SB20 racing at Normandy Sailing Week
After much hard work by local sailor Ed Russo, a new SB3 fleet has been developed in Normandy and this year secured a class start at the very popular Normandy Sailing Week in early June. After 4 years at Deauville the event moved to Le Havre and over 100 boats took part on 3 race areas.
With a separate start and first away every day the SB3 fleet shared a race course with the sportsboats, Open 6.5 class and the Beneteau 7.5, the FFV endorsed boat for club use around France, and on one day the J80 fleet. From a visitor’s point of view it was interesting, and reassuring, to compare the performance of the smaller SB3 against the other classes.
The logistics suggested leaving the UK on the Thursday overnight ferry and returning to the UK by 2100hrs on Sunday evening, travelling by LD Lines ferry, one of the event sponsors. With the promise of up to 12 races over 3 days, only one day off work, French hospitality and a forecast of sunshine the ‘Baloo et Zhik’ team found it impossible to refuse the invitation, but the unfortunate clash with Seaview meant they were the only visitors. That did have the advantage that we were superbly hosted by Ed and his fledgling Normandy SB3 fleet, by Manfred and the team at Sirius Evenements, and the yacht club staff.
Over the 3 days we raced on each of the three race areas, with some very interesting tidal effects, in a variety of conditions from ‘waiting for wind’ to 20 plus knots, and our Race Officer managed to slot in 10 races despite wanting to finish early enough to allow ‘the visitor’ to de-rig and catch the ferry home! We were even given priority on the crane over the Farr 30 class, assisted in no small way by our shore manager!!
This new and developing fleet in Normandy has a lot of potential to develop and grow, with the young sailors of the ‘local league’ showing excellent performance progression over the weekend, first time in the boat. I would urge anyone, given the opportunity to go and support them at events. Add the normal French event hospitality, moules et vin and why would you not support them. Early discussions are taking place for an event out there early in 2011, maybe a two weekend event, one Normandy one UK, maybe including Normandy Sailing Week, so watch this space.
Once again, Ed, Manfred and everyone else, thank you for a wonderful weekend.