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    Aymeric Chappellier
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Imerys (Phil Sharp), leading the 2017 Class40 championship at mid-season!

@Christophe Favreau / les Sables Horta 2017
@Christophe Favreau / les Sables Horta 2017

Headlines :

-            Highly-international participation

-            6 coefficients out of 11 already allocated

-            A successful pre-season

-            The most represented class in the Rolex Fastnet Race and the Transat Jacques Vabre

-            A round-the-world tour in 2019?

The Class40 slogan Friendly Class-Fierce racing has been highly appropriate so far this year: an increasing sporting level; strong competition between each generation of boats and most notably in the Vintage class; new Class40 launched; and everything in a friendly atmosphere to the delight of new entrants.

At mid-season, the Class40 championship so far

The Grand Prix Guyader was the first event of the 2017 season: with very little sun but plenty of wind, it offered the 9 participating boats a very sporting start to the year. This first event, won in the last race by Imerys (Phil Sharp, Corentin Douguet, Arthur Le Vaillant, Robin Marais & Pablo Santurde) ahead of Serenis Consulting (Jean Galfione) and V and B (Maxime Sorel), was the precursor of a dramatically interesting season.

In the middle of May, 24 duo gathered in Caen for the now classic Normandy Channel Race: a 1000 mile race against the Solent tides, the Irish Sea, a long and chaotic upwind stretch from Tuskar Rock to the Fastnet, and then a long reaching back to Caen via the Channel Islands, helping to erase the memories of the previous struggles. The winner was once again Imerys, led by the British-Spanish duo of Phil Sharp & Pablo Santurde, followed by the same pretenders as in Douarnenez a few weeks earlier. In the vintage category victory went to Christophe Souchaud and François Lassort (Montres Herbelin).

Les Sables-Horta, with first-leg departure at the beginning of July, brought together 19 Class40 competitors, including 6 Vintage boats and 8 nationalities. Most notable was the fierce struggle between the Spanish duo of Tales II (Pablo Saturde & Gonzalo Botin) winner of the first leg and of the overall ranking, and Imerys (Phil Sharp, Corentin Douguet/Adrien Hardy), second in both legs and in the overall ranking by only 13 minutes from the eventual winner after 2500 miles of racing! Aïna Enfance et Avenir (Aymeric Chappellier  & Arthur Le Vaillant) - launched only two weeks before the start - won the second leg and took third place on the podium behind the two leaders of the 2016 & 2017 seasons. Transport Hénault Cabinet Z (Cedric Kervenoael, Robin Marais/Rémi Beauvais) won the fiercely-contested Vintage category.

And it’s not over...

The Rolex Fastnet Race (Cowes-Fastnet-Plymouth) will start on August 6, with an expected 30 or so Class40 entrants on the starting line. Without any doubt this promises to be a stunning event for both participants and cartography enthusiasts! The big names of the class will of course be there to win this legendary race, but a number of other great names of French offshore-racing will enrich the panorama: Alex Pella (winner of the 2014 edition of the Route du Rhum and holder of the Jules Verne Trophy on Idec) will embark on Oman Sail; Jean-Pierre Nicol (overall winner of the Fastnet in 2015, three times winner of the Tour de France à la Voile, and three-time French champion – crew ...) will crew for Maxime Cauwe on Azeo; the designer Eric Levet will sail on Carac; the sailmakers Rémi Aubrun and Eric Varin will join in on Campagne de France and Evernex ...

The double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre race between Le Havre and Salvador de Bahia will be the last event of the official 2017 programme, and twenty Class40 boats have already entered. Ten countries will be represented this time: Angola, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Oman, Spain and Switzerland. The season will definitely end in style.

The appeal of a round-the-world tour

A round-the-world tour in Class40 would offer participants and partners a winning project in a safe boat, and be much more than just another overlong, run-of-the-mill circumnavigation.  Discussions about such a race have surfaced more and more frequently on yacht-decks - and not only in France, while in recent years no fewer than 5 foreigners (1 British, 1 Chinese, 1 Italian and 2 Americans) have already attempted to achieve their dream. So the time is right, and the Class is already working on the project of a round-the-world tour in 2019.

The 2017 Championship:

-          Grand Prix Guyader (crew) coefficient 1

-          Normandy Channel Race (double-handed) coefficient 2

-          Les Sables-Horta (double-handed) coefficient 3

-          Rolex Fastnet race (crew) coefficient 1

-          Transat Jacques Vabre (double-handed) coefficient 4

2017 Championship standings

Full results for 2017:

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