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New and old players in the Normandy Channel Race

We look at some of the new Class40 campaigns emanating from the UK

Sunday April 14th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

A grand gathering of Class40s is due to set sail from Caen on the Normandy Channel Race today.

22 boats entered in the Normandy Channel Race was to have made this the largest Class40 gathering since the last Route du Rhum. However this line-up is now two light, making it equal with last year’s Quebec-Malo: Rune Aasberg and Simen Lovgren were entered on the Round Britain and Ireland-winning Express 40 Solo, but were unable to get their boat south from their native Norway after it was iced in... Bruno Rzetelny and Vincent Duguay’s Tyker 40 La Belle Equipe has also not made it to the start while German Joerg Riechers mare.de only reached Caen on Friday after she was dismasted on the delivery here on Monday.

The carbon spar on Riechers’ mare.de broke in two in the early hours of Monday morning after one of her D1s failed inside a terminal as the boat was 30 miles northeast of Ouessant.

Reichers recounted: “There were some waves and it was still a little bit windy and we were next to a shipping lane, and we decided that cutting it away would be safest, because we didn’t want it to damage the boat. In the end there was just cosmetic damage to the boat. It was the best choice to cut it away.”

They headed for L’Aberwrach to take on fuel before backtracking to Brest where they arrived at midday Monday. According to Reichers by 1400 that afternoon they had ascertained that they could get hold of the rig off Aloys Claquin’s sistership, Jack In the Box. “It was a really nice move – he chartered his rig to us! It is because of Aloys that we are able to do this race, so thank you to him,” said Reichers.

On the Tuesday the rig was prepared in La Trinite and was shipped up to Brest on the Wednesday and stepped. In addition to the complete rig, they chartered a mainsail as well as their own main had gone overboard with the rig... Mare.de arrived at the Normandy Channel Race start port of Caen (including the journey up the canal from Ouistreham) on Friday afternoon. “It was a great effort by the technical team,” said Reichers, and no doubt valuable practice for the German’s IMOCA 60 campaign...

This being the first Class40 race of the 2013 season there have been lots of musical chairs between crews and boats, including several new faces, some new boats and a welcome number of international crew, including six boats with crew from the UK, one all-female team in Philippa Hutton-Squire and Pip Hare on Phesheya-Racing, and four other women, around the fleet including Miranda Merron (sailing with Halvard Mabire) on race favourite Campagne de France, Stephanie Alran with Louis Duc on Phoenez, Catherine Pourre, skipper of Earwen and American Emma Creighton sailing with fellow ex-Mini sailor (and boyfriend) Dan Dytch on Momentum Ocean Racing, the former Concise 2, winner of last year’s Normandy Channel Race in the hands of Ned Collier Wakefield and Sam Goodchild.

Since competing in the 2011 Mini Transat Dytch has returned to working on the Wally Dark Shadow, before resigning at the end of last year. Creighton meanwhile spent part of last summer campaigning Tanguy de LaMotte’s all-conquering Class40 as part of a deal to get the boat delivered up to Canada ready for the Quebec-St Malo.

Dytch and Creighton raced aboard the Baltic 78 Lupa in the Caribbean early this season before moving into their own doublehanded Class40 campaign, which they will be carrying out aboard the well-sorted and equipped Concise 2, having chartered the Akilaria RC2 for two seasons.

“This season we are going to base ourselves in the UK, which was another big draw, because there is so much going on in the calendar in the UK,” Dytch explains. They are certainly getting their money’s worth from the charter. After the Normandy Channel Race they are heading for the Grand Prix Guyader in Douarnanez, followed by the Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables race then on to the UK with the Rolex Fastnet Race and the newly announced Class40 Worlds

Interspersed between these will be as many RORC races as they can fit in. The boat is to be based out of Hamble, from where there could be as many as five or six Class40s being actively sailed this season. Currently campaigning as Momentum Ocean Racing, Dytch and Creighton are on the hunt for a sponsor for their campaign. They would ideally like to get hold of two Class40s so that they can both compete in the Route du Rhum at the end of 2014.

In Concise 2 they have an immaculate, well sorted Class40 that significiantly is also winner of last year’s Normandy Channel Race. “We have a lot of live up to which is a shame as we’ve not had any time on the boat,” admits Dytch. “So it is a shake down for us really.”

On the subject of Concise, Ned Collier Wakefield is currently up to his neck with the new Jason Ker-penned 40 One Design he is masterminding, the boat currently in build at McConaghys in China.

While Sam Goodchild is off beating Michel Desjoyeaux in Figaro races, Collier Wakefield is back to defend his title, but on the first example of the latest generation Akilaria. The RC3 Al Bucq (a step on from the Concise RC2 he won in last year) belongs to French businessman Brieuc Maisonneuve, who, despite having a serious career now, is an ex-Mini (he campaigned a Pogo 1 in the 2003 Mini Transat) and Figaro sailor. Maisonneuve says he joined the Class40 because it features the boat development and comraderie of the Mini and the intense racing of the Figaro. “40ft is an ideal size for a non-professional sailor like me. I like where the boat lies - a good compromise between price and quality.”

Collier Wakefield comes to be on board because Al Bucq is currently based in the UK as Maisonneuve bought her principally to compete in next year's Route du Rhum and isn’t racing her much this season. Aside from the Normandy Channel Race, he’ll be sailing the RORC’s Cowes-Dinard in her and otherwise has chartered her to a German crew for August’s Fastnet race.

