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Displaying items by tag: La Solitaire du Figaro

Today in Caen, the day after the finish of the first light and demanding leg of La Solitaire du Figaro it it time to review the race standings; there is plenty of hope as 60% of the fleet remain within 60 minutes of the leader. Fabien Delahaye wins at home, but there is still opportunities for the competition to make up on the lost time.  The prospects are slightly less bright for the last 13 competitors who are more than 2 hours and 45 minutes behind the leader on an event where the cumulative time over the course of four legs. The Jury have reviewed 11 cases and applied time penalties to seven competitors.

The races comes to Dun Laoghaire on August 12th where the National Yacht Club is planning a 'Festival des Bateaux' in the harbour for four days.

"The first night after the finish of a leg is always the most intense.  You have such a deep sleep.  It is like ecstasy" exclaimed a fresh faced Isabelle Joshke (Galettes St. Michel) this morning in the busy port of Caen.  There is little time to mull over the results with a further three legs to go.  Sixty percent of the fleet is within a hour of the leader, the psychological self imposed barrier that many of the sailors set themselves. From first to ninth placed Nicolas Lunven, who toyed with the lead for most of the race, there are just 17 minutes and 46 seconds.  Not until 18th placed Romain Attanasio (Saveól) do we see the time deficit build to 30 minutes.   Incredibly seven of the ten newcomers to the race are within the top thirty and 60 minutes from the leader.  Two sailors of note that are lagging behind could be Eric Peron (Macif 2009) who finishes 34th and 1 hour and 26 minutes from the leader and in particular Francisco Lobato (ROFF), in 36th, 3 hours, 15 minutes and 59 seconds behind.  Lobato, who suffered a similar bad start to the season last year to go on and get a sixth place on the second leg, is still considered to be one to watch for by his fellow competitors.  Then towards the tail end of the fleet there is disappointment for some, particularly Yoann Richomme (DLBC), Marc Emig (Ensemble autour du monde) and Sam Goodchild (Artemis).

Eleven complaints have been filed and have being processed by the Jury of the 42nd Solitaire du Figaro this afternoon.  The protests generally relate to broken seals, the loss of the light anchor not rounding correctly certain course marks.  Seven of the eleven penalised sailors have been given a time penalty.  FrédéricDuthil (Sepalumic) get a one hour penalty to his overall race time for not respecting the Cussy mark.  Jean-Paul Mouren (SNEF) is also given an hour penalty for not crossing the finish line properly.  The three boats with broken propellor shaft seals have been given the minimum penalty time of 20 minutes, as it was deemed that no personal gain was obtained: Phil Sharp (The Spirit of Independence), Conrad Humphreys (DMS) and Thierry Chabagny (Gedimat) all are penalised 20 minutes.  The Race Committee protested against Marc Emig (Ensemble autour du monde) whose  position was not showing on the AIS (tracking sytem), which was believed to be unintentional.  Marc was penalised 12 minutes.  The other cases all related to the loss of light anchors and were not given time penalities: David Sineau (Britanie Cosmetics), Sébastien Picault (Kickers), Frédéric Duthil, Eric Drouglazet(Luisina).

Visit the PSP Cormoran
The French naval patrol boat, the PSP Cormorant accompanying La Solitaire du Figaro throughout the race is moored the Quai Normandy in Caen.  It is open to the public daily from 10 to 12 and from 14 to 18.

Rankings for the newbies or rookies on La Solitaire
Out of the 47 solo sailors competing on the the Figaro, ten of them are newcomers to the race.  Referred to as "rookies", these sailors have really shone out for their performance on the first leg from Perros-Guirec to Caen.  Xavier Macaire (Starter Active Bridge) leads the rookie standings with his 5th place with the British sailor, Phil Sharp (The Spirit of Independence), finishing 7th within a minute of the first "rookie".  The talent amongst the rookie fleet is evident with seven of the ten being within 43 minutes of each other.  It is important to note that that Alexis Littoz-Baritel (SavoieMont-Blanc) won the prologue in Perros-Guirec and Sam Goodchild (Artemis) rounded in the seventh windward mark before exploding his spinnaker on the first crossing of the Channel.

Quotes from the skippers in Caen:

Jeanne Grégoire (Banque Populaire) 14th in Caen
"The results of this first leg is that I have not sailed very well, but I am not going to make a mountain out of it.  I was not really in the right rhythm, not positioned well on the water throughout.  And I have not got an explanation for it.  It is likely I was not asking myself the right questions.  In fact on the water, you try to go fast and then you ask yourself questions all the time! I kept playing out all possible scenarios for up to 20 miles later when really you just have to take a mile at a time.  I am not too disappointed and have come out ok at the end."

