Displaying items by tag: La Solitaire du Figaro
#kenefick – The night has passed and the fleet has now rounded Ile d'Yeu at the Southern most end of the course and are on the long leg North. The winds are now fresher blowing at 20 knots from the South West. The fleet will be under big spinnaker roaring along. We can see the speeds on AIS are hovering around the 9-10 knots.
The accuracy of the ranking taken this morning as the fleet rounded the island is not as reliable as the one at Birvideaux last night but still nevertheless a good indicator. The general order has been respected although there are a few climbers and droppers. After the second night at sea fatigue is certainly taking its toll. Some of the skippers have dropped down the ranking a bit and the sign of strength is to be able to make places and pick people off towards the end of the race. Overnight the number of boats and the time between David Kenefick and first Rookie Claire Pruvot has dropped and David is now just one place and seven minutes behind her. The published provisional rankings show him in 14th place which is probably accurate to within one place as the AIS on one of the boats we know to be ahead of him hasn't shown up. But it is close and there are four other boats within five minutes of him just behind.
With about 90 miles left to sail the wind is forecast to slowly head them all day and they may well finish this leg on the wind. ETA at the finish line is still late evening today.
1 5H56 MEILHAT Paul SKIPPER MACIF 2011
2 6H02 LE CLEAC'H Armel BANQUE POPULAIRE
3 6H02 ELIES Yann GROUPE QUEGUINER LEUCEMIE ESPOIR
4 6H04 LUNVEN Nicolas GENERALI
5 6H13 RUYANT Thomas DESTINATION DUNKERQUE
6 6H12 JOSSIER Nicolas IN EXTENSO experts comptables
7 6H12 BOMBY Henry Christine
8 6H13 RIVET Frédéric D.F.D.S. Seaways
9 6H15 DESJOYEAUX Michel T.B.S.
10 6H17 VILLION Julien SEIXO HABITAT
11 6H24 MACAIRE Xavier SKIPPER HERAULT
12 6H28 CHABAGNY Thierry GEDIMAT
13 6H33 PRUVOT Claire PORT DE CAEN-OUISTREHAM
14 6H40 KENEFICK David FULL IRISH
15 6H43 AHRWEILLER Joan Région BASSE NORMANDIE
16 6H43 HOCHARD Benoît IB - MARKETING
17 6H45 BOUTTEL Jack ARTEMIS 77
18 6H45 GOODCHILD Sam SCHELTER BOX DISASTER RELIEF
19 7H02 HILL Edmund ARTEMIS 37
20 7H50 LE BAUD Gilles CARNAC THALASSO & SPA
NON REPERE AIS _CONTACT RADIO CHERRY Nick ARTEMIS 23
NON REPERE AIS BIARNES Vincent PRATI'BUCHES
Follow David Kenefick's progress in his final qualification race for this Summer's figaro race. Today's race at 320nm miles is the longest the Crosshaven sailor will have completed to date. He's also lining up against some of the best French skippers. more here.
#figaro – If solo sailor David Kenefick successfully completes completes tomorrow's 'Lien Cartographie Solo Arrimer' race he officially qualifies for this Summer's Figaro race, a long held ambition for the young Munster sailor.
The race at 320nm miles is the longest the Crosshaven sailor will have completed to date in his boat Aquarius. He's also lining up against the best French skippers (See below for entry list)
Organised by the Water Sports Sablais since 2003 Sables d'Olonne, the Solo STOW runs between the islands of Ré, Yeu and Belle-Ile on the French West Coast.
While a large depression, accompanied by high winds, is poised to sweep west over France today, the weather files show a weaker low pressure system from Thursday.
There will be plenty of competition from previous Vendee Globe sailors plus he's also racing against Michel Desjoyeaux, (a three time Figaro winner) and (two time Vendee globe winner) but the Irish sailor says he has something of an advantage in that he is in Desjoyeaux's old boat after chartering it for the year!
