more proud to have won the championship up against such an incredible fleet.”

An intense season

This year’s championship included five events, of which two transatlantic races, and over 11,500 miles of racing.

“I was happy that there were a lot of races. There are some well-timed races such as the Défi Atlantique which persuaded me to stay in the Caribbean, after having been seriously up against it timewise for the Route du Rhum. It gave me the chance to have a break once I had made it across the Atlantic, and to compete in the legendary Caribbean 600, which also provided the opportunity to take Luca, the team manager, racing. It was a really good race schedule, really intense. I was a little stressed at the beginning of the year, because there wasn’t that much time to prepare the boat, but all went well. Our boats are fairly simple, after all. 20 days in the yard between the end of the Défi and the CIC Normandy Channel Race… and we were ready to go!”

Pablo strikes again

Even though the rules of the championship dictate that the title goes to the skipper, Pablo Santurde del Arco deserves to be honoured yet again this year. As Alberto’s co-skipper, he amply deserves to share this victory, having competed in every championship race on IBSA.

“I met Pablo at the start of the Route du Rhum. I was looking for someone to join the team and be involved for the season, not just on the water but on land too. He had a busy schedule with a lot of other races, but he was also very much an integral part of the team. This is a team victory, the result of a job well done together.”

Best memory of the season

“I have plenty of good memories from the season, but the one that stands out was the finish of the first leg of Les Sables-Horta. It was an emotional moment for me because we won, but it wasn’t so much for the victory, more the reward for the hard work. What’s more, it was a victory on an offshore race, an extraordinary race with incredible conditions, downwind all the way!”

Italy takes the honours

Alberto Bona won the RORC Caribbean 600, Les Sables-Horta and the 2023 Class40 Championship. Ambrogio Beccaria on Alla Grande Pirelli won the Transat Jacques Vabre, the 40 Malouine Lamotte and  CIC Normandy Channel Race. Italy has every reason to be proud of its offshore racers.

“What counts is that we succeed in creating something for people back home in Italy who are fans of offshore racing, so that they too get the opportunity to take part in this awesome sport. It is not a question of France vs Italy, since everything I have learnt, I learnt it in France, with French coaches, on a French boat, etc. Now it is our turn to share the knowledge we have gained and perhaps build something in Italy. The aim is to pass on that knowledge.”

A fine third place

Erwan Le Draoulec (Everial) took third place thanks to a season during which he always managed to position himself well, with a few outstanding performances, such as his victory in the 2nd leg of the Défi Atlantique (as well as his win in the Rolex Fastnet Race, though the race does not count towards the Championship). Often making smart tactical moves, the skipper of Everial, who took over from Stan Thuret, has seen his consistent performance rewarded with a creditable third place result in the Championship in his very first season.

2024

The 2024 Class40 programme promises a packed season with a number of different options! Some boats have stayed in the Caribbean after the TJV to compete in the RORC Caribbean 600 and the Atlantic Cup. Others have headed back to Europe and have the choice between racing in the Niji40, a transatlantic race for crews of 3 people between Belle-Île and Marie-Galante, and The Transat CIC, which is raced solo. The fleet will then reconvene for the Québec Saint-Malo Race. In September, there will be a choice to be made between the extraordinary CIC Normandy Channel Race and a new offshore race in the Mediterranean, the Med-Max Occitanie – Saïdia resorts.

“We are carrying on in Class40 with my sponsor IBSA. We will probably race in The Transat CIC and the Québec Saint-Malo. We will try to defend our title! It won’t be easy, the season will be different with some solo racing. It’s going to be very interesting.”

The “Sharp” boats

Of note is Jules Bonnier’s (Nestenn Entrepreneurs pour la planète) superb performance, with Robin Follin co-skippering this season, who finished in 12th place in the championship on his “pointy-bowed” Class40. He was first pointy-bowed boat home in every race in which he competed, leaving some scows in his wake, and he even pulled off the feat of finishing second into La Rochelle in April!

 

2023 Championship results

1. Alberto Bona (IBSA) – 1077pts

2. Ambrogio Beccaria (Alla Grande Pirelli) – 896pts

3. Erwan Le Draoulec (Everial) – 807pts

4. Axel Tréhin (Project Rescue Ocean) – 720pts

5. Alister Richardson (Tquila) – 716pts

6. Ian Lipinski (Crédit Mutuel) – 668pts

7. Pierre-Louis Attwell (Vogue avec un Crohn) - 653pts

8. Achille Nebout (Amarris) – 633pts

9. Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) – 589pts

10. Mikael Mergui (Centrakor) – 587pts

…..

12. Jules Bonnier (Nestenn Entrepreneurs pour la planète) - 575pts

Ranking : championnat2023.pdf (class40.com)

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