Isabelle Joschke (Galettes St Michel), 15th in Caen
"When it comes down to the time differences, I think that you should never worry about it unless you have a race like the one in 2008 when the first to finish managed to get a 5 or 6 hours lead on everyone.  I remember last year, the last leg really scared everyone because the weather just really shook up the fleet and there were loads of changes.  Everything can change on the last leg.  I keep this in mind that.  It is always like that on the Figaro!"

Sat Goodchild (Artemis), 45th to finish in Caen
"I am pretty devastated.  I had a good start, but three hours later, I tore my big spinnaker in half.  I had only the small spinnaker so really struggled to get the boat speed.  After that it was a matter of limiting the damage to not finish too far behind.  I am going to just have to approach each individual leg for the three to come and learn as much as I can.  Today I am getting the spinnaker mended, learn for the next time and take a step at a time for the next one."

Laurent Pellecuer (Atelier d'Architecture Jean-Pierre Monnier), eighth in the overall ranking
"I spent the whole race trying to catch up right from the start. I managed to pick off the boats one by one, two by two, five by five, also making my own mistakes in the process. When the wind stopped and the current was really strong, I got stuck and came to a complete standstill, but did not anchor.  Up until that point I had been up in the 10.  When the wind is light, in fact, the cards are reshuffled and anything can happen.  In light winds and when you are behind you need nerves of steel to fight your way back up.  You have to just believe in yourself and fight it out to the end."

Paul Meilhat (Macif 2011), 13th in the provisional overall ranking
"If I take the leg as a whole I did so well and managed to go quite fast. I'm pretty happy. I have not made too many mistakes and was maybe a little bit too conservative having anchored close to the Raz Blanchard. I lost a lot of time being at anchor, which made me lose touch with the leaders. The main thing is that there is not too much time difference at the end of the leg. This is a good leg that gives confidence for the future. It's true that there were some key point of passages, which almost meant the race started all over again. It's a bit annoying when you fight for 48 hours to try and get ahead and then it all bunches up again from behind and pretty much sets a new start.  But it is very often like that in this race. It was a nice leg, we had some sun on the approach to the Needles and then the spinnaker run...it was a great leg."

Nicolas Lunven (Generali), ninth on the first leg
"Together with Thomas Rouxel and Jérémie Beyou,  we had a wonderful trio running from the start of the race. Unfortunately, the this trio broke disappeared before the finish and none of us are in the top three at the finish!  The last night at sea in the Channel, with no wind, a lot of current, some people having to ancho (including me), the fleet scattered around .... I finish ninth and within 17 minutes of the leader. I still had a great leg. Personally, I am shattered, even when I anchored, which was the first time I have ever done that in a Figaro, I was tired.  It is annoying to have spent 30 hours fighting for a top 3 slot and then loose it all at the end...But I am not the first person this has happened to and certainly not going to be the last."

Published in Figaro

At 13:14:36 on Tuesday 2nd of August, Fabien Delahaye crossed the finish line to win the first leg of La Solitaire du Figaro between Perros-Guirec and Caen in first place.  The Normandy skipper sailing on Port Caen Ouistreham took just over 2 days, or 50 hours 14 minutes and 36 seconds, at an average 5.83 miles an hour to cover the 293.1 miles course that was full of surprises. The final stages of the race were played out overnight on Monday in the light conditions and currents off the Cotentin coastline.  Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert), the highly experienced Figaro sailor, finished just behind to take the second place whilst Jean Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) takes third to complete the podium.  Xavier Macaire (Starter Active Bridge) comes in first rookie in 5th place, barely a minute ahead of Phil Sharp (Spirit of Independence), the first British sailor to finish, crossing the line in 7th and just 15 minutes and 4 seconds behind the leader.  The first thirty skippers to cross the finish line are within an 60-minute time deficit on the leader.

The first leg win goes to a native Normandy sailor, Fabien Delahaye (he lives in Caen). At only 27, this  fresh -faced  blond man with piercing blue eyes wins his first ever leg on on a  Solitaire race.  In 2009, Fabien made his mark on the Figaro by winning the rookie or newcomer rankings.  Over the past two participations Fabien has improved thanks to his very methodical work, clear mindset and is regarded as one of the young hopefuls who will set their mark on La Solitare du Figaro race.  This win at home could be the first of more to come.

On the finish line in Ouistreham, the tension was palpable as nothing had been decided and all was to play for over the final miles of the race.  The very low and variable wind direction together with the 2 knots of current from the tides brought the fleet back together.  Fabien managed to control his opponents and beat them to the finish over the final miles of the race. Seasoned sailors, Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) and Jean Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The first rookie to finish, a mere 14 minutes behind the winner in 5th place is Xavier Macaire (Starter Active Bridge) being pursued by Britain's Phil Sharp on Spirit of Independence, who finishes 7th overall and just under a minute behind the first rookie.  The Franco-German sailor, Isabelle Joschke shines out for her consistency on the leg; she finishes 15th and 40 minutes from the winner.  Conrad Humphreys (DMS) from Plymouth finished in 22nd place and 45 minutes from the leader.  The turnig tide and dropping breeze have made it a real struggle for the second half of the fleet.  Portugal's Francisco Lobato finishes 36th at 16:30:35, whilst Nigel King from Lymington, sailing on E-Line Orthodontics finishes in 39th at 17:09:28.  The British  sailor, Sam Goodchild (Artemis), youngest competitor this season, crossed the line at 18:36:47 in 45th place.