Full list of entries below:
Joan Ahrweiller / REGION NORMANDY, Jeremiah BEYOU / MASTER COCK, Henry Bomby / Zhik - MADE FOR WATER, Jack Bouttell / ARTEMIS 77; Thierry Chabagny / GEDIMAT, Nick CHERRY / ARTEMIS 23; Michel DESJOYEAUX / TBS; Frédéric DUTHIL / Sepalumic; Yann ELIES / GROUP QUEGUINER LEUKEMIA HOPE, Matthew GIROLET / LAFONT PRESS, Sam GOODCHILD / VASCO DE GAMA, Edmund HILL / ARTEMIS 37; Benoit HOCHART / AQUARIUS: David Kenefick / FULL IRISH; Morgan LAGRAVIERE / VENDEE; Gilles LE BAUD / Carnac Thalasso & SPA , Armel LE CLEAC'H / CREDIT; Yannig Livory / THERMACOTE France; Alexis Loison / Group FIVA Nicolas LUNVEN / GENERALI; Xavier MACAIRE / SKIPPER HERAULT, Paul Meilhat / SKIPPER MACIF 2011, Jean-Pierre Nicol / BERNARD CONTROLS, Claire PRUVOT / PORT DE CAEN OUISTREHAM; Frederic RIVET / DFDS SEAWAYS; Julien VILLION / Seixo HABITAT.
Update from David:
Well this is it. It's the night before the start of the Solo Arrimer Race. We are in Les Sables, in the Atlantic, with the tide and of course the beautiful, not, Spring weather. The pictures I posted on my facebook page two days ago were a freak window of sun and light winds before the rot set back in and it has been blowing over 30 knots ever since. Today it barely stopped raining. But that is the lot of a solo sailor. Get up and get on with it.
It's a long course they have set us, the longest I've sailed at 305 miles, but ironically it may end up being only 36 hours in duration as there is plenty of wind and it is mostly a reach up and down the French coast. We head initially South East to pass inside ile de Ré and under the bridge that joins it to the mainland by La Rochelle, before heading North all the way up inside Belle Isle to a mark just off the tip of the Quiberon Penninsula. We then return via Les Sables d'Olonne to round Ile de Ré again, but this time in the other direction before heading to the finish line again.
My objectives for the race are, number one to finish the race, number two to stay in touch with the legends that have also entered the race too for as long as possible, and three to gather as much experience as possible.
I've learnt this week about the unbelievable amount of preparation that goes into entering and being cleared to race. The amount of paperwork is unbelievable but all necessary. We have been working hard on weather and navigation briefings as the start time rolls closer and we have a better idea of what we will experience on the weather side and hence at what time and what state of the tide we will round the marks on the course. We have been checked by safety scrutineers, sail measurers, the press and of course Mathilde at the Class association has diligently helped us all with the certificates for this and that and the other ,... oh and the PLB battery expiration date!
Safety is a serious business and no one takes it lightly. I already appreciate more now than I did a week ago about why things are done the way they are done. Being in this environment for a week allows us to learn from the older and more experienced skippers about their preparation, what their priorities are and where our own preparation is lacking.
Anyway, now it's like the night before your final school exams. The revision has been done to a greater or lessor extent, there is not much more we can do except be fresh in the morning and go out and do it. The exam results should be known sometime in the small hours of Saturday morning when we cross the finish line here again in Les Sables d'Olonne.
#lafigaro – Cork Solo sailor David Kenefick has completed the final leg of the ICOM CUP Méditeranée in fifth place to finish 11th overall and qualified to participate in La Solitaire du Figaro 2013 writes Claire Bateman.
The ICOM Cup is a three stage single handed offshore race in the qualification procedure to compete in Le Solitaire du Figaro 2013. The first stage of the ICOM Cup was a 140nm offshore race to Marseille followed by a day of inshore racing with the return race being somewhat longer with an extra two legs to round the Séte buoy before finishing and thus adding some 36nm to the course. This was the longest race to date in the qualification process. The race threw up all sorts of conditions that included shredding his mainsail in 36 knots of wind gusting 42 necessitating finishing the leg under jib alone.
To give an insight into the race experience I quote as follows from David on the return leg to Le Grande Motte: "We are thirty hours into this race now and although I am in eighth position I have broken away from the leader of the last group. We are moving very slowly along the beach of the Rhone Estuary. The two leaders are ahead around the next mark and have got away, but the group of boats ahead of me from fourth to seventh are most certainly catchable. The sun has gone and it's getting dark and so of course the sea breeze has gone. This transition is my chance. Got to stay focused, keep myself safe, and work intelligently!!"
