Class40 2011 - Progressive continuity

Start of La Route de Rhum, La Banque Postale 2010
A new president, a novel round the world race… the 2011 season has brought a few changes for Class40, but overall it is about continuity in terms of a full race calendar, stable but progressive rules, and an attractive circuit for competitors and sponsors alike. 'Friendly Class, Fierce racing': the essence of the Class hasn’t changed…

François Angoulvant was elected president of the Class40 Association on the 29th of January at the Annual General Meeting. Jacques Fournier, who had been head of the Class for 4 years, wanted to hand over the reins.

His successor, who has sat on the board of directors since 2006 and has been vice-president for the past two years, knows the ropes perfectly: he will ensure continuity, with a few changes all the same …

François Angoulvant, president of Class40: 'There is considerably less to build than when Jacques took over the presidency. In the past four years, membership has grown from 50 to 120 members and the budget has tripled!... Nevertheless, being president represents a highly motivating challenge, and I just hope that I have time to do everything that is needed …

We have set ourselves three key areas on which to focus:
o Continue developing the communications aspect to enhance the image of our boats and our competitors’ sponsors,
o Set up a race calendar that appeals to everyone,
o Constantly ensure that the class rules remain stable while taking into account potential evolutions for our boats: we are at a reasonable compromise today, but materials and technology are evolving, as is their cost… For example, a specific material which was forbidden on the basis of cost a few years ago may be authorised in the future if the price were to become competitive.
Overall, our main concern is to find the best balance between the different boats and the different ambitions of each member … '

The desire to make the class fair for all led to the formation of a committee at the Annual General Meeting, whose role is to come up with ways to enhance first generation boats (which made up half the Class40 fleet in the last edition of the Route du Rhum). The idea had already been floated in 2010. 'Outright victory isn’t the only thing that makes a boat', noted François Angoulvant.

The idea of a 'vintage' or 'Corinthian' classification was put to members, but the subject, which encompasses not just the performance of boats, but also what qualifies a team, and doesn’t split the fleet, needs further thought. More on this in the future…

Grand Prix, transatlantic, around the world
The 2011 season will kick off in the Mediterranean with the Roma per due and the SNIM in April. The Grand Prix Guyader will, as ever, open the season in the Atlantic Basin. In the USA, the season will open with the Atlantic Cup in New York in May.

The biennial 'Les Sables-Horta-Les Sables' race is the big summer rendez-vous for Class40. The event is both competitive and convivial, and has appealed to competitors since its inception. The Normandy Channel Race will again take place this year. Both of these events are qualifiers for the Global Ocean Race.

The 2011 calendar features two major end-of-season races: the Transat Jacques Vabre in November and the Global Ocean Race, a double-handed round the world race with stopovers, which starts in September.

'It is important that there are major events in the calendar, but we are also trying to develop shorter events in order to expand the racing opportunities, all year long, and in particular those races in which sponsors can compete on board. A number of competitors are also keen to see more solo events', the new president confirmed.

With 102 members in over 17 countries, Class40 has continued to grow stably over the last two years. The geographical spread, the aims, availability and budgets of these 102 skippers diverge at times, which is only natural… Finding the right balance is the eternal challenge for Class40, but the class was founded for that very reason: openness, accessibility, conviviality and boat performance were the foundations on which the class was built, and what makes it successful. These will also be the foundations of its future development.

Class40 Association website