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Displaying items by tag: normandy channel race

It’s been a studious, laborious night for the 20 competitors still out on the offshore race track in the Normandy Channel Race. The SW’ly wind is right on the nose as they continue to battle towards Fastnet Rock after rounding the Tuskar mark yesterday afternoon. Twice the distance, three times the effort it is often said. Indeed, the Class 40s are embroiled in a series of tedious tacks upwind in a bid to make even minimal headway, with a heavy price to pay in terms of physical effort and strategic cogitation, with every sail manœuvre requiring a serious amount of stacking, which consists of shifting any movable weight in the boat to the other tack, from heavy sail bags to personal belongings. However, a sailor has a sense of humour and also knows a thing or two about philosophising, as evidenced by this short message from Halvard Mabire (Campagne de France) last night: “The work on deck is quite a laugh, but the shifting of gear down below is no joke, especially whilst the floor is constantly jumping around and moving. It’s easy to keep hitting yourself against the walls and bulkheads and taking a bath is out of the question, otherwise you’re at risk of setting the tongues wagging on the dock (because it’s common knowledge that nobody believes you if you say you’ve walked into a door to explain a black eye...)”.

After a quick exit from the English Channel and an ultra fast climb up to Tuskar, the race pace has dropped off considerably and the ability to make headway has greatly reduced. A firm leader, Imerys (Phil Sharp - Pablo Santurde), which has consolidated its lead overnight, (over 13 miles) has only covered 89 miles in the space of 24 hours in reality, or an average speed of less than 4 knots. The British-Spanish pairing is just 20 miles or so from the famous rock this morning, which it is likely to round late morning, before linking onto a rapid negotiation of the Irish Sea, beam onto what is set to be a W’ly wind. As is often the case, beating tends to reshuffle the cards and behind Imerys the battle for the top spots is fierce. Gambling hard, V and B (Sorel-Carpentier) has sacrificed her second place to hunt down a little more pressure a long way South, and with it a decent wind angle that will enable her to drive straight down towards Fastnet and hopefully be in with a chance of getting the better of Serenis Consulting (Galfione- Troussel).

With the passage shortly after 02:00 GMT this morning of Team SPM (Bry-Day), all the protagonists have now rounded the Tuskar mark and are making for Fastnet.

Published in Offshore

#Offshore - A fleet of 20 French yachts racing to Ireland narrowly avoided sailing into serious trouble off the Dorset coast earlier this week.

As BBC News reports, UK coastguard authorities scrambled to warn the yachts via emergency broadcast that they were headed towards an exclusion zone set up for a live firing exercise at Lulworth Ranges.

"It looks like there was a slight error made by the French authorities," said a coastguard spokesperson, who confirmed that the yachts were diverted from their dangerous course after contacting the race director.

According to Practical Boat Owner, the yachts were competing in the Normandy Channel Race which began on Sunday 14 April and continues till this Friday evening.

The race route to and from Caen in northern France traverses a triangle across the Celtic Sea, past the most southwesterly tip of Cornwall, via Tuskar Rock and Fastnet Rock.

Published in Offshore

Having tacked down the southern seaboard of Ireland after rounding Tuskar Rock, all boats in the Normandy Channel Race have now rounded the Fastnet and are heading east on the homeward leg. The Normandy Channel Race is one of many that visit Irish waters without stopping, with the Mini Fastnet and others dipping into our territory to find a high-profile rock before fleeing again.

The 8 competitors  are making for the Scilly Isles, a string of rocks scattered about the South-West tip of England. To the great delight of these sailors, the fog, which has been tenaciously clinging onto them for the past three days, is gradually dissipating the further South the Class 40s sail. However, little else has changed and they’re still canted over against the wind as they make headway towards the English Channel and Normandy.

"Destination Dunkerque" skippered by Thomas Ruyant-Tanguy Leglatin is continuing what can only be described as a faultless race, admirably optimising their course. No pointless tacks for Tom and Tang then, who are just 300 miles from the finish this morning. Last night’s SE’ly breeze is likely to ease as day breaks and shift further round to the East. As such the ETAs don’t see the fleet crossing the line in Hermanville sur Mer before Sunday morning. In the wake of these solid leaders, the Dutch-Belgian duo Roelland Frannssens-Michel Kleinjans (Moonpalace) were still battling it out for second place with Halvard Mabire and Peter Harding yesterday. However, since then the two boats have split apart with a massive 20 mile lead going to “40 Degrees”. "Moonpalace” must now keep an eye on what’s going on around her and in particular the ‘miraculous’ performance by "Appart City" skippered by Yvon Noblet and David Taboré, which we can recall came close to dismasting two days ago and has since been sailing with a patched-up rig.
Night message from Halvard Mabire, co- skipper to Peter Harding in the Class 40 “40 Degrees”, currently second in the Normandy Channel Race:
"We can’t really say that we saw a lot of Ireland! The Fastnet? We barely saw the base of the rock when we went round it. We didn’t even see the base of the lighthouse. Nothing. You have to wonder a little about how, long ago, you could have managed to sail this course, almost constantly skimming past the rocks without ever seeing them. However the GPS doesn’t date back that long ago. It became fairly commonplace in the early nineties. In 91 we began to have them on the Figaro, which shook things up a bit. ‘Long ago’, which does seems a long time ago now (it has to be said that it was during the last century, in the period of black and white and silent films!), even before you knew where you were going, you already had to know where you were. Today we know perfectly well where we are, even if we can’t see a thing! When you think about it it’s funny to know exactly where you are on a map, or on a computer screen, whilst in fact you’re nowhere because you can’t see anything! Where does the reality end and the virtual begin? What’s staggering is the speed at which things become part of everyday life on a cultural level. Today nobody wonders about the very recent problems of positioning because we’re surrounded by GPS systems, which are constantly telling us not just where we are, but can also track anything or anyone. Anybody can position any object or any person on a map, without even knowing which way is North, or without having the slightest idea about basic orientation in relation to the sun. Once the great mystery of positioning is no longer there, it becomes more difficult to do something sensational. Everyone remembers Tabarly looming up out of the fog in Newport to take victory in the Transat in ‘76. Probably an element of the media success of this victory stemmed from the fact that it was unexpected and that it came out of the fog like a divine apparition.
Now you all know where we are and the ranking, which is constantly displayed, no longer allows you to fill pages with suppositions and forecasts. I’m under the impression that everyone wonders a bit about what they’re going to be able to talk about. That’s why they ask us if we have a ‘strategy’. At the risk of disappointing a lot of people, I can tell you that strategy, that’s to say deciding in advance what you’re going to do, is a load of hot air for boats like the Class40s. Solely the big multihulls vying for transoceanic records can really play with the weather, otherwise, as a general rule, it’s the weather that plays around with the boats. We find ourselves in a particular place at a particular time and there are not really any choices to be made. Or rather, if you can choose, it comes down to trying not to do something silly or avoiding doing something you mustn’t do on any account and that’s how you ‘give up’ up places to others. When you’re making virtually no headway at all, you can’t ‘traverse’ the race zone to hunt down a miracle. That’s why you notice that more and more the “fleet is right” (which is par for the course with the rising standards) and that ultimately the winner has rarely strayed far from the most direct course. The positioning of the race boats really comes down to a series of reactions in relation to an instantaneous situation, rather than a strategy decided in advance. All that to say, on 40 Degrees the strategy is not to have one and instead it’s all about adapting as best you can to the situations which present themselves."
Follow the race online with their tracker map.

 

Published in News Update

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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