Quotes from the skippers upon crossing the finish line in Caen:
Fabien Delahaye (Port de Caen-Ouistreham) winner in Ouistreham-Caen
This is the first time I win a leg and to top it off I do it at home!  Last night was key for the race.  You really had to keep on top of things and position yourself well and I just grabbed any opportunity that came my way.  I managed to position myself well throughout the race, except maybe at the passage at Portland Bill, which I found difficult.  Then I managed to climb back up to the leading pack on the return Channel crossing with Gildas Morvan and then built my lead after the Cussy cardinal mark.  When everyone had to anchor this morning to avoid going backwards in the current I had 48 metres of depth so just had to fight it out and look for the puffs of wind.  This is probably played in my favour as I managed to get away, so I would not say that it was just a matter of knowing my home waters!"

Gildas Movan (Cercle Vert) – Second in Caen and 11 minutes and 9 seconds behind the leader
The whole first leg has been really quite tough because although we had a nice first night sailing under spinnaker to cross the Channel, it has been nothing but easy.  From Hands Deep the wind would just come and go and then it just got really soft.  It was a matter of constantly having to gybe and do manoevers.  The worst bit must have been last night as we were crossing the Channel and the wind just completely dropped and went all over the place.  I tried to hang on with the spinnaker up because the minute you go and anchor it takes forever to get started again.  I then hooked on to a thread of breeze that got me off on the approach to Cussy, the same one Fabien grabbed on to and then the tide was favourable and the wind picked up.  If you look at the time deficit I have on the winner it is not all that much, but then each and every minute counts!"

Jean-Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) – third place on the first leg Perros-Guirec to Caen:
"What a leg! There were so many pitfalls and you just had to be constantly on guard to not get caught out.  When you look at the course on paper it seems easy, but then doing it is something else.  I am shattered and found it so hard to mange my sleep.  It was snakes and ladders, each time I nodded off I would loose ground, so would have to work my way back up and fight against the exhaustion.  It has not been the easiest way of getting in to the race, but then last night everything just went like a dream...I managed to get away whilst everyone else was just stuck.  I have managed to limit the time deficit on the leader by just a few minutes so am really happy."

Xavier Macaire (Starter Active Bridge), 5th overall and first rookie:
"I had a great climb up the fleet last night which all started from the Fairway mark.  I did some good gybes and I must say that Phil Sharp set the bar very high for the rookie rankings.  I had to get after him.  I did have to anchor last night, but it just would not hold, so just fought against drifting too much.  Finishing in this position is just fantastic and I am so pleased.  I had set myself the target of getting to be among the top three in the rookie ranking, so that is a good start.  This is just an amazing event with 47 great sailors, wonderful organisation and to have the French naval ship, PSP Cormorant with us, is a real honour."

Phil Sharp (The Spirit of Independence), 7th overall, 15 minutes and 4 seconds behind the winner and first Briton to finish:  "I'm feeling great, It's kind of incredible really, the whole race, I didn't expect to be so near the front and tussling with some of these top guys. I've learnt so much., it's been incredible excitement all the way through.  I'm so pleased to have got my first decent Figaro result.  Top 10 was way above my expectations you know. Consistency is the name of the game but it's always great to have one result. It's going to be hard to keep getting top ten's now!"

Conrad Humphreys (DMS):  "It was an incredible race, it had everything in it, absolutely everything, from calms to some good wind, lots of sail changes and the fleet were so close all the time. I don't think the first twenty boats were ever more than three miles apart.  I didn't sleep very much this race and I think it caught up with me on the last day. It's difficult to get into a routine in this race and I think for the next leg I need to be a little more disciplined about my sleep."

Francisco Lobato (ROFF), 36th overall and with a 3 hour and 15 minute time deficit on the leader
"I was doing ok from the start and then just lost contact with the leading pack along the South coast of England.  Those following hours were tough because you end up doing radical things to try and catch up and I got caught out in Lyme Bay and then just lost further ground.  It has helped me see where I need to improve, but honestly I know I can be there and improve for the next events.  On the positive side, I am really happy with the manoevers and general boat speed."

Published in Figaro
Thirty hours into racing on the first leg of La Solitaire du Figaro, 320-miles from Perros-Guirec in Northern Brittany to Caen,  lower Normandy, and the leaders are positioned just 5 miles from Fairways, off the Needles, on the western tip of the Isle of Wight fighting against the tidal current. 

