At Normandy Sailing Week, a fleet of 28 J80s have answered the call to race. This year, the event organised by Sirius Evenements is once again playing host to the prestigious French Cup for the series. And the popularity of the boat is no secret as the J80 is the most frequently sailed small one-design in the world. Indeed there are over 1,500 such craft across the globe.
Normandy Sailing Week is a great opportunity for a number of teams to prepare for the World J80 Championship, which will be held in Marseille from 6 to 13 July. The king of the J80s in France, a certain Eric Brezellec, and his crew, are one of the favourites. Having won the French Cup and the Spi Ouest France many times over, Eric is the most consistent top-level Frenchman on this fun boat. However the crew of 'Interface Concept' will still have to keep a wary eye on some of the other teams, including 'Paprec', skippered by the familiar figure of Sébastien Petithuguenin, reigning champion Philippe Szellos on 'VOG', Maxime Mesnil 'Manche Basse-Normandie', Alexis Henri’s Dunkirk team 'VADK One' and Rémy Hurdiel from the Opal Coast university, who recently won the International Côte d’Opale Grand Prix.
The IRC Championnat Manche (Channel Championship) - UNCL 2013, is also continuing its partnership with Normandy Sailing Week. It’s in the IRC 2 category that the battle for the top spots will be especially intense. A large contingent of Archambault 35s have made the journey here, with two particularly honed crews, 'Dunkerque Plaisance – Gill Race Team' skippered by the Dunkirk sailor Philippe Bourgeois, recent winner of the Myth of Malham Race and 2012 champion, and 'Ame Hasle' skippered by the famous Franck-Yves Escoffier from nearby Saint Malo, a former 50-foot trimaran and Transat Jacques Vabre specialist. In IRC3, local Le Havre sailor Noel Racine aboard the JPK 10.10 'Foggy Dew', will be making his bid for supremacy for the umpteenth time. Meanwhile, in IRC 1, some fine craft will be fighting it out in the Baie de Seine, with a particularly international line-up this year.
With regard the sportsboats, two J70s, the latest little bombshell from the 'J Composites' yard, will be keen for some glory, as well as a myriad of First 7.5s (22), which will be competing in a special challenge set by the Upper Normandy Sailing League.
Even the car park in Le Havre’s Société des Régates and the Paul Vatine Marine Centre were steaming today, with 26 degrees recorded! The glorious sunshine also graced the race zone, to the North of the Cap de la Hève, but conditions weren’t quite so clement for the M34 and J111 fleets, with a cold North-Easterly wind and over 18 knots of pressure! The eight crews on each of the Archambault boats certainly weren’t hanging about and the nine M34s really put on a show, downwind, flying large asymmetric spinnakers, the bows hydroplaning in the surf. The M34 is a physical boat and linking together a series of manoeuvres isn’t for the faint-hearted. 'Groupama 34' skippered by Franck Cammas really stamped his green mark today by winning the first race of the day in style, the second a little less brazenly and then back up to full strength for the third bullet! As such he is way out in front in the provisional overall ranking with a 12-point lead over 'Courrier Dunkerque 3' and 13 over 'Bretagne – Crédit Mutuel Elite', which finished second three times and has made up good ground on the team from North-East France.
As far as the fabulously sleek J111s were concerned, 'Xcentric Ripper', skippered by Dutchman John Van der Starre is today’s number one, just two points ahead of the British crew on 'Shmokin Joe'. What a great idea to get these racer-cruisers competing in a fleet!
Tomorrow the 800 racers will be on the water at 1200 hours for the first racing.
Eric Brezellec, skipper of the J80 'Interface Concept': 'We’re midway through preparing for the World Championship. It’s always good to compete in a whole series of races. It’s the first time we’ve come to Normandy Sailing Week. There’s a great line-up and it’s a leg that counts towards the French Cup, which is our other aim this season'.
Franck-Yves Escoffier, skipper of the A35 'Ame Hasle': 'We came to see the sunshine in Normandy. We’ve just delivered our boat from Saint Malo and it’s a pleasure to be part of Normandy Sailing Week, which is a first for us. We didn’t do enough sailing at the start of the season, but we’ll be ready'.
Charlie Dalin, crewman aboard the M34 'Bretagne Crédit – Mutuel Elite': 'We’re in on the action. We’re not far off being able to secure a win. It’s tough with the crew of 'Groupama 34'. We can’t afford to make a mistake with them around'.
Fabien Henry, reigning M34 champion, mainsail trimmer aboard 'Groupama 34': 'We make superbly fast headway upwind. Despite a poor start in today’s second race, we managed to make up our lost ground pretty rapidly. The crew is increasingly at ease on the boat. Everyone has adapted to her. I think yesterday left its mark on our rivals. The long course was exhausting'.
The provisional ranking before the jury:
J 111 Group (J11) after three races:
1: 'Xcentric Ripper', John Van Der Starre ( / Holland) 5 points
2: 'Shmokin Joe', Duncan Mcdonald ( / UK) 7 points
3: 'Jeez Louise', James Arnell ( / UK) 7 points
4: 'J Dream', David Apthorp ( / UK) 11 points
5: 'Biela Munkenbeck', Richard A Barnes ( / UK) 16 points
6: 'Djinn', Sebastien de Liedekerke ( / Belgium) 19 points
7: 'Mcfly', Tony Mack ( / UK) 21 points
IM34 Group (M34) after four races:
1: 'Groupama 34', Franck Cammas ( / Y C de la Pointe Rouge) 8 points
2: 'Courrier Dunkerque', Daniel Souben ( / Dunkerque Plaisance) 20 points
3: 'Credit Mutuel Bretagne', Nicolas Troussel ( / Club de la Valle des Fous) 21 points
4: 'Dispositif France Jeune', Martin le Pape ( / Club de la Valle des Fous) 38 points
5: 'Sodebo', Thomas Coville ( / S N Trinite S/mer) 42 points
6: 'Tpm Coych', Cedric Boeri ( / Cercle Org Yachting Competition Hyerois) 49 points
7: 'Normandie', Arthur Herreman ( / Sport Nautique Et Plaisance du Havre) 60 points
8: 'Team Omansail', Cedric Pouligny ( / Ste des Regates Rochelaises) 62 points
9: 'Iskareen', Sönke Bruhns ( / Germany) 66 points
Normandy Sailing Week website
by Kate Jennings
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6:40 PM Thu 6 Jun 2013GMT
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