SUNDAY the 11th of September will see a record 30 Class 40 boats on the start line of the Normandy Channel Race.
This is a double-handed 1,000nm endurance sailing adventure starting and ending in Caen, France.
Connecting Normandy, the UK, and Ireland, crews will face considerable geographical, meteorological, and tidal challenges.
Strategy and tactics, as well as speed, will play an essential role in performance, with fierce competition between top sailors.
Phil Sharp of PSRacing and yacht, ‘Imerys’, comments: “The race is very technical and navigation is tricky as we are sailing around some of the most difficult tidal waters in the world. This means that speed alone will not win… I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Sharp is supported by Bruichladdich, the progressive Hebridean distillers from the island of Islay.
Yachts from France, Norway, Holland, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Italy and Spain are competing, and there are two British skippers: Sharp on ‘Imerys’ and Miranda Merron aboard ‘Campagne De France’.
Sharp has teamed up with experienced French offshore sailor and boat designer, Sam Manuard, for the race.
Manuard comments: “I expect conditions will be difficult, with lots of changes in the wind and currents. Competition is high and no one should be underestimated. We will be working hard and staying focussed – aiming to perform when it really matters.”
2016 was Phil Sharp’s first full year in the Class 40 Championship – completing two transatlantic races and gaining a podium position, despite a torn mainsail, in the Transat bakerly. Phil and Imerys are currently in third place overall.
The current record for the Normandy Channel Race is 5d 2h 50m 50s, which all crews will have their eyes firmly set on breaking.
The race starts at 17:00 local time offshore of Ouistreham outside of the Caen canal.
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