The race stops in Dun Laoghaire Ireland from August 12th, the only foreig stop over of the circuit.

Thomas Rouxel (Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Performance), moves into the lead ahead of his two closest rivals, Nicolas Lunven (Generali) and Jérémy Beyou (BPI), in what has been a cat and mouse game for the pole position since yesterday's start.  Britain's Phil Sharp (Spirit of Independence) punches his way up to 6th place overall and leads the rookies on their first Solitaire race.  What remains to be seen is if the light easterly thermal breeze will hold up for the sailors as they battle against the strong tidal current to get round the Fairways mark for the Southerly course back across the Channel to Caen.

The light conditions for Sunday morning's start gave way to moderate southerly breeze to allow the 47 competitors a Channel crossing towards Plymouth and the Hands Deep course mark under spinnaker in relatively good 7 to 8 knots pace.  The fleet then made the most of the favourable tide on the run along the South coast of England, where the sailors each chose how best to negotiate rounding the various headlands and associated current on course for the Fairways.  The wind gradually died out this afternoon just off Anvil point ,12 miles from the turning point, leaving the skippers the choice of either attempting to fight their way against the 3 knots of tidal current and dying breeze or dropping anchor to sit it out until the tide turns.

The leaders (Rouxel, Lunven, Beyou) on the direct heading are followed by a group made up of Eric Drouglazet (Luisina), Fred Duthil (Sepalumic), Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat) and rookie sailor, Phil Sharp (Spirit of Independence).  Further north, a breakaway group looking for the shelter of Poole Harbour and hoping for a thermal breeze to propel them round the Fairways and into the favourable current is made up of Laurent Pellecuer (Atelier d'architecture JP Monier), Frédéric Rivet (Vendée 1), Morgan Lagravière (Vendée), Charlie Dalin (Keopsys) and Jean-Pierre Nicols (Bernard Controls).  If their gamble does not pay off, they could pay with a costly time deficit on the leaders.  Others have opted for more southerly and offshore course in the hope that a veering wind could provide a good angle of approach to the mark, but for now Thierry Chabagny (Gedimat), Etienne Svilarich (Volkswagen Think Blue) and Alexis Loison (Port Chantereyne-Cherbourg-Octeville) can just hope as they see themselves fall back on the position reports.

The situation is not so clear for the sailors, led by Michel Bothuon (Les recycleurs bretons), who have not passed Anvil Point, where the tidal effects are strong.  Sam Goodchild (Artemis), Francisco Lobato (ROFF) and Nigel King (E-Line Orthodontics) caught up in this bunch can only hope that the leaders are forced to drop anchor to reduce the distance.

Phil Sharp (Spirit of Independence) from Jersey has made an astounding climb over the course of the last 24 hours, having started in the bottom half of the fleet, he is now well positioned 1.1 miles behind the leading trio in 6th place overall behind Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat) and is currently heading the rookie rankings.  Phil has gradually progressed and moved his way up the fleet opting for a more offshore course just south of the rhumb line and is well placed to round the Fairways mark, just 5 miles away at 15:30.  Devon's Conrad Humphreys (DMS) stays within reach of the leaders at just 2.2 miles in 18th place.

British skipper, Sam Goodchild (Artemis), enjoyed a brilliant start in Perros Guirec on Sunday, to round the first course mark in 7th place, holding on the the race leaders throughout the day. This morning the Race Committee reported that Sam had torn his spinnaker, which would explain the loss of ground on the lead and his current  41st place and 9.4 mile deficit on the leaders.

Weather conditions have been better than anticipated since Sunday's start in Perros Guirec, allowing for the solo sailors to keep up a pace that could see them arriving into Caen from Tuesday afternoon.

Skipper's quotes over the VHF today:
Eric Drouglazet (Luisina):"We could well be anchored about ten miles from the Fairway buoy. I did not sleep all that much last night, so have not sailed all that badly. The leading boats are going to get round the next mark with the favourable current, but for those left behind it is only get to get worse and worse..."

Paul Meilhat (Macif 2011): "This is a beautiful leg with a lots of chances. And there will be more to come! It's a bit like having a fresh start, this passage from Portland Bill.We had light conditions and everyone came back from behind. I am very happy right now and everything is going well...I have good boat speed. I have been playing it bit by bit and think I'll try to continue with this strategy. I'm in shorts and a T-shirt: it's very nice after night in the drizzle. But there will be another difficult night. As soon as the thermal wind is going drops we are just going to come to a standstill..."

Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert): "It was not all that great at the start.  Then I managed to get back by sailing well up to Hand Deeps.  Overnight got in too close to shore.  It was not a good idea trying to go in close round Start Point.  Now, I have come back a pit on round Portland Bill further out.  For now we have 8 knots from the West, but it is is going to drop and it is going t be really very painful getting the turning tide at the Needles!"

