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2024 CIC Normandy Channel Race - 15 editions and counting

by Sirius Evenements 2 Oct 2023 13:39 BST
The 14th edition of the CIC Normandy Channel Race starts © Jean-Marie LIOT Images #CICNCR2023

Created in 2010 by Sirius Evenements in partnership with the Norman authorities, the CIC Normandy Channel Race is proud of its history and excited about its future!

Recognised as Class40's primary annual offshore race in Normandy, in France and also in Europe, championing the Norman region whilst contributing to the development of its marine network through a now well-established range of local Class40s 'made in Normandy', the event boasts a heritage which is shared by all those who have supported and developed it since it was created. They include elected representatives and teams from the founding authorities (City of Caen, Caen la Mer, the Calvados department and the Normandy region), the CCI Caen - Normandie which each year creates a port in the centre of the city and, since 2021, title partner CIC, which has brought fresh impetus to the event by notably upgrading its media coverage.

And last but certainly not least in this long list of supporters are the 591 participations by 308 different skippers in the past 14 editions of the event, 31% of whom are international and represent 17 different nationalities, aboard an average of 21 Class40s at the start of each race, with a record line-up of 30 teams to beat... With the female participation over the years amounting to 9%, there's certainly room for improvement on that score, but work is in progress to increase this number too. The fact that a number of the event's past winners have gone on to become extremely prestigious in other areas of the sport explains why the Normandy Channel Race Trophy has become as coveted as it is inaccessible: Thomas Ruyant - 1st winner-, Tanguy de Lamotte, Sam Goodchild, Nicolas Troussel, Phil Sharp (twice), Pablo Santurde (twice), Axel Trehin, Ian Lipinski, and reigning double champion Ambrogio Beccaria... are all sailors who have gone on to enhance their career by winning this Norman classic.

Certain skippers clearly cannot get enough of the event having competed in no fewer than 9 editions apiece: Jean Galfione, Louis Duc and Marc Lepesqueux. Naturally, the event has developed its own very unique spirit over the years where the modern imperatives of marketing and communication have not taken away any of the sailors' thrill and desire to come together both at sea and on land. This is evidenced by the many faces immortalised by event photographer Jean-Marie Liot that depict the tension of the start, the exhaustion at the finish, the evenings shared back on land and the deep bonds formed, which forever connect them to the memory of a shared moment in time. 'The Normandy', much loved and eagerly awaited every year!

An insatiable appetite for both Class40 and the event

With some 200 craft launched, Class40 has become a sports phenomenon of global proportions. Indeed, together with the 60-foot IMOCAs, the 2 monohull series dominate all the major offshore races worldwide. Through this development, the Class40 has undergone a sea change towards ever more competitive, full-on designs with the arrival of the famous scow bows. Slowly but surely, the pro or semi-pro teams are increasing in number and altering the dynamic of the race, which we sincerely hope will still leave a place for the experienced amateurs, who have coloured the history of this class and provide a guarantee of diversity, amateurs / professionals, French / overseas sailors, men / women.

Moreover, a '"sharp" ranking will be implemented in 2024 in addition to the overall ranking. The 2024 programme for Class40, with 3 transatlantic races in the first 6 months, means that the CIC Normandy Channel Race 2024 is sure to attract a stellar line-up when it sets sail on Sunday 15 September. Alongside this, the wider access to the French media in 2023 thanks to the L'ÉQUIPE channel and the support of the CIC plumping up the historic partnership with FRANCE 3 NORMANDIE, is likely to be renewed for 2024.

An event embracing societal change

Offshore racing cannot ignore the challenges of our time and in particular sustainable development and the opening up of top-level sport to embrace greater diversity. Keen to play its part in these developments, for 2024 the CIC Normandy Channel Race has reviewed all its visuals to ensure they are environmentally friendly. In this way, it is breaking new ground in offshore racing and, in agreement with the partners, the usual round mainsail sticker has been removed. Indeed, adhering 70 large plastic visuals to sails for a matter of days is no longer acceptable practice on an environmental basis.

All the other race visuals are either geared around annual reuse (flags, banners), or annual production (like dodgers with the skippers' names), which will need to be made of fully recyclable materials. Gender diversity in offshore racing is also a prerequisite of modern times because it's clear that there is a discrepancy between the traditionally masculine landscape of offshore racing and the evolution of society, whether it be in the professional sphere or in the practice of top-level sport. Going forward then, together with its partners, the CIC Normandy Channel Race is considering a host of ways to implement changes for the 2024 edition for the benefit of diversity.

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