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10th September 2010

Byrne Takes the Lead in Kinsale

National Champion Martin Byrne of Dun Laoghaire continues his winning form in the first two races of the Irish Dragon South Coast Championship in Kinsale today. Results are: 1.IRL201 Jaguar Martin Byrne RStGYC 1 1;  2.IRL192 Chimaera Andrew Craig RStGYC 2 2 and 3.IRL211 Little Fella Cameron Good KYC 3 3

 

Published in Dragon
The Kinsale RNLI Lifeboat was launched at 5.15 pm on Sunday afternoon to go to the aid of a 17ft Mastercraft, with two passengers on board, which had lost power and was anchored one mile east off the Old Head of Kinsale.
Sunday was one of the busiest sailing days of the summer, with very crowded seas. The distressed craft did not have a radio on board. Their only means of contact with shore was a weak mobile phone signal. Thankfully conditions were flat and visibility good, so helmsman Temba Jere and crew members Mark Lewis and Ian Fitzgerald were able to locate the boat and tow it back to the safety of Kinsale Harbour within 40 minutes.
The RNLI offers a free SEA Check service to all boat users which will help you make sure you have all the right safety equipment on board. Call freefone 1800 789 589 and the RNLI team will be happy to advise you.

The Kinsale RNLI Lifeboat was launched at 5.15 pm on Sunday afternoon to go to the aid of a 17ft Mastercraft, with two passengers on board, which had lost power and was anchored one mile east off the Old Head of Kinsale.
Sunday was one of the busiest sailing days of the summer, with very crowded seas. The distressed craft did not have a radio on board. Their only means of contact with shore was a weak mobile phone signal. Thankfully conditions were flat and visibility good, so helmsman Temba Jere and crew members Mark Lewis and Ian Fitzgerald were able to locate the boat and tow it back to the safety of Kinsale Harbour within 40 minutes. 

Related Safety posts

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Water Safety News from Ireland

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Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Under a grey sky the 44 skippers taking part in La Solitaire du Figaro, left Kinsale for the fourth and decisive leg. Tension was high and the Committee was forced to give two general recalls. Swiss Bernard Stamm (Cheminée Poujoulat) and French Matthieu Girolet (Entreprendre) were involved in a collision and suffered from serious damages to their boats. Both decided to abandon racing.

Excellent start for young Portuguese Francisco Lobato and Italian Pietro D'Alì. Weather conditions are expected to be fairly tough, for a fast 435 miles passage to the finish in Cherbourg. A lot is at stake, for the leaders as for each one of the competitors to the 2010 Solitaire and tension builds easily. That is especially the case at the start of the last and decisive leg. And today the 44 skippers were eager to leave Ireland, apparently. So much that the Race Committee was forced to hoist the general recall flag twice before getting a clear start. And, it was when tension ran so high that between the first and the second start that a violent collision occurred involving Swiss Bernard Stamm (Cheminée Poujoulat) and Matthieu Girolet (Entreprendre).

As boats suffered from serious damages to their hulls both skippers decided it was not safe to continue racing and abandoned the Solitaire. Stamm's Figaro had a conspicuous hole on the bow and despite all the other competitors' shore teams immediately started working on it in a solidarity effort, the damage was too extensive to be repaired in a reasonable amount of time. Girolet's breakage was equally evident, and he also reported to have some parts detached inside the boat and doubted also that the rigging was still efficient. Stamm will be given a DNF in the final ranking which means the last's time plus two hours.

Racing continued for the other 42 skippers, who, before heading offshore had to sail a windward/leeward course between the Seamobile and the Radio France Marks, with a good breeze of 10 to 12 knots. Racing was very close and intense and gaps reduced to a minumum. At the Radio France Mark, located near Bulman, it was Laurent Pellecuer (Arnolfini.fr <http://Arnolfini.fr/> ) to round in first, very closely followed by Jean Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) and by a brilliant Francisco Lobato (ROFF/TEMPO-TEAM) who showed very good speed under spinnaker.