Thomas Rouxel (Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Performance): "There is a real battle going on with the three of us, Jérémy Beyou, Nicolas Lunven and myself.  All is going well but it is not over yet!  We are making slow progress with the wind we have, but from 14:00 onwards we should have the current against us to deal with too.  I think that it is going to be complicated and a whole lot of things could happen..."

Isabelle Joschke (Galettes Saint Michel): "For me, I see that there has been a turnaround. The first group was caught in the calm. A large group came back on this leader group. We are all under spinnaker, the wind is getting up in the bright sunshine and flat seas: it's very nice. The first night is always difficult to rest. I had a few naps and I ate well. It's hard to let go of the pressure because we are all in contact. I'll try to go take a nap now that the wind is established and before it once again becomes complicated. We will find ourselves facing the current to get passed the Isle of Wight. If we are forced to anchor, where I am, there a 30 metres of depth... It will not be very nice!"

Morgan Lagravière (Vendée):"I had a good first 24 hours and then about two hours ago mucked up the getting passed the transition area which needed special care and managed to loose quite a few places.  Not easy to decide on which position to take but I am feeling good in terms of keeping up the pace.   I  am annoyed with myself and so will have to work out my anger and climb my way back up the fleet."

Official opening of the Race Village in Caen at 17:00 local time
The official opening of the village of La Solitaire du Figaro Eric Bompard Cashmere in Caen will be held at 17:00 in the presence of Philippe Duron, Mayor of Caen and president of the Urban Community Caen la mer, Laurent Beauvais, President of the Region lower Normandy and Jean-Léonce Dupont, Chairman of the General Council of Calvados.

Published in Figaro
Seasoned Beneteau Solitaire du Figaro sailor Nigel King, from Lymington UK, is currently in Perros-Guirec, Northern Brittany, preparing for the Solitaire du Figaro, which starts this Sunday.

King who is no stranger to this annual, French 1,695-mile marathon, having competed in it twice before (2007 and 2009) has put a lot of work into this particular campaign in an effort to improve on his previous performances. Now, with support from his sponsors including title sponsor E-line Orthodontics, and the Artemis Offshore Academy, King says he is fairly happy with preparation for this race and is now looking forward to getting started.

lasolitaire1

Chatting from the dockside this morning, King commented: "I am actually really excited about the prospects of this one, and thankfully less nervous than I was in 2009. I think because I'd had such a bad one in 2007, when I had to abandon the race, I had a lot of pressure to improve. Thankfully I had a decent result finishing 23rd, but I am now keen to improve on that."

King admits to having set himself a much harder target for this race, but because he has learnt such a lot over the last two years and knows what to expect from the race, he says he has more confidence in his own ability. "I now feel it is achievable and realistic to get a good result but to do so, I am going to have to sail the best I've ever sailed in a Figaro as there are some exceptionally talented sailors out there."

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One of King's most recent successes was finishing a creditable second place overall in the solo Transmanche Race aboard E-line Orthodontics where many of the top Figaro sailors were competing. Before heading to France for the Solitaire du Figaro, King completed the Transatlantic Race as skipper aboard Chris Bull's Cookson 50, Jazz, finishing first overall in IRC Class 2.

The Solitaire du Figaro however, is the key event in the Figaro circuit, which means the competition is always extremely high. Racing takes place in identical Figaro Bénéteau 2 class yachts to a strict, one-design rule to ensure the racing is fair as possible but because the four-leg race spans over a month (from 31 July- 28 August), and the course takes the fleet to and fro across the Channel, it is tactically extremely challenging.

Commenting on the start and the first 320-mile leg of the race from Perros-Guirec to Caen, northern France, King says it will be interesting: "The current weather situation shows light winds not only for the Prologue later today, but also for the start on Sunday. It seems like we won't get much more than 10-15kts which means the tidal effects will play a big role."

Although it hasn't been confirmed yet, the course of the first leg is likely to take the fleet from northern France to a waypoint at the Needles Fairway off the Isle of Wight. Having started at 1100 local time on Sunday, the estimated time of arrival at the Needles will be sometime on Tuesday, which means anyone in the vicinity should get a spectacular sight of the fleet. If the long-term weather forecast remains light, however, the fleet will be sent directly to Caen.

Follow Nigel King's progress aboard at nigelkingyachting.com, or follow the race at www.lasolitaire.com/EN

Published in Figaro

UK sailor Nigel King who recently finished a creditable second place overall in the Transmanche Race sailing his Figaro class yacht – E-line Orthodontics – is currently competing in the Transatlantic Race aboard Chris Bull's Cookson 50, Jazz writes Sue Pelling.

