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Louvre Autumn Sailing Series Sees the Return of Blackjack

September will see the annual Louvre Autumn Sailing Series, organised by the Guernsey Yacht Club, return for its 12th year.

This year five classes of yachts and dinghies will take part in the handicapped race challenge, accruing points over several weekends throughout September and October. The series will culminate in all classes racing together on 5th November followed by a prize-giving event.

Last year competitors enjoyed favourable weather conditions, which will hopefully be seen again this autumn. Long-term sponsorship from Louvre Group has made this series possible for over a decade and organisers hope it will be as popular with sailors as ever.

‘We hope that we are blessed with the weather again this year, as it looks set to be an exciting series with many of the vessels taking part having already had great seasons,’ says Simon Hughes, member of the Guernsey Yacht Club Sailing Committee.

The IRC class will see Kaya (Roger Martel) and Fandangle (Martin Priest), both of which have had new sails this season, be hard pushed during the races by consistent performer White Rabbit. Most notably, this year sees the long-awaited return of Blackjack following its hiatus for mast replacement.

This season has seen Dark Horse (Dino Castro), Glory Days (Aslett/Knowles) and Cavello (Ali Bisson), all of whom fall into the cruisers class, tussle it out for top position in other races; a battle that is set to continue in this series.

Windsurfing is back for its third year, with the added thrill of some family competition as long-time stalwart of the class, Simon Lovell, takes on his son Seb as well as other younger sailors including Tim Laine.

Although the fast dinghies category is usually dominated by one of the largest catamarans, Adam Knight and Nico Ozanne in The Contractor look set to be strong contenders, as they are able to compete across a range of conditions.

Stephen Payne in his RS Aero is definitely the one to watch in the slow dinghy race, although Martin Boyd’s consistent performance should not be underestimated.

‘The ongoing generosity of our sponsors has assisted us most noticeably to replace the 40-year-old committee boat with a new craft that improves our ability to run committee boat starts. As well as maintaining vital racing assets such as rescue boats, buoys and the start facilities in the castle,’ adds Mr Hughes.

Sunday 10th September will see competitors set off from Castle Cornet at 10:00am, embarking on the first course of the series, which will be laid out in the Little Russell. There is still time to enter the series and Mr Hughes urges anyone interested in competing to get in touch with the Guernsey Yacht Club via its website.

Haidée Stephens, Director of Louvre Group, comments: ‘Watersports continue to become ever more popular in the island, demonstrated by windsurfing now being a regular feature in the Autumn Sailing Series. It is great for us to see our sponsorship in action every year and we enjoy being part of the sailing community. We wish all the competitors luck and will keep our fingers crossed for great weather.’

The Louvre Autumn Sailing Series schedule can be found: gyc.org.gg