“I’m really excited to be back in the race this year,” said Collier Wakefield. “I still believe it’s one of the best Class 40 races on the circuit. However, this year will be really different for me, the new boat is the next generation on from Concise 2 and we haven’t had long to get her ready. I have actually only had the chance to sail her for a few hours, slightly different to the 20,000 miles sailed on Concise 2.”

As to this year’s race Collier Wakefield added: “One of the biggest changes this year is having the race in April. There’s the real chance of some interesting weather. A big high, or a couple monster lows, we will have to wait and see. The RC3, as with many of the new generation boats is very powerful, carrying more volume forward, this makes her faster reaching but slightly sticky in the light. With this in mind I think we will be hoping for a breezy race.”

Philippa, Pip and the 'pippapotamus'

South African livewire, Philippa Hutton-Squire is back campaigning her Akilaria Mk1 Phesheya Racing in an attempt to convey the message that a) not only is the boat for sale but b) it is race ready. Instead of sailing with Nick Leggatt, she is this time competing with British Mini specialist and coach, Pip Hare. While the boat is for sale, Philippa admits she would ideally like to keep er, find a sponsor attracted by the prospect of backing ‘two blondes in a boat’ and campaign her in the Transat Jacques Vabre this autumn. Pip Hare is similarly in a hiatus, having taken a contract at the RNLI while also very much wanting to compete in either the Mini Transat for a second time (for which she has qualified) or graduating up to race the TJV aboard a Class 40 with her new South African co-skipper. Sadly due to more great scheduling competing in both races is not possible.

The Normandy Channel Race also sees a welcome return of long term British (but France-based) solo sailor Paul Peggs, last seen racing on Marco Nannini’s Class40 on the first leg of the Global Ocean Race. Peggs is competing with RORC and Solo Offshore Racing Club competitor Roderick Knowles aboard the Rogers 40, formerly Damien Seguin’s ERDF - Des Pieds et Des Mains (Seguin currently has a new Akilaria RC3 in build).

Another new Class40 campaign is that of Cowes-based Kiwi pro-sailor Piers Tyler and London-based James Stableford (above). Tyler, 25, and Stableford, 48, first met on a delivery when Tyler was skippering the Pirates of the Caribbean VO70 prior to the 2008-9 Volvo Ocean Race. Stableford is an accomplished sailor having campaigned his Mumm 36 Panther to a black group win at Cowes Week in 2011 and competed in last year’s Round Ireland, several Fastnet races, etc. Tyler runs two Class40s in Cowes, one being the Akilaria, MAXVMG Fortissima and competed on the Oman Sail boat BAE Systems with Cedric Pouligny in last year’s Tour Voile.

Also an 11th hour campaign, Tyler and Stableford managed to charter the first of the Farr-designed Cooksons-built Kiwi 40s, they have christened Pascal Atkey & Son of Cowes (a friend who owns the famous Cowes-based chandlers is supporting them, along with Future Fibres and Babicka, a Russian vodka). The deal is currently only for the Normandy Channel Race, although Tyler says that if the stars align then they might find a way of doing the Transat Jacques Vabre too.

While they only acquired the boat three weeks ago, they have been out training every day apart from the time they have spent tied up at the dock here in Caen.



Boat Hull no Type Skipper Nat Co-skipper Nat2
PHESHEYA-RACING 23 Akilaria RC1 Phillippa Hutton-Squire RSA Pip Hare GBR
SWISH 52 Rogers Roderick Knowles GBR Paul Peggs GBR
RED 59 Rogers Mathias Blumencron GER Boris Herrmann GER
OBPORTUS3 60 JPK40 Olivier Roussey FRA Philippe Burger FRA
PHOENIX EUROPE - CARAC 65 Akilaria Mk2 (proto) Louis Duc FRA Stéphanie Alran FRA
GEODIS 81 Akilaria RC2 Fabrice Amedeo FRA Armel Tripon FRA
GROUPE PICOTY 85 Pogo 40S2 Jean- Christophe Caso FRA Aymeric Chappellier FRA
EÄRWEN 88 Tyker 40 Evo Catherine Pourre FRA Goulven Royer FRA
KOGANE 91 JPK40 Patrice Bougard FRA Gilles Dadou FRA
MOMENTUM OCEAN RACING 93 Akilaria RC2 Dan Dytch GBR Emma Creighton USA
CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE 101 Pogo 40S2 Halvard Mabire FRA Miranda Merron GBR
PASCALL ATKEY & SON OF COWES 102 Kiwi 40 Piers Tyler NZL James Stableford GBR
MADE IN NORMANDIE 107 Kiwi 40 Nicolas Jossier FRA Alexandre Toulorge FRA
MR BRICOLAGE 109 Pogo 40S2 Damien Rousseau FRA Benjamin Develay FRA
JASMINE FLYER 112 Akilaria RC2 Thibault Reinhart FRA/SUI Nicolas Boidévezi FRA
PARTOUCHE 113 Pogo 40S2 Christophe Coatnoan FRA Jean-Charles Monnet FRA
MARE 115 Mach 40 Jörg Riechers GER Pierre Brasseur FRA
NORMA CONCEPT LE PAL 119 Tyker40 Evo3 Bruno Jourdren  FRA Thomas Ruyant FRA
AL BUCQ 124 Akilaria rc3 Brieuc Maisonneuve FRA Ned Collier Wakefield GBR
GDF SUEZ 130 Mach 40 Sebastien Rogues FRA Ludovic Aglaor FRA




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