It was then the turn of Jérémie Beyou (BPI) and Yann Eliès (Generali Europ Assistance). Behind them boats arrived grouped together, creating a pretty confused mass with more collisions and protest flags. The other non French sailors were Pietro D'Alì (I.NOVA.3) in 11th, Jonny Malbon (Artemis) in 15th and Isabelle Joschke (Synergie) in 27th. Competitors will now have to sail along the Irish coast to reach the famous Fastnet lighthouse that lied 45 miles away, leaving it to port side. The leaders should get there around midnight. According to the weather forecast by Météo France's expert Sylvain Mondon, after having rounded the Fastnet on their way to Lizen Ven, the fleet will encounter stiffer NW breezes topping 25 with gusts over 30 knots.

Quotes form the skippers:Bernard Stamm (Cheminée Poujoulat) "The accident was quite unfortunate. I heard on the VHF that the Committee was announcing a change of the pin end, I was trying to find a right spot to check and all of a sudden I saw Matthieu's transom. It was too late, there was nothing I could do to avoid the crash. I was sailing pretty fast, 6 or 7 knots, ballasts full and couldn't change my course. It all happened in seconds. It was a big, loud crash. It's a pity, I'm really sad and disappointed." Matthieu Girolet (Entreprendre)"I'm really sorry, it was my fault no doubt about it (he was sailing on port tack when the accident occurred ed. note). I couldn't see Bernard coming because I was paying attention to the many spectator's boats around, trying to avoid them and did not see Bernard coming. I should have because I was on starboard tack. I definitely can't start again, my boat is badly damaged, I guess it would be unsafe and uncosiderate. We fight and train all year long to be in the Solitaire and it is just sad, disappointing, to be finishing like this."

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Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro
A collision after the restart of the La Solitaire du Figaro off Kinsale this afternoon has resulted in the retiral of two of the leading competitors. Both boats have returned to Kinsale marina and withdrawn from the race.

After a general recall a 'violent collision' occurred during the build up to the second start between Swiss Bernard Stamm (Cheminée Poujoulat) and Matthieu Girolet (Entreprendre).

The collision was as a result of a port and starboard incident.

As both boats suffered from serious hull damage both skippers decided it was not safe to continue racing and abandoned the Solitaire.

Stamm's Figaro had a conspicuous hole on the bow (below) and despite all the other competitors' shore teams immediately started working on it, the damage was too extensive to be repaired in a reasonable amount of time.

Girolet's breakage was equally evident, and he also reported to have some parts detached inside the boat and there was doubt the rig was still intact.

Stamm will be given a DNF in the final ranking which means the last's time plus two hours. Racing continued for the other 42 skippers, who, before heading offshore had to sail a windward/leeward course between the Seamobile and the Radio France Marks, with a good breeze of 10 to 12 knots.

Bob Bateman's photographs of the damage to the Swiss boat, Bernard Stamm (Cheminée Poujoulat) is below:

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Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro

The fourth and decisive leg of 2010 La Solitaire du Figaro will start from Kinsale tomorrow at 13.00. The 44 skippers will have to deal with the last 435 miles to Cherbourg and weather conditions are expected to be fairly tough, for a fast passage to the finish. Armel Le Cleac'h is still solidly in the lead but his competitors will surely play their cards right to be on the highest step of the podium.

Rule one: good manoeuvres and no breakages. The long stopover in quiet and friendly Kinsale is nearly over, after resting, enjoying the scenery, the hospitality or some golfing or fishing, the skippers get ready to leave for the last lap to Cherbourg.

To leave Ireland, the competitors will once more have to sail along the Irish cost to reach the famous Fastnet lighthouse 45 miles away, leaving it to port side. As opposed to the third leg, the 250-mile leap across the Celtic Sea will see the fleet leave the Scilly isles and the imposing lighthouse of Bishop Rock to port side. The skippers will have to negotiate the cross currents common to the English Channel for more than 100 miles, their waypoint set precisely on the cardinal buoy West Lizen Ven north of the île Vierge. After this mark, to be left on port side, the fleet will set off for 140 miles towards the Channel Islands. But this time, only the île d'Aurigny will be left offshore.

