Today we became the 4th entry in the Normandy Channel Race. This is a new 1000 mile double-handed race for Class 40 only. The race starts on the 16th of May from Caen following a few days of preparations and public events in the marina at Caen. Following the coast of Normandy for a while the fleet will then cross the Channel to round the Needles fairway buoy off the Isle of Wight. From there we head down to Land’s End, cross the Irish Sea to Tusker Rock and follow the Irish coast down to Fastnet Rock. From Fastnet Rock we head back to Les Sept Iles on the Breton coast before following the French coast back to the finish at Caen. The race organisers have arranged a very professional level of media participation with TV coverage and live reporting from the boats so it promises to be a very exciting race to follow. Check out the details at www.normandy-race.com. The fleet also boasts a very experienced fleet so should be a good challenge for us newcomers.
As our continuing preparation for the coming racing season we sailed from Hamble to Poole on Friday. Although we only sailed about 30 miles it was quite a cold and wet beat all the way and the weather started off very gusty. We beat out of the Solent under double reefed main and even put a reef in the staysail. Crossing Poole Bay the wind eased off a bit and we shook out the reef in the staysail before sailing into Poole in the rain.
On Saturday we completed an ISAF Offshore Safety Course with Poole Harbour Sea Survival. This course is now a requirement for most crews wanting to do offshore racing in Europe and most other parts of the world. The course was essentially a refresher covering everything from man overboard situations, to fire, flooding and damage control amongst other things.
On Sunday we sailed back from Poole to Hamble in a light southerly wind and continuous light rain. We flew the full main and gennaker all the way from Poole to Hurst Narrows but as we entered the Solent the wind switched to the northeast and died away to almost nothing, so we motorsailed the rest of the way to Hamble in darkness and rain.
We will post a video of the weekend’s sailing on this website tomorrow!