The excitement surrounding Class40 racing has never been higher – and 2021 is gearing up for another year of significant growth for the international class.
Even with evolution and improvement being stalled last year, there were a few glimmers of positivity, such as a booming second hand market resulting in the change of ownership of 25 Class40s and more than 15 new construction projects receiving the green light.
And with racing now fully back on the agenda, 2021 looks like a year for the class to prosper once more. The interest ramps up by the day, with race calendars, entry numbers and the amount of new faces taking part in great shape.
The buzz for the Normandy Channel Race in less than a fortnight’s time is just one example of things to come. So here, we take a closer look at some of the impressive numbers behind what is now shaping up to be a memorable season for Class40 racing.
Thirty Class40s will meet in Caen for the CIC Normandy Channel Race later this month, provisionally setting a new participation record for this amazingly tactical event.
Almost as many boats will compete double-handed in the two-legged Atlantic Sprint, The Les Sables - Horta race across June and July.
Thirty-seven Class40's are due to enter the legendary RORC Rolex Fastnet Race in August as it races a new course for the first time since in the event’s history.
November's Transat Jacques Vabre Normandy Le Havre marks the conclusion of the 2021 Class40 Championship, with a massive line-up of more than 50 boats having entered – more than double the previous record.
A box rule class full of options with more than 20 designers having now penned Class40 designs – from hull #1, a Pierre Rolland design, to #166, a Marc Lombard plan.
The top speed recorded (knots) by Ian Lipinski’s Credit Mutuel while training in the Atlantic this year.
Looking ahead to 2022, up to 70 Class40s have already expressed their interest for October's unmissable Route du Rhum, the most famous transatlantic.
"It’s clear that Class40 is the offshore racing class in the ascendancy and the numbers above are a testament to the work surrounding the careful management of the Class40 brand.
“It’s a class that is open to amateurs and professionals alike and one that allows you to dream of taking to the seas and competing against the world’s best in some legendary races. With short-handed sailing continuing to dominate the sport more generally, we’re excited to provide competitors with a global race in what we so obviously consider to be the best pound-for-pound racing class ever conceived. With an upper limit of 35 entries competing in The Race Around, it’s going to be one hell of a show!”
Hugh Piggin, Event Director, The Race Around
Header: James Tomlinson Photography
Body Images: Thomas Deregnieaux