Like it happened for their way up to Kinsale, overtaking the islands of Guernsey, Herm and Jersey will require all the skipper's fine strategy. Later on, there could be some good options or tactical chances nearer to the Cotentin coastline.

The Raz Blanchard could open up the game over the last miles to the finish in Cherbourg-Octeville, will host the grand finale of La Solitaire du Figaro. As tradition the 44 skippers will meet late afternoon for the briefing, to get the last details on the weather they will encounter and routing to deal with the 435 miles that separate them from Cherbourg and the final verdict on who will win the 2010 edition.The fight looks fiercer than ever: if Armel Le Cleac'h (Britair) can count on a solid lead on his two immediate competitors, François Gabart (Skipper Macif 2010) and Tomas Rouxel (Credit Mutuel de Bretagne) nonetheless he will have to watch out for at least ten sailors who can well play a master stroke and obliterate their disadvantage. Same can be said for the "bizuth", the newcomers category, where Anthony Marchand (Espoir Region Bretagne) has slightly more than 18 minutes on Yoann Richomme (DLBC) and 56 minutes on Swiss Bernard Stamm. Easy to predict very close, tactical, racing for them.

According to the weather forecast by Météo France's expert Sylvain Mondon, after having rounded the Fastnet on their way to Lizen Ven, the fleet may encounter, and have to tackle with accordingly, two different meteorological outlooks: one with lighter northwesterly winds blowing at around 15/20 knots and one with stiffer breezes topping 25 with gusts over 30 knots. Maximum focus and eyes wide open together with faultless manoeuvring will be needed, since a badly conducted gibe or a broken spinnaker may involve significant time gaps on the finish line, loosing or getting many positions in the general ranking. As confirmed by Race Director Jacques Caraes: "It will be physical, very tiring and skippers will have to steer a lot. No mistakes allowed there.

The leg will be probably faster than expected and we could finally have a finish in daylight."As a matter of fact the leaders could well reach Cherbourg, where the Solitaire comes back for the seventh time in its history, Wednesday around midday or Thursday at the latest should the wind be lighter. The approach to Cherbourg will be nonetheless a tricky one because of the strong tidal flows and currents that could be as strong as 3.5 to 4.5 knots. Quotes form the skippers:Romain Attanasio (Saveol) "We'll sail fast, under spinnaker and it looks like there won't be light airs. There is not a big tide coefficient so we don't expect an awful lot of current at the raz Blanchard. Yet, we will have to play with a cold front. I had a similar experience and it was a pretty busy time: people going into the low and others who trail behind and at the finish it was... 20 miles. This leg does not worry me more than the others, there will be much spinnaker downwind sailing and I feel at ease with that. I'm not afraid but I know that it will be necessary to be in front from the start. The risks? Breaking a spinnaker would mean disaster." Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert)"It will be a fast one, there's wind the route is straight.

Not much to think about, it will be breezy, a low to deal with and it looks like we won't sleep too much, it's not going to be very relaxing, that's for sure. Helming and manoeuvring... I like the idea. You can get or loose time easily, the main thing is not to break anything, to gibe well, watch out for the cargos' route, because we will get to the finish in a dash under spinnaker..." Anthony Marchand (Challenge Espoir Région Bretagne) "I did my navigation session earlier, I'm downloading the latest weather grib files to make some simulations. I've had three bad starts and I know I can't have another one... after that is fast downwind, there will be wind but not so much. If it's downwind, even in 25 knots, on a Figaro you don't really realize.

It's one of those legs that may seem easy because you're going straight to the target but then the small lateral gaps when you get to a waypoint can make a difference. I have the impression that there is more difference among us on windy legs, at least this is what I feel. I'm less stressed than I was at the beginning, when I felt like going to a new school not knowing if the schoolmates would be nice. At the end the teachers are nice and the mates too..." Jonny Malbon (Artemis)"Kinsale is a beautiful place with very friendly people and we've been pretty lucky with the weather. Ready to go now, for me I've got to have a good leg cause although being quite close in the last leg it was pretty disappointing to be right down at the back of the fleet. Given the level of the fleet, you just make one mistake and it's difficult to get back in. So, I've got to focus, I've got nothing to loose just go full power and try to do my best, be in a good position and a good result in Cherbourg. Fingers crossed the weather looks ok, we should see some good speed downwind and fleet racing. We won't be having much sleep because you have to be more on form with the boat."

