The J80s are still present in large numbers at the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale. Photo: P.Contin.
From May 26 to 28, the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale will take place on the Crozon peninsula and the port of Brest. After two years disrupted by the health crisis, the Grand Prix is preparing to welcome several hundred sailors to the most beautiful locations on the tip of Brittany. The Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale is a must for crewed sailing, but individual series are also organised, such as the Wingfoil, the Windurfer or, for the first time, flying dinghies.
For over 20 years, the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale has established itself as the premier single-design event. The crews are on identical boats and only the quality of the sailors makes the difference. This strict rule guarantees perfect sporting fairness and promotes the team spirit, dear to the navy. “The heart of the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale is the manned one-design. This is the idea developed by the organizers in the beginning. The Navy made sure that the values of equal opportunity and crew spirit were in place. These are very important values that still have their full meaning today”, emphasizes Admiral (2S) Philippe Coindreau, President of the Association Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale.
The nerve center of the event, the École Navale, welcomes both the J80s and J70s, the Diam 24od and the Waszp taking part in the Grand Prix. In Brest the handicapped and handicapped fleets as well as the Wingfoils are expected. The other series will be spread over the Crozon peninsula between the ports of Roscanvel and Crozon-Morgat. The Grand Prix, always organized together with the FFVoile, is an opportunity to award several French championship titles – in particular in J80 and Open 5.70 – to the fleets where the competition is strongest. The other series to which a title relates are the Diam 24od, Muscadet, the First 24 Seascape, the Corsaire and the First 18 Seascape, provided they each bring together at least 15 participants. Bernard Bocquet, administrator of the FFVoile, remembers “the close ties that exist between the Navy and the Federation” as the Grand Prix is one of the most important events of the federal season. Its organization is made possible thanks to the mobilization of local clubs: the Nautical Center of Crozon Morgat, Brest Bretagne Nautisme and the Nautical Center of Roscanvel
The Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale has always been open to new practices. “We don’t want the GPEN to remain static, but on the contrary, we want to anticipate developments in sailing and introduce a new class every year,” explains Philippe Coindreau. Last year a Special Gliss Grand Prix was organized for Windsurfers and Wingfoils, two disciplines that are becoming increasingly visible on the waterways. This year the Waszp is making its debut, a small flying sloop. “It is a growing class, especially among young people. We also find innovation and youth there. It is a good bet for 2022 and for the years to come,” continues the chairman of AGPEN.
Registration for the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale is still possible. The organization even offers a discount of 40 euros for those who register before May 4.
Admiral (2S) Philippe Coindreau, President of AGPEN:
“The 2022 edition of the GPEN is eagerly anticipated as all the conditions are in place to be able to contest this Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale in a regular format. The heart of the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale is the manned one-design. This is the idea developed by the organizers in the beginning. The Navy made sure that the values of equal opportunity and crew spirit were in place. These are very important values that still have their full meaning today.
I often participated as a participant and tried to be as faithful as possible. What I liked as a sailor and participant is that we were always very well received there, that it was very pleasant and that the organization was impeccable. The crews ate and had breakfast together and you won’t find that anywhere else. Even if we can no longer accommodate competitors today, we have kept an organization that still makes this conviviality and these moments of sharing possible. What I’ve also always liked is the multi-site side of the event. I have been able to sail on the waterways of the Ecole Navale, Camaret and Crozon-Morgat. This allows each class to discover different and beautiful waters.
Last year we didn’t want to make another white year. We wanted to keep a dynamic for the organizers and also for the participants so that the Grand Prix is not forgotten. Given the health restrictions, we have therefore maintained the solo events, ie in Wingfoil and Windsurfer. These two events will be maintained this year. We don’t want the GPEN to remain static, but on the contrary, we want to anticipate developments in sailing and introduce a new class every year. New this year is the Waszp. It is a foiling machine with only one person on board. It is a growing class, especially among young people. We also find innovation and youth there. It’s a good bet for 2022 and for years to come. †
Bernard Bocquet, FFVoile administrator:
“This Grand Prix is important for several reasons. Firstly because we award different titles of champions of France but also because it takes place on several sites. The Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale is a good illustration of the close ties that exist between the French Navy and the FFVoile. The organization is based on the Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale association, chaired by Admiral (2S) Philippe Coindreau and a highly skilled team led by Vice Admiral (2S) Bruno Deméocq. On the water, Alain Daoulas plays an essential role as a nautical purser. The relationship with the members of the association is very fluid, it facilitates our exchanges.
The Grand Prix is based on an organization led by the FFVoile and the GPEN Association and also on a good integration of the decentralized forces of the FFVoile, ie the competition of Brittany and the CDV 29 which are very involved. It is also an opportunity to establish links between the clubs of Brest (BBN) and the Crozon Peninsula (CN Crozon – Morgat and CN Roscanvel). †