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Class 40

Sébastien Rogues & Bertrand Castelnerac winner of a classic Normandy Channel Race

"This year, it was extremely interesting to watch the others in what was a fantastic battle !"

samedi 31 mai 2014Redaction SSS [Source RP]

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The Class40 GDF SUEZ and its duo of talented skippers secured victory this Saturday 31 May in the fifth and now legendary Normandy Channel Race ! GROUPEMENT FLO and L’EXPRESS – TREPIA complete the podium and this particular top-flight edition is sure to remain etched on the memories of all 32 of the participating sailors.

Sébastien Rogues and Bertrand Castelnerac, on GDF SUEZ, made landfall in Normandy in 10 knots of breeze, powering along under spinnaker to cross the finish line at 0728 GMT this Saturday morning after covering 974 miles at an average speed of 6.98 knots, which equates to a race time of 5 days, 19 hours, 28 minutes and 30 seconds.

For this extraordinary pairing, the toughest parts of the race were when the fleet bunched up again :

“These are the most tiring moments, where the tension is at its peak. GROUPEMENT FLO is certainly well placed to relate to that. Our strength is doubtless the fact that we never took any overly daring options and we stayed centred, which enabled us to remain lucid and rested. The goal was to get all the way to the finish without going into the red. We suspected that the final combat would be played out at the finish so we did everything we could to stay in shape until then,” Sébastien Rogues explained on the dock on his arrival.

A little over 20 minutes later, GROUPEMENT FLO, skippered by the business manager-come-sailor from Lower Normandy, Brieuc Maisonneuve and Breton Rémi Aubrun, crossed the finish line at 0751 GMT

 : “We could have done better… We made a few silly mistakes after Tuskar, but coming second was well beyond our expectations, as originally we’d just hoped to finish in the top half of the fleet ! We were leading for a fair old way and that couldn’t make us more proud or happier !”

In fact, GROUPEMENT FLO surprised a great many people in this highly competitive line-up. Describing themselves as ‘non-professional sailors’, they have really shown the ‘big boys’ what they’re made of. Their daring options, which they followed through on to the east between Land’s End and Tuskar Rock and then again to the south of Guernsey, paid big bucks. Indeed the red and white boat even boasted a 20-mile lead over second place on the descent from the mark to the south-east of Ireland. An excellent performance for this Class40 sponsored by GROUPEMENT FLO :

“a logistical transport business fabric which, some 20 years ago, pooled its resources to provide a number of different services. Being the supplier to some of these, it’s a partner I have great trust in as far as my professional life and my life as a sailor is concerned,” explains Brieuc.

An hour after the arrival of GDF SUEZ, it was the turn of L’EXPRESS – TREPIA, skippered by Pierre-Yves Lautrou and Thomas Ruyant, to cross the finish line and secure the third and final place on the podium at 0849 GMT this morning.

“The boat is only a month old so it’s a great first run for her, despite a few majors for us like having the aft ballast tank full, which wasn’t planned ! We didn’t even notice until fairly late in the day… It’s clear that the Class40 really is in the peak of health, when you see the fact that the top 10 boats aren’t all from the latest generation, it’s incredible ! We knew it was a race, which took a lot out of you but boy… You get some idea from the ranking alone, which saw us yo-yoing up and down throughout the race. What really made a difference was the nav’ by Toto (Thomas Ruyant) at Guernsey and Raz Blanchard. That’s where we overtook TEAM WORK and were able to extend away from them. Thomas is a very talented Mini and Figaro sailor. All you have to do is keep him fed and he never stops ! Managing yourself over the end of the course is very important and we succeeded in handling that side of things. In any case, it was an absolute thrill to see all the comebacks and the twists and turns. Incredible. Groupement Flo was extraordinary. We have massive respect for the pair of them.”

There has been a succession of finishes throughout the day for the top 10 Class40s. ERDF – Des pieds et Des mains (Damien Seguin and Jeanne Grégoire) finished 4th after a superbly close-fought battle with TEAM WORK (Bertrand Delesne and David Raison). CAMPAGNE DE FRANCE, skippered by the Franco-British pairing (Miranda Merron and Halvard Mabire), just snatched 6th place ahead of TEAM PICOTY – Lac de Vassivière (Jean-Christophe Caso and Aymeric Chappellier). SERENIS CONSULTING (Jean Galfione and Roland Jourdain) brought its epic race to a close in 5 days and 22 hours in 8th position ahead of LE CONSERVATEUR (Yannick Bestaven and Pierre Brasseur), which crossed the finish line at 1044 GMT. Finally ADVANCED ENERGIES – Carac skippered by Louis Duc and Damien Rousseau completed the arrivals in this first pack at 1326 GMT, securing 10th place in the overall ranking, which they were chuffed about ! 6 Class40s are still racing across the Baie de Seine and are set to finish later today and over the course of the night.

With its incessant leader changes and its highly intense battles, the Normandy Channel Race 2014 will definitely go down in history ! Winner, Sébastien Rogues, echoes this sentiment : “It’s one of my finest races ! I may not have a big track record yet, but I can’t recall having experienced such intensity for so long before !” Roland Jourdain goes further : “It’s a fabulous race ! We’ve had exceptional weather to keep us amused throughout the course !” Louis Duc (ADVANCED ENERGIES – Carac) can’t stop singing its praises either. “This edition was absolutely legendary ! Tough, tricky, more than intriguing on a strategic level, it has unequivocally entered the closed circle of legendary offshore races ! Damien and I have had a blinder of a week and it’s something I’ll remember for a long time to come !”


Voir en ligne : Info presse www.normandy-race.com


Classement :

  1. GFD SUEZ (Rogues/ Catselnerac) - ARRIVÉ
  2. GROUPEMENT FLO (Maisonneuve/ Aubrun) - ARRIVÉ
  3. L’EXPRESS – TREPIA (Lautrou/ Ruyant) - ARRIVÉ
  4. ERDF – Des pieds et Des mains (Seguin/ Gérgoire) - ARRIVÉ
  5. TEAM WORK (Delesne/ Raison) - ARRIVÉ


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