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro

During a very friendly and informal ceremony,  (Click HERE for photos by Bob Bateman) Kinsale Yacht Club’s Commodore Alice Kingston welcomed back the La Solitaire du Figaro fleet after 12 years’ absence and said that she hoped her hometown will keep its record for the location who hosted the highest number of stopovers intact. Commodore and Race Director Jacques Caraes exchanged mementoes.  François Gabart (Skipper Macif 2010) received a cheque for being first at the Radio France mark in Brest, Thomas Rouxel (Credit Mutuel e Bretagne) got the GMF Assistance prize for his lead at Wolf Rock, Gildan Morvan (Cercle Vert) who, during the leg went up 40 places recording the best progression between the Radio France mark ad the finish was given the CLS prize.

 Anthony Marchand (Espoir Region Bretagne) who crossed in first among the newcomers, the so called “bizuth” category, by only five seconds in front of Portuguese Francisco Lobato (ROFF/TEMPO-TEAM) received a check worth 800 Euros from Bénéteau.  It was then the turn of the three skippers that got on the podium: third placed Jean-Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls), Yann Eliés (Generali Europ Assistance). Finally, a radiant Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement) received the prize for his first ever leg victory. During the ceremony a special award, consisting of a bottle of wine, was also presented to yesterday’s golf tournament winner Jimmy Pahun by race’s veteran Jean-Paul Mouren.

Tomorrow will be the last day for the 44 skippers to get ready for the last, and in many cases decisive, fourth stage of the 2010 edition of la Solitaire, from Kinsale to Cherbourg for a total of 435 miles. Quotes form the skippers:Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement): winner of the third leg on receiving his prize“I’m over the rainbow for this victory, it’s such a weird a positive feeling to win a leg in the Solitaire, especially at the end of such a hard and fought for race. Thanks to my competitors for the support and the nice words they had for me, their respect is a prize in itself.”   

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here

 

Published in Figaro
12th August 2010

Figaro fleet in Kinsale

The penultimate leg of the Solitaire du Figaro finished last night in Kinsale with Adrien Hardy claiming the leg win in a time of 2 days, 6 hours, 8 minutes and 45 seconds, arriving just after 8.00pm. Jonny Malbon on Artemis finished just 1 hour, 19 minutes and 45 seconds later in 41st place. The third 349-mile leg of this arduous Solitaire proved challenging with strong winds, rain, less than seasonal temperatures and fog making it hard work for the solo skippers. Jonny undoubtedly found the leg hard work having not fully recovered from leg 2 when he was forced to hand-steer for nearly the entire leg due to a broken autopilot and did not sleep for three whole days! “I’m fine a bit tired but actually not feeling quite as tired as I probably should be! The boat is fine. I managed to get a big cut in my hand after picking up a fish hook in my spinnaker sheet which I didn’t see when I was cleaning it and it ripped through my hand. But that’s the only injury and the boat is in really good shape,” said Jonny as he stepped ashore in Kinsale.

On leaving Brest the 44-boat fleet raced north up the coast of France before crossing the English Channel and rounding Wolf Rock off the south-west tip of England: “It was hard in places, the start was great and tacking in the Raz de Brest was fantastic - not difficult but everyone was pushing it right up to the rocks. Then it got a bit more difficult and I had an accident when I got my spinnaker wrapped around the forestay in a gybe which was a bit frustrating. I lost a bit of time as I had to go off and sort it out but then I managed to get back with the fleet. The second day was harder, the weather was horrible – grey, miserable, strong, strong winds and visibility was really bad so I couldn’t really see anyone or see what sails they were using. I was hanging on to the genoa in 25, 28, 30 knots of wind which is too much. So it was quite a relief when that cleared and the front went through very quickly.”