King's recent success in the highly competitive Figaro class, was just the sort of result he was looking for in the run up to the Solitaire du Figaro – the key event on the Figaro circuit – which starts in less than a month's time (29 July).

King will be sailing into Dun Laoghaire when the Figaro race stops here in August.

As a passionate, and particularly versatile sailor who manages to compete equally well solo or in a team, King's aim as skipper of Jazz in the Transatlantic Race is to ensure the yacht obtains the best possible result for owner Chris Bull, who had to pull out the race to attend his son's wedding.

Speaking from the dockside in Newport Rhode Island just before he started the Transatlantic Race earlier today King said: "Chris is a very active sailing owner, so for him not to be here for this race is a big thing. What is even more significant is the fact that he is allowing us to race his boat without him. We as a team all recognise we are pretty fortunate to have an owner who puts his trust in us entirely, so we really need to make sure we deliver on results, and getting the boat across the Atlantic safely."

King, who is skippering Jazz, will be working closely alongside Mike Broughton (navigator) and Christian Rippard (principal helmsman) during the 2,975-nautical mile race from Newport Rhode Island to Lizard Point, England. Other members of the team include Anthony (Ski) Haines (boat captain), and a selection of Australians who, according to King, are a great bunch of guys. "They are really hardworking and into their sailing and ultra competitive. They all work well together which means we have a really good team onboard."

The Transatlantic Race is a key event in the seven-race Atlantic Ocean Racing Series, which means to qualify for the series; at least three races must be completed including the Transatlantic Race. Having completed two races already this season – the RORC Caribbean 600, and the Annapolis to Newport Race – Team Jazz is looking forward to a respectable result in her third, qualifying race. Speaking realistically about what lies ahead, King said: "I am not a great believer in saying 'we are going out there to win'. If you go out there with nothing but a win as your goal, you focus so much on that you forget to sail properly. We've talked about how we want to perform and that is to sail to the highest level we can and hope that, if we make all the right choices and minimise our mistakes, the result will come."

King estimates a 14-day crossing depending on the conditions. According to the forecast the first few days could bring a light to moderate south-westerly breeze. King added: "There's a bit of a front coming through which is kind of messing the picture up a bit but we could have a few days of potentially 10-15kts, maybe slightly more spinnaker running as we go up the coast to Nova Scotia depending on whether we take a southern or northern route."

Once they cross the finish line at the Lizard, the team will have a 24-hour delivery trip back to Cowes for the prizegiving event at the Royal Yacht Squadron. For King however, it will be a case of jumping ship again, this time back onboard his Figaro – E-line Orthodontics – where he'll sail back to his home in Lymington before heading straight across the Channel to Perros-Guirec, France for the start of the Solitaire du Figaro.

Published in Figaro

Two Irish skippers are among the 71 'pre-entries', including 24 rookies, for the La Solitaire du Figaro race.

Paul O'Riain and Mick Liddy, both from Dublin, will race back into their home port on the only foreign leg of the race course when it calls her in this August.

An increasing number of non-French sailors and some big names in offshore racing, the Figaro, promises to deliver exceptional racing for the 42nd edition of the race over the 1,695 mile-course.

The return of past winners
Confident with last year's victory, including three out of four leg wins, Armel Le Cléac'h returns to defend his title once more. Following a very good 2010 season, the French skipper returns with the intent of equaling the record held by some of his predecessors, Philippe Poupon, Jean Le Cam and Michel Desjoyeaux, to make it a hat trick by winning the Figaro circuit's crowning event. "The Solitaire is an interesting race in sporting terms. To date, there are two of us who could make the hat trick in 2010, Nico (Troussel) and myself. If I am at the start this year, my goal is to do as well as in 2010! " Said Armel Le Cléac'h.

Three winners of previous editions will be at the start: Eric Drouglazet (winner in 2001), Jérémie Beyou (winner in 2005), and Nicolas Lunven (winner in 2009). There are many other contenders aiming for the top spot on the podium, including Gildas Morvan, Thierry Chabagny, Gérald Véniard, and Frédéric Duthil...Have registered their entry alongside so many other competition regulars.

Formidable competitors
The mainstays of the Figaro Bénéteau Class, which include other candidates for the podium, have also registered entry: Eric Péron, Thomas Rouxel, Laurent Pellecuer, Jeanne Grégoire, Erwan Tabarly,Romain Attanasio, Nicolas Berenger, Marc Emig... Jean-Paul Mouren returns to compete on a record 25th edition.

The young emerging talent will be forces to be reckoned with, Adrien Hardy, winner of the third leg last year, Fabien Delahaye 1st rookie 2009), Paul Meilhat, Anthony Marchand (1st rookie 2010), Yoann Richomme ... No matter how many miles sailed, they know that victory is gained only after crossing the finish line, and fully intend to apply the lessons learned in their previous editions.

