On the eve of the Normandy Channel Race, Class40 looks back on an excellent season so far: a major player in this year’s two multi-class transatlantic races, presence in a wide variety of sailing venues, a solid mix of hardened professionals and corinthian sailors, a varied programme combining solo/ double-handed/ crewed racing, fierce competition for the class championship…
- An intense season of offshore racing: two transatlantic races in 3 months
- A successful combination of 3 different race programmes
- A record number of entries in the Normandy Channel Race
- Who will be crowned 2016 Champion?
Transatlantic races: inshore-style racing on the open ocean
10 Class40s crossed the start line of the Transat Bakerly on the 2nd of May in Plymouth, with 3050 nautical miles of solo racing ahead of them. After 17 days, five low pressure systems and fierce competition for podium places, Thibaut Vauchel-Camus (Solidaires en Peloton ARSEP) clinched the top spot ahead of Louis Duc (Carac) and Phil Sharp (Imerys). It should also be noted that Isabelle Joschke (Generali Horizon mixité) had been leading the fleet when water ingress forced her to retire from the race. The competition was no less ferocious throughout the rest of the fleet, with Edouard Golbery (Région Normandie) and Robin Marais (Esprit Scout) crossing the finish line just 1 1/2 hours apart. Anna-Maria Renken finished 6th in her first solo transatlantic race, followed by new-comer to the class, Japanese sailor Hiroshi Kitada.
On the 10th of July, 19 teams lined up for the start of the highly popular Quebec Saint-Malo race. The fleet contained all the ingredients of what Class40 is about: a mix of sailors on all levels. Professional teams and talented owners living the dream, 8 nationalities, two women on the podium, a Vintage ranking… The Transat Quebec Saint-Malo has become established as a “classic” in the race calendar, not just because of the incredible scenery, but once again because of the very close-fought racing across the Atlantic all the way down the fleet: Gonzalo Botin led his team to victory, but only by 90 minutes. Just 9 minutes separated 2nd placed Generali Horizon Mixité and 5th placed Cora Moustache Solidaire. The suspense lasted right up to the finish line thanks to the local team on T. Vauchel-Camus’ boat who threw everything at it in the last few miles by taking the north channel into Saint-Malo, finishing just behind 3rd placed Catherine Pourre on her new Mach 40.3 Eärendil! There was more of the same to follow: 5 minutes between Black Pepper / Les P’tits doudous by Moulin Roty in 6th place and Imerys in 7th place. A mere 5 hours separated Carac in 9th place and Kiho in 12th… and just 1h15 between Obportus in 18th and Sirius in 19th place. The Transat Quebec Saint-Malo lived up to its reputation and will be remembered for the intense racing as well as the atmosphere and unusual race course.
Competitors relished both these races, and Class40 is proud to have been the main player, both in terms of numbers and in terms of competition (making up 40% of the Transat Bakerly fleet, and 75% of the Quebec – St Malo fleet).
The class has strengthened its dynamic image and given a clear demonstration of the level of competition in its events. New highly-experienced members from different horizons such as Imoca, Figaro, Tour de France and Mini 6.50 have discovered the delights of the class and should make good ambassadors.
One class, 3 race calendars
The eclectic nature of the Class40 fleet means that requirements differ: while many sailors commit to Class40 to be able to compete in renowned races at a reasonable cost, there are others who prefer shorter and/or crewed events. On that basis, there were 3 different race programmes on offer this year: American, Offshore (comprising events which count towards the annual championship) and European. Class40s competed in the RORC Caribbean 600, the Grand Prix Guyader, the Voiles de Saint-Barth, the Armen Race, Round Ireland…
The Atlantic Cup, which took place at the end of May/ early June, saw a fleet of 9 boats, half of them American, the rest European, come to discover this event which combines inshore and offshore racing along the exceptional East Coast of the USA between Charleston and Portland (Maine), including surfing along in the Gulf Stream and a stopover in Brooklyn in the shadow of the Manhattan skyline.
A large number of competitors will line up against one another in a few weeks in Caen for the last race of the season.
Some thirty boats in the Normandy Channel Race
The final event of the 2016 season, the Normandy Channel Race, will bring together a large number of Class40s from different fleets. Who will be the winner of this 1000 nm double-handed race – those having covered thousands of miles offshore, or those who have focussed more on coastal races similar to this event? One thing is certain, it will be a thrilling race and a great end to the season.
2016 Class40 Championship - a captivating finale
The 2016 Championship is based around offshore racing. The four races to count this season are the Transat, the Atlantic Cup, Quebec-Saint-Malo and the Normandy Channel Race. After three events, team Solidaires en Peloton ARSEP has a solid lead with a 20 point margin over the Spanish team on Tales 2 on equal points with the British team on Imerys. But the outcome is far from certain, with Carac just 4 points off the podium, which equates to two places in the ranking of the Normandy Channel Race. Eärendil, currently in 5th place, is but 6 points adrift… all will be revealed in September!