With exactly three months to go till the start of the Normandy Channel Race, which will set off from Caen on 14 April 2013, no fewer than 13 teams have already registered for the fourth edition of the event.
2012 Normandy Channel Race
A number of other skippers are also planning to take part, which is indicative of a further boost in entries, with a goal of twenty or so boats on the start line.
Participation in the event will also serve as a qualifier for the Transat Jacques Vabre later this year, as well as Les Sables–Horta race.
Returning to its natural position at the start of the season (after an end-of-summer slot for the running of the Quebec/St Malo race every four years), the event opens what is set to be a highly active year for the Class 40, which is still flourishing despite the economic context.
The profile of the entries mirrors the Class 40 itself, with a variety of profiles and experiences, an international element and richness on a human level. These include semi-professional and professional skippers (Halvard Mabire / Miranda Merron / Sébastien Rogues / Nicolas Jossier / Armel Tripon / Bruno Jourdren / Thomas Ruyant / Louis Duc / Stéphanie Alran / Jean- Christophe Caso) alongside some enlightened amateurs (Olivier Roussey /Catherine Pourre / Patrice Bougard / Damien Rousseau).
Pierre-Yves Lautrou (l’Express magazine) and Fabrice Amadeo (Le Figaro magazine) will be representing the category of enthusiastic journalist sailors, while a new British crew comprising Roderick Knowles and Paul Peggs will be joining the event for the first time.
Half the duos entered have already participated in at least one edition of the event and the presence of Thomas Ruyant, winner of the inaugural edition in 2010, as well as two second placed teams (Halvard Mabire in 2010 and 2012, Bruno Jourdren in 2011), bodes well for a high level of competitiveness on the water.
In terms of architecture and boat building, the current crop of Class 40s will be represented at the event, with entries from Pogo 40S2, JPK, Mach 40, Tyker, Rogers and Akilaria so far. The winning boat from the 2012 edition, the ex TALES, will also be in attendance in the hands of Louis Duc this time around, while Sébastien Rogues will benefit from a brand new boat, for which this will be its first race.
As we await news of the definitive line-up, everything is clearly coming together to confirm the sporting vigour of the race and the lure it has for teams keen to do battle over this now classic 1,000-mile (1,800km) course.
We conclude with a thought for Tanguy de Lamotte, 2011 winner of the Normandy Channel Race, who is putting up a great performance on the final stretch of Vendée Globe as he approaches Cape Horn.
Normandy Channel Race website