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Normandy Channel Race - Six retirements in 24 hours

The Normandy Channel Race fleet have just endured a very taxing 24 hours with six retirements.

The beat into a strong northerly breeze dead upwind of the Class40s as they made their way up to Tuskar Rock, has been rendered even more hellish by a particularly heavy and messy sea.

Miranda Merron on Campagne de France explained:

“The sea between Land’s End and the Scillies is shallow, therefore the sea state becomes awful when it's windy. We have spent the whole day slamming into boat-breaking waves.”

Quite naturally, the accumulation of the impact from the brutal sea state has caused a vast amount of damage of varying degrees among the fleet.

Six have been forced to throw in the towel and had to turn back.

In addition to the earlier retirements by Catherine Pourre (Earendil), Brieuc Maisonneuve (Delicecook) and Axar (Patrick Losq).

There was damage and subsequent retirement by Solo 2 (Rune Aasberg), Teranga (Emmanuel Hamez) and early this morning, Robin Marais (Grizzly Barber shop).

The race leaders: Imerys (Phil Sharp - Sam Manuard), Solidaires En Peloton - ARSEP (Thibaut Vauchel-Camus - Fred Duthil) and Tales II (Pablo Santurde - Fidel Turienzo) treated themselves to a drag race below the Irish coast, reaching in the northerly breeze.

The Anglo-French duo of Sharp - Manuard has made its lead work for it, increasing its 3-mile bonus at Tuskar to a lead of over 6 miles this morning at Fastnet.

The ultra-quick Spanish boat Talés II has also faired well and has moved up into second place, unseating the Vauchel-Duthil duo and rounding Fastnet this morning with a 1.5-mile lead over them.

The drop down to the south-west tip of England promises to be just as boisterous, albeit coloured by downwind conditions this time around.

The three main driving forces heading this race haven’t done with the drag race yet then and their acceleration has seen them stretch inexorably away from their pursuers.

V and B is now 25 miles astern and Sensation Class40 (Lepesqueux-Pellecuer), which has also sailed a blinder, is 54 miles off the pace.

Leading Positions at 09:00 hrs Tuesday

1st IMERYS 368.5 Distance to finish - 14.3 Knots
2nd TALES II 374.5 Distance to finish - 15.5 Knots
3rd SOLIDAIRES EN PELOTON ARSEP 384.5 Distance to finish - 10.8 Knots
4th V and B 400.1 Distance to finish - 8.2 Knots
5th SENSATION CLASS 40 422.1 Distance to finish - 12.8 Knots
6th SERENIS CONSULTING 480.3 Distance to finish - 11.1 Knots
7th GENERALI HORIZON MIXITE 487.6 Distance to finish - 15.6 Knots
8th CAMPAGNE DE France 491.4 Distance to finish - 13.2 Knots
9th MOON PALACE 510.3 Distance to finish - 14.7 Knots
10th COLOMBRE XL 512.5 Distance to finish - 13.5 Knots