The racing was close between the competitors with constant position changes as the sailors vied for their places: “The last day was really nice and I enjoyed it. At the end I went to the beach to try and find some wind and I was quite lucky as the breeze came from the beach so I had a much nicer angle than the people offshore.”

Finishing just over an hour after the leg winner is testament to Jonny’s training this winter and his improving race performance in this highly competitive class. He has consistently been able to stay with the main fleet compared to his previous participation last year. His autopilot set back on leg 2, after lying in 12th place at the start of the leg, cost him dearly as the overall rankings are calculated on cumulative time. Finishing nearly 10 hours after the leg 2 winner Armel Le Cleac’h, who still leads in the overall rankings, has put Jonny at the bottom of the leaderboard with one more leg to go.

The final leg of the 2010 Solitaire du Figaro leaves Kinsale on Monday, 16th August on the final 435-mile leg to Cherbourg.

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here

 


Published in Figaro

The first night at sea of Leg 3 of La Solitaire du Figaro proved to be as demanding as expected, with the skippers fighting against high winds, cold weather, drizzling rain, fog and, especially, a very fastidious swell. Several blown spinnakers but the whole fleet is fastly sailing towards Ireland. After keeping the lead for more than 24 hours, Thomas Rouxel, has to lave first place to Armel Le Cleac'h. Yet, nothing is carved in stone as the first 26 boats are only 5 miles apart at 150 miles from the finish. Last night's Channel crossing from Portsal to Wolf Rock was wet and bumpy for the 44 skippers racing in the 41st edition of La Solitaire du Figaro. "Several skippers reported damages and breakages" said Jacques Caraes form the Race Management catamaran following the fleet's progress in the Celtic Sea. The big waves got the best of at least a dozen spinnakers.

Surely annoying but probably not so relevant for the rest of the race to Ireland because, in theory, the skippers will not need them to sail to Fastnet Rock and their final destination, Kinsale. The damage on Armel Tripon's Gedimat looks more serious, her hull pierced following a collision after the start in Brest. "On starboard tack there is a leak" reports Tripon, at the same time reassuring that the situation seems to be under control and keeps his spirits high. No doubt that shore teams, sail makers, riggers and builders will be busy over next week in Kinsale. For the sailors' joy the long, uncomfortable reaching in high winds up to 25 knots, grey and wet conditions came to an end early in the morning when the leaders rounded the Wolf Rock lighthouse and entered the Celtic sea. The first skipper to reach midpoint to the finish was a consistent Thomas Rouxel (Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne). The fleet later had to deal with a sudden 90° wind shift, provoked by the quick passage of a front, he wind from south westerly became north easterly. Sure enough there will be more of such variations to negotiate before seeing the famous Fastnet Rock, as confirmed by Meteo France's weather expert Sylvain Mondon: "the wind shifty and unstable, coming from the northern sector". No big news there, since before leaving Brest all the skippers declared that they very particularly wary of the Celtic Sea and its tactical tricks.

The tricky sea and hard tactical choices don't seem to be a major problem for Armel Le Cleach (Britair) who is reported to have got in the lead once again, overtaking Thomas Rouxel (Credit Mutuel de Bretagne) and preceding also Jean-Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) in third.

Yet the skippers are sailing in a very compact group, only 4.5 miles separate the leader from the 26th placed, Italian Pietro D'Alì (I.NOVA.3). Yet, another brilliant performance to register from Portuguese Francisco Lobato (ROFF/TEMPO-TEAM), who's been in the leading pack since the start and now lies in 12th position only two miles behind Le Cleac'h and first in the newcomers special ranking. Franco/German Isabelle Joschke (Synergie) is 25th, Swiss Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) is 35th and Jonny Malbon (Artemis) is in 42th at ten miles from the top. As per the latest computer simulations the ETA for the leaders at the Fastnet could be tomorrow between 9 and 12 GMT while the leaders could be crossing the finish line at Old Head of Kinsale. Quotes from the skippers:Corentin Douguet (E.Leclerc Mobile)"The wind shifted by 90° all of a sudden, it nearly got me by surprise. I had to tack quickly and now we are on port. We were heading to target on starboard before and we are doing in now on the opposite tack! We are approaching the Fastnet faster than expected, We've been busy since the start, no waiting game and it should be like that to the Rock, a tight schedule. It's windy but the swell is more annoying, rough and the autopilot is not working 1005 in these conditions. You must steer.

