After the outstanding success of the 2009 event which was universally enjoyed, especially by the large travelling contingent of British sailors, a return to Crozan Morgat for the Ecole Navale organised Laser SB3 Eurocup is already attracting a strong entry, including more boats from mainland Europe.
As much as the quality of the competition on the waters of the north side of the famous Bay of Douarnenez, it was the superb organisation, the beautiful surroundings and the warmth of the welcome which has inspired the fast growing SB3 class to return consistently to the area.
Since last year, when South Africa’s Roger Hudson and UK SB3 Class Chairman Jerry Hill and their respective crews duelled for the overall honours in a 27 boat fleet, the class has continued to grow in France as well as other European countries. More recently the strength of the Euro as well as the geographic availability of good boats in the UK has seen fleets multiply, especially in the north of France. Already 27 entries have been received from 6 countries among them South Africa, Holland, Belgium, France and Germany – with an expectation of between 35 and 40 boats racing in the class over this week end.
The popularity of the Crozan Morgat event is almost unrivalled among the British based SB3 teams, building over the three years that the event has been on the SB3 EuroCup circuit, 2003, 2004 and 2009. The Bank Holiday weekend exodus to France for four days of racing has become a regatta not to be missed. Competitors pay tribute to the high level of organisation which ensure good racing on the water, but also there is free dormitory accommodation on a first come first served basis, and a great shoreside social scene which not surprisingly majors on the excellent local restaurants, food and wine.
Last year’s winners have already entered. Roger and David Hudson, the South African father and son pairing who finished second and third at last year’s SB3 World Championships in Cascais, Portugal, are coming back with their City of Cape Town boat.
Hill is most likely to form a potent team with Mark Richards on Rigging Gurus.
The event is a key part of the massive annual Grand Prix Ecole Navale (GPEN) that starts the week before (May 13th – 16th) and includes racing for around 140 different boats in seven different classes from Open 5.7m sportsboats to offshore one designs the Beneteau Figaro 2’s, Class 40’s including a large fleet of J80’s. Amongst the sportsboat classes many top French offshore racers take part to keep themselves race sharp including Mini/Figarist Erwan Tabarly who won the Longzte class and, individually, Marc Guillemot and Charles Caudrelier who together won November’s Transat Jacques Vabre transatlantic race from Le Havre, France to Costa Rica. Guillemot finished third in the Open 7.50 class last year and Caudrelier finished third in the 41 boat J80 class.
From Jerry Hill, UK Class Chairman, “2010 will be the fourth year that the Laser SB3 fleet have chosen to come to the Ecole Navale Championship for our Eurocup event. While this was initially an enthusiastic band of UK sailors, now there are many other nationalities who travel to this beautiful part of France to sail. We come for many reasons, but we enjoy sailing in Brittany, we enjoy the food and the wine, the organisation is first class and the organisers are always happy to help and assist the sailors. If I had to choose just one event to sail in each year, this event would be top of my list.”
Alain Daoulas, Grand Prix Ecole Navale Chief Commissaire, “The Grand Prix Ecole Navale, which was launched in 2002 has been built since the beginning around sportsboats, one design and technology. And so it is natural that in 2003 we proposed to the Laser SB3 class that they join the event. After last year we reviewed all aspects of the events with the competitors of the Eurocup so we could integrate the sport and logistics solutions that answer the specific needs of this class. The competitors are racing in a specific area, in the beautiful Bay of Douarnenez and we have also developed hospitality for the crews and also for their families.”
From Roger Hudson (2009 Eurocup Winner, South Africa), “Of the many fantastic sailing events that Team RaceAhead has competed in over the past few years, including Cork Week, Cowes Week and various National and World Championships, the Ecole Navale Championship in Brest, France has without doubt most exceeded our expectations. Beyond the high quality of racing and excellent conditions, the event’s fine organisation and the unique social programme create a rare sense of camaraderie that defines great sailing events. This event offers precisely the sort of racing experience and invaluable exposure to the wider world that the RaceAhead project aims to provide for young African sailors.”
GPEN LASER SB3 EUROCUP LOCATION:
Sailing will take place in Crozon Morgat, Bay of Douarnenez (Brittany, France).