2010 will see the launch of a major new offshore yacht racing event off the coast of France, setting out from and returning to the port of Caen (Ouistreham) in Lower Normandy.
The first edition of the Normandy Challenge, a 1,000 mile double-handed Class 40 race, is scheduled from 13th to 23rd May 2010.
The race start is on Sunday 16th May.
The course will take the skippers around the coasts of Normandy, South West England, Southern Eire and Northern Brittany, a route with echoes of the famous Fastnet race.
Class 40 is one of the fastest growing offshore racing classes and already boasts nearly 100 craft. Devised to enable amateur skippers to gain access to offshore racing, it is now attracting an increasing number of professional skippers.
At 40ft (12.2m) the Class 40 monohulls are smaller than the massive 60 footers of the Vendée Globe. The series is building up its race programme and the transatlantic “Solidaire du Chocolat” launched in 2009 was extremely successful, as was the 2009 ISAF Class Worlds featuring 40s on the Solent. The Normandy Challenge race will draw crews from Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany.
The Normandy Challenge course will be raced half in coastal zones and half offshore in the English Channel (Manche) and Irish Sea, taking in the Isle of Wight, Tuskar Rock, Fastnet Rock, Raz Blanchard and the Pointe de Barfleur.
The Main Checkpoints of the Normandy Challenge Course
- Start line off Ouistreham
- Îles Saint-Marcouf (Manche, Lower Normandy)
- Bell Fairway mark (UK / West of the Isle of Wight)
- Tuskar Rock (Ireland)
- Fastnet Rock (Ireland)
- Les Sept Îles (Côtes d’Armor, Brittany)
- Finish line off Ouistreham
The race fleet will be based in the Bassin Saint-Pierre in Caen, with a marquee village along the quay from Wednesday 12th to Sunday 16th May. The event includes a programme of entertainment, a seaborne prologue on Saturday 15th May, an official soirée that same day, a procession along the Canal de Caen to the sea prior to the start on Sunday 16th May, and final prize-giving in Caen on Sunday 23rd May.
A website will follow the progress of the fleet using satellite positioning of the boats and daily radio link-ups will be organised with the skippers.
Visitors to Normandy for the race can extend their visit and explore the beautiful Normandy countryside while staying at La Basse Cour, a luxury guest house in Lower Normandy.
La Basse Cour is rated #1 out of more than 170 bed and breakfasts on Trip Advisor in this part of France.