A sizeable competitive line-up expected in Le Havre for Normandy Sailing Week 2011
The 2nd Le Havre-based edition (and the 6th running in total) of NORMANDY SAILING WEEK will gather together a sizeable competitive line-up from 11 to 13 June 2011 with 12 series invited to the event, compared with 8 in 2010.
2010 was a transition year with the arrival of the event on the Le Havre site being synonymous with free access to deep water at any time of day, a range of sizeable, dynamic clubs and a vast experience of organising watersports. These assets will now play a major role in continuing the development of the event and enabling it to exceed the threshold of 100 craft that was reached for the first time last year.
The schedule for the various classes has been drawn up for 2011 and the announcements sounded out in the autumn (see PR No.1) have now been confirmed.
Among the newcomers is the new steed for the Tour de France à la Voile, the M34, as well as the Longtze, Seascape 18 and Open 5.70 in the sportsboat category and a large class in the IRC category.
The Norman event has been retained as the first stage of the French Crewed Championships by the FFV (French Sailing Federation), two weeks prior to the start of the Tour de France à la Voile. As such the M34s will begin their first races in Normandy Sailing Week from 10 June, where fifteen or so projects are expected, representing the cream of French crewed sailing.
Cutting a fine, colourful figure on the water through its fine performance, the Longzte sportsboat from China is continuing to take Europe by storm and is returning to the event within the context of its new West Trophy circuit, which encompasses the major Atlantic events and Cowes Week. Two additional new series of sportsboats are also due to participate: the Seascape 18, a new craft from Slovenia with 100 boats already produced in Europe, and the Open 5.70, a craft which is already a familiar sight on a range of race zones. The growth of the event’s sportsboat category means that one of the three race zones will be dedicated solely to these very fashionable craft.
In the IRC category a new class has been opened to large craft measuring 45 to 50 feet (15/16m – TCC > than 1.060), to add to the 3 existing classes, which should play host to the large British craft, among others, which came to discover the event in 2010 (Swan 45, DK 46, Grand Soleil 43….). Amongst the 2011 objectives is the desire to attract local cruiser-racers from the Baie de Seine area (Deauville /Honfleur /Ouistreham /Courseulles /and Dieppe…) as well as an increasing number of British crews in all the IRC classes.
Of those series already present in 2010, several are set to be further boosted this year, such as the Laser SB3 sportsboats, with a sizeable fleet expected thanks to the development of the series in Upper Normandy and the proximity of the World Championships in the UK in May, which are likely to gather together 120 craft. The Class 6.5 (Mach 6.5 /K 650 /Open 6.50) is also filling out with around twenty craft expected on the circuit in 2011.
In J80 rallying together the Norman crews and creating a fleet of at least 20 to 25 craft will be just one of this year’s major aims. Nearly twenty boats are already based between Le Havre and Deauville, with around forty in Normandy and the North Sea. Finally, in the Beneteau 7.5 a further twenty or so crews are expected within the scope of the selection process for the French Espoirs Championship, which will again be held in Le Havre in August. The Open 7.50 and J109 are also likely to race in a one design series with a fair quota of entries (10 for the J109).
As such an ambitious programme awaits the crews in the marvellous setting of Le Havre, where the process for encouraging watersports is unfailing. Indeed the site has a packed schedule of events again in 2011: Voiles Etudiantes (Student sailing), French Espoirs Championships, Transat Jacques Vabre and the inauguration of the first section of a marina in the Bassin Vauban.
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