September 11 2016
The sun, which has generously bathed the city throughout this past week, is due to accompany the crews along the 14km canal, which links the city of William the Conqueror and Ouistreham.
With the fleet scheduled to set sail from the mouth of the River Orne at 15:00pm in the gentlest of contexts, the north-easterly thermal breeze unlikely to exceed 8-10 knots initially, before later filling in as it shifts round to the south-east as night falls. The competitors will round a spectacle mark positioned to the East, before heading towards the Saint Marcouf islands, which must be left to starboard. In this way, the first, and rightly feared part of the race across the Channel towards the Solent, is likely to be very pleasant, in downwind conditions on perfectly manageable seas.
The racers briefing this morning saw the pressure rise a notch among crews anxious to get the very latest instructions and weather observations, on this the eve of one of the class’ most exciting confrontations.
The women in the race…
Another special feature of the Normandy Channel Race, the 7th of the name which boasts a high number of entries representing some 9 nationalities, is the presence of four women at the start; Isabelle Joschke (Generali – Horizon Mixité), Miranda Merron (GB) (Campagne de France), Claire Pruvost (Carac) and Catherine Pourre (Eärendil).
It’s certainly a modest number, but it is equivalent to that of the last Route du Rhum, which was considered very encouraging at the time due to the mixing of the sexes, a mission so cherished by Isabelle Joschke (Generali - Horizon Mixité) in offshore racing.