Record: 24 rookies in the running
This year is also marked by an absolute record number of rookie entries; 24 pre-entries with some impressive CVs, who will present serious competition for the old hands at the event. Some of the best skippers in the Mini class, such as Xavier Macaire, Charlie Dalin, David Sineau and Luce Molinier will compete for the first time in La Solitaire du Figaro. Other very promising young skippers are also on the list, such as Alexis Littoz-Baritel, 2008 Match Racing French Champion, Morgan Lagravière with a background in Olympic 49er racing and Camille Square from the F18. Each will want to demonstrate their full potential along each of the 4 legs that lie ahead of them this Summer.

La Solitaire du Figaro attracts an increasing number of international competitor's. No less than 5 nationalities will be represented on the event this summer. From Ireland, Paul O'Riain and Mick Liddy will race at home on the only foreign leg of the race course (Dún Laoghaire near Dublin). There will be many English skippers this year: Conrad Humphreys, accustomed to racing on the most prestigious ocean races, will be participating in his first Solitaire du Figaro. Nigel King is back for the third time. One rookie will be selected among the 5 from the Grande Motte Mediterranean Training Centre: Nick Cherry, Sam Goodchild, Nick Houchin, Olivier Young, Simon Hiscocks, double World Champion 49er, and Phil Sharp, who won the Route du Rhum 2006 in Class 40, to step forward to compete on the Figaro. The Portuguese solo sailor, Francisco Lobato, and the Franco-German Isabelle Joschke also return to race.

"There will be fierce competition..."
Race director Jacques Caraës considers that, "There will be fierce competition... on this 42nd edition of La Solitaire du Figaro. Eric Bompard Cashmere, the new main partner, could not hope for a more impressive line-up of skippers: four former winners of the event will be competing, two dozen contenders for podium places, 24 rookies, a sign of prosperity in this great classic of the summer season, especially with strong participation of foreign entries. Five nations will be represented, including the particularly competitive British-American. They will certainly have to reckon with the talented Portuguese Francisco Lobato, strengthened with the experience gained last season. There will be fierce competition...."

At six months from the start, given the upcoming programme and potential of the candidates, the pressure is already starting to mount. As every year, the competition looks particularly intense, and the entertainment captivating - a memorable experience for competitors as well as for those who will follow this 42nd edition closely.

2011 Race

PERROS GUIREC
Village opens: Saturday 23rd July
Eric Bompard prologue: Friday 29th July
Start of the 1st leg: Sunday 31st July

CAEN (320 miles)
Expected arrival of the boats: Tuesday 2nd August
Start of the 2nd leg: Sunday 7th August

DÚN LAOGHAIRE (470 miles)
Expected arrival of the boats: Wednesday 10th August
Start of the 3rd leg: Sunday 14th August

LES SABLES D'OLONNE (475 miles)
Expected arrival of the boats: Wednesday 17th August
Start of the 4th leg: Sunday 21st August

DIEPPE (430 miles)
Expected arrival of the boats: Wednesday 24th August
Closing regatta: Sunday 28th August

www.lasolitaire.com

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Published in Figaro
In a major coup for Dun Laoghaire and for the National Yacht Club, a top French fixture involving 50 single-handed yachts will visit the east coast port next Summer. Dun Laoghaire will be the only stop-over outside France for next year's prestigious La Solitaire du Figaro race.

The race is regarded as one of the world's solo sailing great events and one of the toughest on the international sailing calendar. Although the race has strong connections with Ireland, this is the first time the 42-year-old fixture will visit the island's largest sailing centre.

The fleet will moor in Dun Laoghaire harbour at the finish of the second leg, and will be hosted by the National Yacht Club. Competitors are expected to stay for a week. This year the race visited Kinsale, and in the past has also visited the Irish ports of Crosshaven, Howth and Dingle.

La Solitaire is going back to its roots. Perros-Guirec and Brittany from where the race will start on Sunday, 31st July 2011, are the most faithful of all host ports in the history of the race as Perros-Guirec has hosted a record number, this being the 16th time that the town will welcome the race.

The second French stop-over in 2011 will be Caen, where the race will go back for the third time. The harbour and the village are ideally situated in the city centre and will surely gather thousands of visitors during the week-long stay, with a full schedule of social events organised by the local municipality.

Dieppe will host the finish and close of La Solitaire du Figaro 2011 race. The Haute-Normandie region town expects to see the finish on or around August 24th.

The National Yacht Club is delighted to welcome this prestigious event and will communicate further developments in the very near future.

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro

Details for next year's course of the La Solitaire du Figaro race were revealed at the Paris Boat Show yesterday. The race will comprise four French towns and Dun Laoghaire will be the only foreign port of call when the boats are expected to arrive on 10 August.

In spite of Dublin airport weather delays a National YC contingent headed by Commodore Peter Ryan made it to Paris in time for the announcement.