Typical August day in the Celtic sea. I't getting better, the visibility is improving, until a hour ago you can't see anything. Still, I like to be here." Armel Le Cléac'h (Brit Air)"After Brittany Point, a long tack and after rounding Wolf Rock there was a huge wind shift, more than 100°, from SW to NE, the breeze is coming from everywhere... The night was all right, I was happy to have left Brest in a good position, I was afraid of getting stuck somehow in the gulf. The sea is confused, we have a long stretch upwind tacking to the Fastnet, it won't be easy to find the best track to Kinsale. I keep my fingers crossed." Yann Eliès (Generali Europ Assistance)"A front just passed, the wind shifted abruptly but the rain has stopped and it's good after a whole night spent under, literally, buckets of water! You couldn't see much out there. I tried to go West and a cargo ship made a u turn just in front of me, I was obliged to take down the spinnaker. I lost some ground, even if I'm always in the top pack. There are still options to be made: a ridge, wind shifts, all the upwind part to the Irish coast that's going to be fun..."

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro

The 44 skippers taking part to Leg 3 of the Solitaire du Figaro left Brest today for a 349 miles long route bound for Kinsale.  The start was hampered by the bulk of the fleet clustering the pin end of the line, causing individual recalls and several protest flags to be raised.  Leaving the goulet de Brest prove to be as hard as expected with collisions, penalty turns and a boat actually hitting the rocks. Portuguese skipper, Francisco Lobato, rounded the Radio France mark in 5th position ahead of his fellow first time participants.

Skippers left the pontoons from 11.00 waving goodbye to shore teams, families, friends and supporters ready to embark on the 349 miles of pure competitive sailing to Kinsale, together with La Belle Poule, the French Naval tall ship who hoisted her full set of sails, offering an spectacular and rare show for the gathered public out to watch the start.

Even before the start procedure was given, the atmosphere was full of excitement and expectation. At the start several boats were over the line, some going back to take a penalty and re-start, but the situation was pretty confused and many skipper's decided to hoist the protest flag. At the weather mark, the bouée Seamobile, two boats collided and further penalty turns ensued.

At the Radio France mark, the much-appreciated first prize went to François Gabart on Skipper Macif 2010, who was followed by Thomas Rouxel on Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne and Sébastien Josse on Vendée. Young Portuguese newcomer to the Figaro, Francisco Lobato on ROFF/TEMPO-TEAM had an excellent start to then round the mark in fifth, first among the rookies. Other non French skippers were reported to be in the second half of the fleet: Swiss Bernrd Stamm in 29th, Italian Pietro D'Alì in 36th, Jonny Malbon in 39th and Franco/German Isabelle Joschke in 43rd.

Shortly after rounding the Radio France buoy, Gabart ran onto the rocks whilst sailing very close to shore.  He was forced to get off the boat and was then able to literally push the boat off the rocks without requesting outside assistance and immediately went back to racing.

Upon leaving Brest and the bay of Camaret, the fleet made course up to the Four Channel, which can prove to be a very complex stretch of the course, especially renown for the tough cross currents.  The Molène archipelago and the isle of Ushant will have to be left to port side, then the Portsall plateau leaving the cardinal mark west Grande Basse de Portsall to port side. The leaders could get there, according to the latest ETA tonight between 8 and 9 p.m.

The fleet will then begin the second part of the leg that will take the skippers across the Channel towards Wolf Rock, which must be left to port.  The fleet is expected to reach Wolf Rock around breakfast time Tuesday.

Kinsale will welcome the 2010 Solitaire du Figaro for the 19th time in the 41-year history of the classic summer race, the highest number of visits received by any venue to have hosted the race stops.

