Locally based sailors have proved themselves in the annual Normandy Channel sailing race which is fast becoming one of the most exciting and intense Class 40 races in the yachting calendar with a reputation for being technically challenging.
Nicolas Jossier from Granville and Alexandre Toulorge from Cherbourg came second in the yacht Made in Normandie. While Halvard Mabrire from Barneville-Carteret came third in Campagne de France skippered by Briton Miranda Merron. Frenchman Pierre Brasseur, from Picardy, was first along with German Jorg Richers aboard Mare.
The finishers arrived in quick succession into Ouistreham, testament to the growing uniformity of the Class 40 line up.Â â€˜Weâ€™re happy with our performance in this Normandy Channel Race, which was a first for us. Weâ€™ve got the measure of the Class 40. Over a short course like this, we spend a great deal of time making sail changes so itâ€™s incredibly physical,â€™ said Toulorge.
The race was particularly hard this year because of high winds and driving rain and the course was altered for safety reasons. Made in Normandie led for the first two days but inexperience in this class meant she was overtaken by Mare.
â€˜It was hard, very hard. We tried to keep on their tail (Brasseur and Richers) but we couldnâ€™t follow their rhythm. On the first two days we attacked and attacked, but we became exhausted and Mare had more speed,â€™ explained Jossier after the race.
Mare crossed the finishing line in a time of three days, seven hours, 57 minutes and 30 seconds at an average speed of 8.08 knots, the quickest since the race began three years ago. It was 56 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of Made in Normandie.
Jossier, 36, and Toulorge, 34, are familiar faces in the Tour de France Ã la Voile and the Solitaire du Figaro but this was the first time that they had raced together and also their first time competing in the Normandy Channel Race and in a Class 40 race.
Jossier now wants to take part in the Route de Rhum next year, a single handed transatlantic race from St Malo to Guadeloupe which is held every four years.
Mabrire, 57, completed his first solo transatlantic race at the age of 20 on a boat he built himself. He has competed in five Whitbread Round the World Races and 20 transatlantic races, winning the Quebec â€“ St Malo twice.
Since 2010, the Normandy Channel Race has been followed by an increasing number of sailing enthusiasts. The next race scheduled for May and in the meantime the Class 40 will participate in the Transat Jacques Vabre, which will set off from Le Havre on 03 November, bound for Brazil