Thursday, June 20, 2013

MATCH THE WORLD Dominates J/80s In Normandy

J/80 one-design sailboats at Normandy Sailing Week, France(Le Havre, France)- Sailing on the northern coastline of France can be an experience many never forget, especially with famously powerful Lows rolling in off the chilly North Sea and slamming the western European coastline with gale force winds and massive 10-15 foot waves smashing into the beaches.  Toss in 20 ft plus tidal range and massive amounts of current across the race courses and the conditions can truly be described as challenging.  This year's Normandy Sailing Week participants had the best of all worlds, sunny skies for most of the event with NE winds in the 15-25 kts range with enormous seas topped by breaking white caps every single day.

The thirty J/80s sailing in the fourth part of their J/80 French Cup Series saw the two leaders run away with the series.  With many of the top teams practicing for the J/80 Worlds in Marseilles, France in July, this event was going to be a good test for how well the various team's preparations were going.  There was no question the J/80s loved the fast and furious pace of the sailing with prolonged surfs and planes in the big breeze.  The conditions also may have had an impact on the outcome of the top five as many of the familiar faces on the French J/80 circuit were eclipsed by some newcomers-- some very experienced "newbies" at that!  Winning the event with a clear demonstration of speed, boat-handling and smart sailing was Romain Bethune sailing MATCH THE WORLD. Starting out by winning the first four races in a row, they never relinquished their lead after the first day of racing.  MATCH THE WORLD's record of 1-1-1-1-3-4-2-1 for 14 pts net was good enough to take the gold and win by five points.  Second overall was a "new girl on the block", Maxime Mesnil sailing MANCHE BASSE NORMANDIE to a very strong 3-2-2-2-1-1-5-3 scoreline for 19 pts net!  Third was yet another class newcomer, Alexis Henri sailing VADK ONE, coming on strong in the end to beat out current European J/80 Champion Eric Brezellec skippering INTERFACE CONCEPT on a tie-breaker at 36 pts apiece!  Fifth was Frederic Hauville from the French Naval Academy, sailing ECOLE NAVALE CG29 to a solid series with most finishes in the five!

Normandy Week is sailed at the end of the Seine River near Le Havre, so current is a very important factor in local tactics. Early on, current maps and information were gathered to be well prepared. Even some famous Belgian Laser sailors with local knowledge got us some extra info. For more J/111 Europeans and J/80 Normandy Sailing Week information