Kenefick adds: "I finished fifth, the boat ahead was Henry Bomby a twenty two year old from the Artemis Offshore Academy who finished just a few lengths ahead of me after forty eight hours of racing".
This year the 44th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro will start in Bordeaux and go via Porto, Gigón and Roscoff to the fnishing port of Dieppe a distance of approximately 2000 km. The race will commence on June 2nd, 2013.
Overall ICOM Cup Mediterranee results:
1. Xavier Macaire/8/FRA/2d, 16h, 26' 10"
2. Jean Pierre Nicol/68/FRA/2d, 18h, 30' 49"
3. Matthieu Girolet/86/FRA/2d, 22h, 27' 13"
4. Pietro d'Ali/42/ITA/2d, 22h, 52' 30"
5. Jack Bouttell/77/GBR/2d, 23h, 01' 05"
6. Gwenael Gbick/29/FRA/3d, 00h, 15' 49"
7. Ed Hill/37/GBR/3d, 00h, 33', 00"
8. Yves Ravot/31/FRA/3d, 00h, 35' 05"
9. Alexia Barrier/49/FRA/3d, 02h, 11' 55"
10.Henry Bomby/23/GBR/4d, 2h, 29' 23"
11.David Kenefick/45/IRL/4d, 02h, 38' 01"
12.Jean Paul Mouren/13/FRA/5d, 06h, 20' 40"
The Daily Sail details the four legs of the 44th edition of the prestigious and challenging single-handed offshore race, that will take the fleet from Bordeaux to Porto, Gijón, Roscoff and Dieppe - with no changes from the course unveiled in December.
But despite indications that Ireland would have a host port on the race route, following previous stop-overs on Kinsale, Dingle, Howth, Crosshaven and Dun Laoghaire, it appears this summer's running will be a purely continental event.
Organisers Pen Duick have unveiled a four-leg course from 2-23 June that takes in three host ports in France - two of which are welcoming the famous single-handed race for the first time.
The 44th edition of the Solitaire du Figaro begins on 2 June in Bordeaux from where the fleet will head to Spain and Portugal before returning to France, racing along the Channel via Roscoff and the treacherous Bay of Morlaix towards Dieppe in Normandy, which previously hosted the race in 2009 and 2011.
Next year's race is also set to visit Ireland - following previous stop-overs in Kinsale, Dingle, Howth, Crosshaven and Dun Laoghaire - though organisers have yet to nominate the lucky town that will have the honour of hosting the fleet.
Among those competing in the prestigious race will be Ireland's own David Kenefick.
Who thought that the most thrilling part of the third leg would be the finish? It's maybe too soon to tell, but clearly the 8 mile long inshore course and the following run along the green Irish cliffs delivered enough surprises for a whole leg, with continuous changes at the top.
The fleet depart Dun Laoghaire in a rain shower. Photo : Courcoux/Marmara. More Photos on the gallery here
This morning on the pontoons of Dun Laoghaire, an unusual fatigue marked the sailors' faces, as everyone talked about the latest weather forecast. The hint was "be wary" of the apparent simplicity of the 477 miles to Les Sables. And wary they had to be since the very first minutes of the inshore race the situation appeared to be not the simplest one.
In extremely tricky conditions, breeze shifting, coming from all directions and going from 5 to 15 knots in a matter of seconds, it was hard for the sailors to "read" on the water where the next puff was going to come from and going from the top to the bottom of the fleet was just a question of not be stuck in a bubble of light air.
Photo: Michael Chester
At the Radio France mark a trio formed by Fabien Delahaye (Port de Caen Ouistreham), Vincent Biarnes (Prati'Bûches) and Jeanne Grégoire (Banque Populaire) had a huge lead on the rest of the fleet, but then shortly later everything changed dramatically. As confirmed by Jeanne Gregoire's word: "For once I started well but now I'm trailing at the back of the fleet. It's a mess but you have to have fun anyway...When I was going downwind under spinnaker to the Radio France mark, I crossed Isa (Isabelle Joschke) and I told her: don't worry there is always the CLS ranking. I had two or three miles lead on her but she just flew past me... Now I've got 25 knots and two minutes ago I had 2!"