Quotes from the skippers in Brest, before leaving for Leg 3
Pietro D'Alì (I.NOVA.3)
"This is not going an easy leg but at least it's going to be fast. The latest weather report says there will be more wind that we thought, so it will probably less hard to get out of the gulf. The cold front will come later than expected, there is a chance that we will round Wolf Rock reaching and then a long upwind part to the Fastnet. The wind will be pretty instable after that, we will need all our focus tacking up to Kinsale. The finish is expected for Wednesday might, it's going to be pretty quick... You will have to stay in the leading group from the start, not to accumulate too much distance, as apparently there will be no stop and go this time. I feel all right, especially after a massage and a good dose of sleep, I'm ready to go for the third one. I hope I will have the chance to fight to be in the top ten."

Armel Le Cléac'h (Britair)
"Sure, it's the shortest one, but we will be busy anyway. Getting out the goulet de Brest (bottleneck harbour) this afternoon against the current won't be easy, then the long tack to Cornwall, speed needed there, and the Celtic sea to complicate things further. Not simple at all, we'll have to watch out. As in any other leg... you can loose ground and be left behind. The start is tricky but the rest as well, with many options to take. I'm a bit tired, that's true because you never recover 100% of your energies. We are midpoint now with a tricky leg to be dealt with. And it's not just all about speed, but there's also strategy, weather routing and we are under stress."

Jean-Paul Mouren (Marseillentreprises)
"I'm convinced it's going to be a good leg, as the previous ones. It will probably be less sunny when we'll get to Ireland; I have my umbrella ready... My wish? You know, choosing the right option or the wrong one takes exactly the same energy, so I will try and be on the right track, be at one with the weather.  That's what you need to do, be on the same wavelength with nature, or it's going to be all wrong."

François Gabart (Skipper Macif 2010)
"We had two good ones, I must admit I'm biased because all went well for me. And for this one, we have all the right ingredients: light wind and current, then reaching under spinnaker or genoa; the Celtic Sea is going to be interesting too because there is a small secondary low pressure and there will surely be wind shifts to consider. Then another ridge and another front. A full plate for the game to be fun. I'm happy to get going because I feel all right, the boat is ready and I guess I got the rhythm. I need to go on sailing like I did on the previous two legs: look for maximum speed and try to be at the right place at the right moment."

Marc Emig (Marcemigetmoi.com)
"I need to learn to sail in the rain! More seriously, I wish to be able to stay in the top group, not to give up when things go wrong, be back in the match and get to Kinsale in a good mood with the longest possible lead. Then I will still have the last leg to try a coup and go up some 5 or 6 places."

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro

The 44 skippers get ready for Leg 3 of the Solitaire du Figaro in a surprisingly sunny and warm Brest while hundreds of supporters crowd the race village and the pontoons. Tomorrow at 14.00 they will leave Brittany for a challenging new leg up to the Channel, the Celtic Sea, the famous Fastnet Rock and the stunning village of Kinsale, where they return after a 13 years long absence. 349 miles of close and demanding racing, in strong currents, choppy seas and stiff breeze. Plus some accurate strategy towards the finish. The game is not over and many are hunting for glory.

Skippers and shore teams are giving the final touches to the 44 Figaro II that tomorrow at 14.00 will leave Brest for 349 miles of pure competition to Kinsale.

After leaving Brest and the bay of Camaret, the fleet will sail back up the Four channel which may prove difficult due to weak winds, swell and cross currents. The Molène archipelago and the isle of Ushant will have to be left to port side, the Four channel will be left off the reefs of the Portsall plateau leaving the cardinal mark west Grande Basse de Portsall to port side.

The second part of the leg will take the fleet across the Channel, approximately 90 miles to the Cornish coast, marked by Wolf Rock to be left imperatively to port side. The direct route will take the 44 skippers to sail between the Scilly Isles and Land's End. The 165-mile long sail up the Celtic sea will take the fleet to round the mythical Fastnet lighthouse, which will have to be left to starboard before heading East. The last stretch of around 45 nautical miles will surely be very hard for the tired sailors who will have to make use of their last energies to get to Kinsale, finish of leg 3, where the race has not returned to since its 28th edition in 1997. If this leg is the shortest, it certainly will not be the easiest. The passage along the coast of Finistère and the long and complex route from the Fastnet to Kinsale will no doubt be the hardest parts of this leg to negotiate.

