Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 2018 Cousin Constrictors 20% Off 728x90
Product Feature
NeilPryde Sailing Max Dry Visor
NeilPryde Sailing Max Dry Visor

Class40 and the Normandy Channel Race: The 2019 challenges

by Normandy Channel Race 3 Feb 11:08 GMT 16-26 May 2019
2018 Normandy Channel Race © Jean-Marie LIOT / NCR 2018

With 53 competitors on the start line, the Route du Rhum unquestionably marked a turning point in the development of the Class40. Along with the sheer number of entries, the technological prowess of the 'state-of-the-art' Class40 and the very high standard of competition throughout the series all helped to change how the media and partners view the class.

Indeed, once considered to be a nice class albeit a touch marginal, the Class40 has become an essential part of French offshore racing and consequently graces major events for multiple series.

The way the event played out echoes this assessment. Indeed, even though there was an appreciable number of retirements due to the violence of the weather conditions across all the classes, major damage was rare and it shouldn't be forgotten that the Class40 winner Yoann Richomme finished in the wake of the 8th 60-foot Imoca from the Vendée Globe series. Added to this, victory went to a new Lift 40 Lombard design, once again opening up the playing field and the architectural appeal of the series, which had hitherto been dominated by the Mach40 Manuard design.

On top of this, the Class40's unique ability to combine the professional and amateur world worked to full effect in this race, offering all those involved an emotional journey that they will remember for a lifetime.

The fleet enjoys a new cycle of renewal

As is the case every four years, 2019 is the fleet's first year in the traditional cycle of renewal between two Route du Rhum races. Halvard Mabire, President of the Class40 comments on this phase and its impact on the Normandy Channel Race:

"The post Route du Rhum years are generally transition years for the Class40 with a lot of boats changing hands, the Route du Rhum heralding the end of one cycle and a possible period of branching off towards other projects like the Vendée Globe for sponsors and skippers. With the NCR being one of the first events of the season, it may well suffer from this situation, though equally the sporting quality of this event is now so well renowned that it's also a good opportunity for new arrivals in the Class to get to grips with their boat and size up the rest of the fleet. The high standard of competition and the race format are both a big draw not only for the usual Class40 racers, but also the skippers of other craft.

It is reassuring for the Class40 to witness the series of structured projects coming up this year with long-term goals like the Route du Rhum 2022. Though these projects with new boats are unlikely to be ready for this year's edition of the NCR, we are sure to see them in future editions and one can reasonably feel confident about the future of the Class40."

The Normandy: the comings and goings...

The competitive reputation of the Normandy Channel Race makes it an unmissable annual meeting point within the Class40 be it for new entries (45% of skippers in the last 3 editions were first-time participants), professionals in recognition of a hard-fought victory or amateurs in search of a strong dose of competition and adventure.

In this way, this year's race will see the return of the winner of the 2013 edition, the effervescent German skipper Jörg Riechers teamed up with Frenchman Cédric Chateau:

"To my mind, the Class 40 is very interesting on a competitive front. There are a lot of very good sailors in this class with Mini6.50, Figaro and IMOCA skippers racing on this circuit. I'm really pleased to be back in the NCR again this year because it's a very demanding race, both technically and tactically, so it's very hard to win but I love a challenge!!! It's an offshore sprint and I'm not sure I'll be able to secure the same result as in 2013, but I promise I'll do my best!! I intend to remain loyal to the Class 40. I'm already considering doing the Route du Rhum 2022 in the Class 40 and why not with a Cape Racing Yachts' scow version Class 40..."

Meantime, Charles-Louis Mourruau, skipper of LOST BOYS, will be teamed up with the English sailor Gery Atkins:

"This will be our second participation in this illustrious race. The previous year we successfully negotiated the English Channel and the Solent passage. This year should be all the more competitive as there are a number of new boats on the circuit. However, we're gunning for the top 10 in the hope that the wind will play ball this year!"

Finally, those who are leaving the Class40 for now, bound for other offshore realms, also pay tribute to how much the class and the NCR has helped them build their career. This is the case for Maxime Sorel, the happy new skipper preparing for the Vendée Globe in the wake of Tanguy de Lamotte, Thomas Ruyant and Manu Cousin:

"The NCR was an important meeting for our team. Boasting an incredibly technical course, the bulk of which is very intense, the race served as the perfect platform for optimisations and sail choices. In four participations, in the Vintage class and then on my latest generation Manuard design, we've secured two podium places. Every year saw the standard go up and up, which is testament to what great shape the Class40 is in. We're certainly going to miss the friendly atmosphere of the Bassin St Pierre in Caen. I'd have liked to have won the NCR with my own boat, but perhaps I'll be back to have another crack at it one day as co-skipper. After a programme spanning more than four years in Class40, today I'm preparing a Vendée Globe project in Imoca. However, I wish all those competing in the race a great NCR 2019!"

Registration at preferential rates prior to 31 January at normandy-race.com/index/inscription.

Related Articles

The Normandy Channel Race: One of a kind
Just 10 hours separate victory from 11th place Just 10 hours was all that separated victory for Aymeric Chappellier and Pierre Brasseur on Aïna Enfance et Avenir from 11th placed Franz Bouvet and Sylvain Michelet on Yoda, who closed the finished line late afternoon yesterday. Posted on 26 May
Normandy Channel Race day 6
The unbearable sprint finish The competitors are on the home straight. With all the Class40s now sailing in the English Channel bound for Ouistreham via the Cotentin Peninsula, it is impossible to announce the future champion of this anniversary edition. Posted on 24 May
Normandy Channel Race day 5
The god of the winds, Aeolus, has made his big comeback There is absolutely no comparison between today's conditions out on the racetrack in the Normandy Channel Race and those of yesterday. Aeolus has made his big comeback, dishing out a 6/8-knot W'ly wind across the northern sector of the Celtic Sea. Posted on 23 May
Normandy Channel Race day 4
Rounding the Tuskar Rock At around 15:00 hours French time this Wednesday afternoon, two protagonists rounded the Tuskar Rock course mark, the iconic ‘summit' that rewards an ascent of the north face of the Normandy Channel Race. Posted on 22 May
Normandy Channel Race day 3
The Great Escape! The two leaders in the Normandy Channel Race, Eärendil and Aïna Enfance et Avenir, are continuing to go it alone at the head of the fleet. Posted on 21 May
Normandy Channel Race day 2
Grouped formation for the fleet Obviously, the various editions of the Normandy Channel Race go by and every one is different from the last. Posted on 20 May
Normandy Channel Race underway
Clean start for the 10th edition The Race Committee released the 13 Class40s competing in the Normandy Channel Race bang on 15:30 hours local time this Sunday. Posted on 19 May
10th Normandy Channel Race preview
An anniversary edition to be celebrated in style On Sunday 19 May 2019, those skippers competing in the 10th Normandy Channel Race will set sail from Caen in northern France. A record line-up may not be on the cards this time around as it's a post Route du Rhum year Posted on 13 Apr
Normandy Channel Race 2019 preview
Event going from strength to strength on 10th anniversary Created by Sirius Evenements with the support of the local authorities and the CCI Normandie, the event has only been able to go from strength to strength thanks to the remarkable and constant commitment from these five partners. Posted on 8 Dec 2018
Phil Sharp & Julien Pulvé on IMERYS win
Six second victory in the 2018 Normandy Channel Race Ultimately, victory in this incredible six-day edition of the 2018 Normandy Channel Race came down to just six seconds. Posted on 3 Jun 2018