Photo: Michael Chester
According to the latest position report, at 16:00 it was Portuguese Francisco Lobato (ROFF) to have a slight advantage on experienced Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) and on overall leaderboard leader Jérémie Beyou (BPI). First British skipper was reported to be young Sam Goodchild (Artemis) in fourteenth position and third in the special newcomers' "rookie" standing, chased by Jersey based Phil Sharp (The Spirit of Independence), also racing his first Solitaire du Figaro. Conrad Humphreys (DMS) was in 21st position while Nigel King (E-Line Orthodontics) in 42nd.
Photo: Michael Chester
Up to the next mark at Wolf Rock (at the tip of Cornwall), that is to say over the next 180 miles, it is likely that the fleet will keep on sailing on a long starboard tack and positioning oneself well on the course will be key.
But, for now it's impossible to say who will take the best option. The answer will only be known tomorrow, around noon, when the sailors will be approaching the Scilly Islands.
Fabien Delahaye (Port de Caen Ouistreham): "An Irish kind of start..."
"Another Irish kind of start... Actually it's like starting all it over again. We had light wind, current, rainstorms. It's not so funny, I'm no longer in the lead. I hope this is going to settle and the wind stops to do the yo-yo, as long as we're we're sailing leeward of the Irish coast you have to get what you get."
Vincent Biarnes (Prati'Bûches): "Now it is gone"
"The breeze has been increasing since we passed the Radio France mark. Fabien and I we had such a lead, but now, it is gone. The wind turned so quickly, could not manage to take the spinnaker down and the boat was going her own way! It's very shifty and the air coming down the cliffs is strong and gusty. Fabien overtook me just before the mark, he got a better puff and jumped ahead, no more than ten seconds enough to cross the line in front of me."
Photo: Michael Chester
Phil Sharp (The Spirit of Independence) on the eve of the start commented:
"I'm quite pleased for how things are going actually. It's great to be up there with the front group, I've had a bit of a heck just before the finish of the last leg, lost lots of places there but I'm very confident on how things have gone. I'll try and keep it going, hopefully finish in the top ten another couple of times, it would be very nice. Keep things clean, that's what we have to do in this race. Keep the pace and be consistent, make the right decision make sure you don't burn yourself up for the finish. We're probably going to have south westerly so it's going to be reaching or close reaching, not much chance to use our spinnaker, not until we get to Brittany, and it's going to be tactical all the way. Some very interesting choices to make and particularly when we look at the time we will be approaching the raz de Sein which are crucial points to go around. That tack could change everything in the race, if you make a mistake there it can be very costly. Hopefully the tide will be with us, otherwise we won't be moving very quickly. I think you have to do a strategy to minimize the risk. I'm going to go for speed but keep risk very light. It's just not all or nothing. Having yourself in the top ten near the finish and making sensible decision to keep in there... Better than going for a wild strategy early on and then find yourself in the back of the fleet and be forced to make up two hours."
Photo: Michael Chester
Sam Goodchild (Artemis)
"Looks like there will be less wind so it will be more racing than survival. That should be good, hopefully we keep moving all the time, but it's not guaranteed at the moment. I've got my spinnakers back. I don't really know why they keep breaking. We've reinforced everything we know that might break it and we've just got to try not to break them through Leg 3. I've learned a lot about management in the previous leg, learning about yourself, the boat, how to go fast, get the right way, it's a steep learning curve. Generally it's enjoyable, it's up and downs, you try to enjoy it, sailing is what I want to do so...."
To celebrate the stopover of the four-stage 1,695 nautical mile (3,390 km) race, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and the National Yacht Club have joined forces to create the Festival des Bateaux (12-14 Aug).
A festival highlight will be a fireworks display which be held on Friday night at 10pm on the East Pier. In addition during the three-day festival programme includes live bands, street entertainment and a market on the Carlisle Pier. For more details and times of the free event go to www.dlrevents.ie
Visitors to the East Pier can take a closer view of the PSP Cormoran from the quayside where the 23 knot offshore patrol vessel (OPV) will be berthed. The Flamant class (OPV) entered service in 1997 after completion by Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie, Cherbourg, where the 477 tonnes vessel is based.
The 54m/177-ft vessel has two 12.7mm machine guns and is used for fishery monitoring, SAR and patrolling France's Exclusive Economic Zone out to 200 nautical miles / 370 km. In addition she is equipped with a high speed RIB-craft that can be deployed from an internal dock-well at the stern.
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."
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."