According to the latest weather bulletin issued by Meteo France expert Sylvain Mondon the skippers will have to deal with a first part relatively good as far as wind is concerned, with a south westerly breeze of 10/14 knots that will accompany them to the Scilly. The wind will later strengthen due to a front hovering over the area and the sea state will be particularly hard to tackle.

Apart form the French stars such as Le Cleac'h, Gabart, Rouxel, Beyou or the best placed female skipper Jeanne Gregoire and the first rookie Anthony Marchand, the international skippers are also ready to fight for a "personal best" in Leg 3 or to take their revenge after somehow disappointing performances. So far the top spot among the non-French goes to expert Swiss Bernard Stamm (who is is also third placed in the newcomers special ranking, racing his first Solitaire ever) in 18th, French/German Isabelle Joschke is 28th, Italian Pietro D'Alì is 31st, Portoguese Francisco Lobato is 38th and unlucky Briton Jonny Malbon, who suffered an autopilot failure in Leg 2 and was forced to steer for three days, is in last position but ready to strike back.

Kinsale will welcome the 2010 Solitaire du Figaro for the 19th time in the 41-year history of the race. Kinsale still is the location to have hosted the highest number of legs of the race. No doubt the skippers will be eager to discover or rediscover this charming village, which has so strongly marked the life of the event.

Quotes from the skippers in Brest, at midpoint in the 2010 Solitaire

Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat)

"From a racing standpoint it's an average performance, I'm 18th, at mid fleet. I still make so many different mistakes, I guess I'm still far from the leaders' level but it does not come as a surprise. I find what I came looking for and I'm pretty satisfied, all considered. In the second leg I made a huge strategical error after Penmarch, that could have been even more costly. I didn't in the first leg, just had some speed issues and lost ground. I'm enjoying this close racing very much, it's funny to have always someone next to you. It's useful to keep learning, I'll try to keep the faults to a minumim and go up in the general ranking.

I would like to do more but the schedule for the 60' is already quite intense, the Figaro is not for amateurs , it's also physically very demanding, it's fun but hard."

Jeanne Grégoire (Banque Populaire)

"You have to suffer, in the Solitaire. Hurt yourself on the first leg is ok... but in the second one I really had to push to the limits to get closer to the top. This is what I did, worked hard, slept very little but still tried to think on the long term. And the leg was shorter. Everyone tells me that I'm in top form but I feel as usual, maybe I'm a bit sad because I miss my little one a lot (Jeanne had to skip last year's Solitaire to give birth to a baby girl ed. note) when I'm ashore. I could go home for a while and see her. I feel ok and my position suits me all right, five minutes from the fourth (Jérémie Beyou) but I only have a 30 minutes lead on the 14th, need to be on the lookout."

Romain Attanasio (Savéol)

"The third leg looks promising: at least we will have wind! But I'm wary, the shortest could be the trickiest. You will have to take a good start, deal with the contrary current, be in the leading group to the Scilly, then choose the right option in the Celtic Sea, tacking upwind. And watch out for the last 50 miles along the Irish coast, I hope we won't meet all together again in front of the finish line like it happened in Dingle. Experience show us that anything can happen up there. I find this year the technical level of the so called rookies is incredibly high. In the past being in the Top Ten was a big success, today being among the first half of the fleet is a feat! It takes twelve months for the young sailors to learn what we acquired in ten years!"

Reminder of the key dates:

- LE HAVRE

Suzuki Prologue: Sunday 25th July

Start of the 1st leg: Tuesday 27th July

- GIJON (515 miles)

Start of the 2nd leg: Tuesday 3rd August

- BREST (385 miles)

Start of the 3rd leg: Monday 9th August

- KINSALE (349 miles)

Expected arrival of the boats: Wednesday 11th August

Start of the 4th leg: Monday 16th August

- CHERBOURG-OCTEVILLE (435 miles)

Expected arrival of the boats: Thursday 19th August

Closing Parade: Sunday 22nd August

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro
Page 23 of 26

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