The single-handed sailors will face a 1,695 nautical mile race in a traditional format with four legs with a decidedly northern course, set between the 46th and 53rd parallels. The Breton town of Perros-Guirec will be host to the festivities on 23 July and up to the first race leg to Caen, some 320 nautical miles, on 31 July. The course will not follow a direct route as the competitors will follow the British coastline before sailing down into the Bay of Seine.

Following several days for rest, the fleet shall once again set sail on 7 August for the second leg, of 470 nautical miles, that will take the Figaro Bénéteau 2 towards Dún Laoghaire. After leaving the Bay of Seine, a 40-mile or so run, the first obstacle will be the passage of the Barfleur point. The course remains inshore, as the single-handed sailors will sail along the Cotentin to the cape of the Hague, before heading towards the Channel Islands.

It will be compulsory to leave the islands of Aurigny, Herm and Guernsey to starboard. The skippers will then take on a long crossing of the English Channel, 120 nautical miles to Land's End. The last third of the course is a sail up almost full north over 190 nautical miles to reach Dún Laoghaire.

The Dublin Bay harbour is set to be a discovery for the visiting sailors and where the National Yacht Club are to be the host venue. After a few days rest and recuperation, the fleet then will set sail on 14 August to The Vendée and Les Sables d'Olonne. This third leg is long at 475 nautical miles with boats expected on 17 August.

Four days later and the final leg departs on 21 August with the boats setting a course for Dieppe, to arrive on 24 August. On the following day the Normandy port will also be hosting a closing regatta. For more information www.lasolitaire.com

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro

One of Dun Laoghaire's major international events next season, the visit of the French single-handed fleet, La Solitaire du Figaro, in August, will have a public festival running alongside say the National YC organisers. Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council are behind the festival.

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro

In a major announcement for Dun Laoghaire sailing a top French fixture involving 50 single handed yachts will visit the east coast port next Summer. Dun Laoghaire will be the only stop over outside France for next year's  prestigious La Solitaire du Figaro race.

The race is regarded as one of the world's solo sailing great events and one of the toughest on the international sailing calendar. 

Although  having strong connections with Ireland this is the first time the 42 year old fixture will visit Ireland's largest sailing centre.

The fleet will moor in Dun Laoghaire harbour at the finish of the second leg and hosted by the National Yacht Club. They are expected to stay for a week.

This year the race visited Kinsale and in the past has also visited the Irish ports of Crosshaven, Howth and Dingle.

One month since the finish of the Solitaire du Figaro 2010, event organisers are already looking ahead, to 2011. The 42nd edition announces a new route: four legs, four French ports and one foreign stopover. The full details will be unveiled at the Paris Boat Show, on Friday December 3rd.

La Solitaire is going back to its roots. Perros-Guirec and Brittany from where the race will start on Sunday, 31st July 2011, are the most faithful of all host ports in the history of the race as Perros-Guirec has the record number of participations, this being the 16th time that the town will welcome the race. The last time was in 2005 and there is no doubt that Perros-Guirec will do its absolute best for this comeback.

The second French stopover in 2011 will be Caen, where the race will go back for the third time. The harbour and the village are ideally situated in the city centre and will surely gather thousands of visitors during the week long stay, with a full schedule of social events organised by the local municipality.

The third French rendez-vous is les Sables d'Olonne, which requires little introduction. In 2007, the port in the Vendée region celebrated the victory of Michel Desjoyeaux and since then the local authorities and the town live in very close ties to yachting, always ready to welcome sailors of all sorts, and namely from the Vendée Globe race... undoubtedly the people from Les Sables will show a very warm welcome to the skippers competing on the 42nd edition of La Solitaire next summer, as they have already done on six occasions on previous occasions as a host port for a race start or finish.

Dieppe will host the finish and close of La Solitaire du Figaro 2011 race. The Haute-Normandie region town expects to see the finish on a around August 24th. The town first hosted the race in 2009, regarded as a great success and one that the organisers wish to repeat by returning of for the finish.  Locals in Dieppe will welcome the fleet over the final miles and will put on a whole host of celebrations through to Sunday 28th of August for the traditional final parade sail.

Just one stop over outside of France is planned and this is to be held in Ireland.  La Solitaire will go to Dún Laoghaire for the first time, just ten minutes from the bustling town centre of Dublin at the finish of the second leg. The second stage promises to be a nice discovery for the Figaro sailors who will appreciate the charming Bay of Dublin and National Yacht Club's members warm welcome.

Perros-Guirec, Caen, Dún Laoghaire, Les Sables d'Olonne and Dieppe: five cities for a 42nd edition marked by many novelties. Sailing across the Channel, the Atlantic ocean, the Irish sea and the Celtic sea, the Solitaire du Figaro 2011 guarantees to be one of the season's greatest sports events.

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro
Page 8 of 10

Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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