100 yachts are expected in Le Havre from 3 to 9 June for the eighth running of Normandy Sailing Week. Around ten series will be racing during the week-long competition in Baie de Seine, North-East France. A number of events will be run within the context of Normandy Sailing Week, including the French J80 Cup, the European J111 Championship, the first leg of the French Elite Championship for crewed offshore M34 racing and the UNCL Trophée Manche and Normandie for the IRC category.
A fine vintage is scheduled to race in Le Havre for the eighth act of Normandy Sailing Week! Over 800 racers will be competing on a number of close-contact, coastal courses launched by race committees responsible for each of the three race zones.
Significantly, the French J80 Cup is making its comeback in Le Havre this year. As such, over 25 J80s will be on the race zone with a sizeable local delegation. Le Havre's Société des Régates (Racing Society) has helped to boost this move with the purchase of five boats from the "J Composites" yard.
This Norman sailing event will begin with action from the M34s, the craft used in the Tour de France à la Voile. Around a dozen 34-feet Archambaults will enter the fray from the morning of Tuesday 4 June, when they take the start of a 230-mile race. All the Class' powerhouses will be there. Daniel Souben "Courrier Dunkerque 3", Nicolas Troussel "Crédit Mutuel – Bretagne", Cédric Pouligny "Team Oman", Corentin Douguet "Nantes / Saint-Nazaire" will be doing battle with some of the series' 'newcomers', including "Groupama 34" skippered by Franck Cammas, the recent winner of the Grand Prix Guyader and the Volvo Ocean Race, as well as Thomas Coville aboard "Sodebo". Suffice to say then that this "Volvo Drive E Race" will be hotly contested, providing a perfect foretaste of the Tour de France, which sets sail from Dunkirk at the end of June. Following on from this, the M34s will complete a series of round-the-cans courses off Le Havre from Thursday.
They will be joined by the J111 racer-cruiser fleet, which will see no less than 14 boats competing for the European J111 Champion title. This prize will be awarded on Sunday as Normandy Sailing Week draws to a close.
On the second race zone, the IRCs will take centre stage from 7 June, with four separate rankings deciding between the IRC 1, IRC 2, IRC 3 and IRC 4 categories. The organisers are expecting large numbers with the confirmation that Franck-Yves Escoffier, of offshore fame, will be racing aboard an Archambault 35. The current IRC 2 title holder, "Dunkerque Plaisance", skippered by the formidable Philippe Bourgeois, will also be keen to score well. Other serious contenders include the JPK 10.10 "Foggy Dew" helmed by local sailor Noel Racine and the X41 "Orange Mecanix" skippered by Maxime de Mareuil.
Finally, on the third and final race zone, the sportsboats (which include the Seascape 18s), will put on a show amidst a frenzy of bowsprits and zippy hulls, fleshed out by the presence of some all new J70s. The stakes will be especially high for the First 7.5s, who will also be competing here in a challenge specific to the Ligue de Voile de Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandy Sailing League).