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Sailingfast 2018 728x90

Normandy Channel Race: An anniversary edition to be celebrated in style

by Sirius Events 13 Apr 2019 10:46 BST 16-26 May 2019
2018 Normandy Channel Race © Jean-Marie LIOT / NCR 2018

10 years old: The age of reason?

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 with the associated renewal of the fleet. However, 15 to 20 Class40s are still expected to compete and those who have been involved in the project from the outset are determined to make it a very special edition.

Indeed, the entertainment on offer in Caen from 15 to 19 May and for the race finish the following weekend on 25 and 26 May, will certainly be equal to this fine anniversary, which will bring together Class40, the competitors, all the local authorities and all the partners involved with Sirius Evénements' teams since 2010.

In the wake of Captain Charcot in the Bassin St Pierre

In a nod to another era and the wealth of entertainment on offer in the Bassin St Pierre, the 3-master Le Français will be in attendance and open to visitors, as well as being available for all manner of receptions in Caen. Measuring 52m in length, with an air draught of 32m and a water draught of 3.6m, she is testament to the world of work at sea and embodies a familiar saying among sailors and competitors alike that "going to sea just for fun is like going to hell to while away the hours". Built in Denmark in 1948, she was used for fishing for sperm whales before going on to supply the Faroe Islands. Formerly known as Kaskelot, her new name harks back to polar explorer Captain Charcot's first vessel.

Champions' night

On Friday 17 May, champions' night will gather together all those who can spare the time and who have helped to forge the legend that now colours the 10-year-old event. Indeed, It makes for a fine list, as you can see in the appendix, where you cannot fail to note that winning the event is not only a mighty challenge, but also a fine omen for the future In fact, nearly half of these sailors have promised to attend, like the double reigning British and Anglo-Norman champion, the talented Phil Sharp, who was the 1stClass40 winner of the Route du Rhum and 3rdin the last edition. On top of past winners, there will also be those who make the event what it is today, including Halvard Mabire, Miranda Merron, Jean Galfione, Louis Duc as well as Marc Lepesqueux, who have amassed 37 participations in all and rank among some 200 skippers of 17 nationalities who have competed in the race since 2010.

Fireworks at the heart of Caen

On Saturday 18 May, it will be over to the locals from Caen and Normandy to come along and join in with the event, with a great day of entertainment in store. This will be capped off by a wonderful fireworks display staged in the Bassin St Pierre from 22:00 hours by way of a thank you to the crowds who come out in force each year to support these skippers, learn about their track records from the profiles posted up in front of each boat, and applaud the sailors at the final prize-giving, their faces etched with fatigue from the merciless week-long battle at sea. This year, on Thursday 16 May, some 1,000 local schoolchildren will flock to the port in their own race to secure as many skippers' autographs as they can.

The race reasserts itself

However, on Sunday 19 May at 15:30 hours, the skippers will have to brush the fervour of this festive atmosphere to one side as they take on the 10thedition of this race. As ever, the 1,000-mile racetrack is set to embrace the famous Irish rocks of Tuskar and Fastnet, yet the battle is never quite the same. Furthermore, for nearly half the crews signed up this year, this will be their first time competing in this race. Proof, if it were needed, of the key role the Normandy Channel Race plays as a way into this fantastic class.

Finally, 2 of the 3 skippers involved in last year's terrific top trio (Louis Duc / Aymeric Chappelier) - 6'' separation at the finish will be back once again in their bid for gold in 2019.

Please Note: Registration closes on Monday 15 April 2019, for more information visit www.normandy-race.com/index/inscription

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