Saturday, May 31, 2014

GPEN France Preview

J/22 Europeans & J/80 Coupe de France III
(Cameret-sur-Mer, Brittany, France)- Grand Prix L’Ecole Navale (GPEN) returns for another magnificent Edition XII, during the Ascension weekend, from Thursday May 29th to Sunday June 1st 2014.  The primary host,  l’École Navale (French Naval Academy) are conducting the races on three sites- the bay of Crozon-Morgat, the bay of Camaret and le port du Château in Brest (Brest marina). The J/22s are hosting their European Championship and the J/80s are out in full force for the third stop of their Coupe de France season long championship. Ready to compete on three exceptional sites and coming from a dozen countries of the European Union are more than 600 crew.

J/80 one-design sailboats off starting lineThe nearly sixty boat J/80 class, the largest at GPEN by far, have many familiar faces sailing in this fabulous racing venue on the west coast of France.  As one might expect, with a World Championship taking place in Annapolis, MD in October a number of these teams are gearing up for the event.  Top of the class must be Eric Brezellec’s team on COURRIER JUNIOR, hoping to repeat their excellent showing last year in Marseilles.  Challenging them will be Herve Leduc on PIERRE OCEANE, Simon Moriceau on INTERFACE CONCEPT, Salomon Matthieu on CHARIOT PLUS- VANNES UTILITAIRES, Luc Nadal on GANJA, and four women’s teams- Maxime Mesil on CO PILOTES- NORMANDY ELITE TEAM, Sophie Riot on LE HAVRE LADIES NORMANDIE, Alice Metais on CHARLY, and Maxime Rousseaux on CN ST CAST GRAND OUEST ETIQUETTES.  Of note, the British Royal Navy has also been invited and are sailing CRUNCH GNR1 & CRUNCH GBR 2 against their friends on the French Navy boats.

In the J/22 Europeans, there is a mix of French (14), German (3) and Netherlands (3) participating in the twenty boat class, a great turnout for J/22s on the continent!  Amongst the notable French teams are Bernard Andre on MAJIC, Patrick Huet on EUROPEAN HOMES, Ludovic Senechal on LULU LA NANTAISE and Charles Michaux on JAZZY.  Taking up the challenge in their home waters are top German teams like Bernhard Kleinefeld’s CAMPAGNOLO, Thomas Loesch’s JOULOU 3 and Christian Rieckborn’s JOLLY JUMPER.  Netherlands teams hoping to make a trip to the podium include Michiel Eijsink’s RANGER, Jelle Nijhuis’s HISTOS JR and Peter van Doornmalen’s GAP.  With such an excellent cross-section of continental European J/22 teams, it will be interesting to see which teams have benefitted from their spring training sessions and which ones are still in “catch-up” mode.  For more Grand Prix L’Ecole Navale (GPEN) sailing information