Displaying items by tag: 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."
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.
The 42nd edition of La Solitaire du Figaro race got off to a good start on Sunday in Perros Guirec, despite the light five-knot westerly breeze and unusual downwind start. Hundreds of fans lined the cliffs and crowded onto the many spectator boats to see the fleet of Figaro sailors set off on the first 320-mile leg of the four stage month long race.
Treated to a colourful downwind spinnaker start at 11 am, which was fired by Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the French Minister for the Environment, the crowds watched on as the fleet headed off to the first mark blanketed by a curtain of mist and haze.
The fleet is headed for Dun Laoghaire and a special festival is planned around the fleets arrival on August 12th. The local council has installed a special marina to greet the fleet who will be based at the Carlise pier in front of the National Yacht Club.
In conjunction with Alliance Francaise the National Yacht Club will hold a reception on Friday 12th August to celebrate the stopover.
Nicolas Lunven (Generali), winner of the 2009 edition, reached the Radio France mark first, two miles into the race, followed by Thomas Rouxel (Bretagne-Credit Mutuel Performance) and Eric Drouglazet's shocking pink Luisina spinnaker rounding in third. Sam Goodchild (Artemis), the first British entry and youngest competitor as well as first sailor rookie, rounding in seventh. Notably Isabelle Joschke (Galettes Saint Michel), the Franco-German sailor competing on her fourth Solitaire with a new sponsor, fought her way out of the busy start line and rounded in sixth place.
Spinnakers were swiftly packed away and genoas raised to sail with care round, leaving to starboard the rocks at the the Seven Islands or Sept Iles plateau, before the 90 mile crossing of the English Channel to Hands Deep, the next waypoint, in Plymouth Sound. It looks like the fleet will have a dark first night with little moonlight and a low gradient breeze as the damp and light front travels across the Channel from West to East and dies out on the approach to the southern English coastline. Rounding the next point of passage at Hands Deep buoy off Plymouth could be further complicated by the turning tide at 07:00.
Follow the progress the skippers make with the position reports and rankings will from 16:00 local French time, updated 5 times a day and are available on www.lasolitaire.com.
Sam Goodchild (Artemis) before the start in Perros Guirec:
"The weather forecasts look slightly better this morning, so I think we could have a bit of breeze for the start. I am going to focus on keeping up with the fleet, but that is not to say that I will not do my own thing. I do not agnate to take major risks and finish in Caen six hours behind the leader having to play catch up for the rest of the race. There are four Brits, so it would be nice to beat them and a few French too! The main thing I need to try and manage is sleep well balance the timing and not sleep too much or too little. For some good luck and energy I have my special Grenada Chocolate Company bar!"
Nigel King (E-Line Orthodontics):"This is the first Figaro race start without my wife, so it is a bit strange, but hopefully together with a bunch of friends she can come and see the boats sail past Fairway at the Needles. Looking forward to starting and getting off now. Not got any special snacks on board, just lots of green apples! "
Phil Sharp (Spirit of Independence) being seen off by his father, :"Ready now to get racing and taking my granny's special "go fast" fruit cake. I have a quarter for each leg and it is enormously good and keeps the morale going. The pressure is on to do well, but I am feeling driven."
Conrad Humphreys (DMS): "I always get a little nervous before starts. Probably, in many ways more so for this race because it is so intense and the competition is all around you, whereas for a Transatlantic it's a different set of pressure."
Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat) upon leaving the dock this morning in Perros-Guirec: "I slept very well! Given the conditions we have to start, I am not going to get stressed at this point. On the contrary, I am feeling quite serene. It is going to be calm, but the stress will be trying to be up at the front from the start and then things will be ok. I am not worried about the calm conditions so long as the boat is moving. If we end up going backwards, then it is not going to be much fun! I just really want to do well this year. That is pretty much how I am feeling before today's start."
Eric Drouglazet (Luisina) on his 19th participation speaks before the start: "This first leg is not looking all that clear, the conditions are not all that endearing! When you train all winter in windy conditions you get to be good at boat handling. When you have such light conditions, it does not come down to how you handle and anyone can do well. The rookies and young ones can do well. There should also be lots of seaweed, which again raised the uncertainty. The English coastline is going to be the toughest part and we will all find out pretty quick who handles it best. We could see puffs of wind just a few metres away allowing for some getaways and gaps to build. So having a good handle and understanding the weather will be key. It is likely we will have to anchor as the tidal coefficients are so high."
Yannig Livory (One Network Energy): "It is not going to be too windy out there! The weather forecasts are not all that clear and the tides have a big coefficient...There are lots of people here who want to win this first leg. The most complicated thing is going to be sailing along the South coast of England because there are a number of headlands to round. There won't be much time for sleep, but then there should be just three nights at sea."
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.
The growing international interest in the race, now in its 42nd year, keeps the event in the limelight. Race Director Jacques Caraës has carefully designed the course this year to keep the challenge of dealing with tides, currents and local effects woven in with long days and nights of racing. Once again experience, instinct and talent will reward the best when hard tactical decisions are called for.
"The quality and technical level of the skippers participating in the 2011 Solitaire du Figaro reflects more than ever the calibre of the race. For sure it will be an edition with much suspense, the true Ultimate Challenge!" Jacques Caraës said.
The top players
Three past winners of the Solitaire du Figaro will be racing in an attempt to join that elite club of skippers that have two overall victories to their name. Amongst them are Nicolas Lunven, who won the title in 2009 and is regularly at the top of the class leaderboard. He will be up against Jérémie Beyou, winner in 2005 and one of the top players in short-handed offshore sailing. Eric Drouglazet, the third participant to have won the race in the past, took the top podium spot in 2001 and has long been a central character on the Figaro circuit. Frédéric Duthil, Gildas Morvan and Thierry Chabagny have all earned podium finishes and will be doing their level best to finally get to the top step of the podium. And how could one forget the steel-willed Jean-Paul Mouren who will be competing in his 25th Solitaire du Figaro! But the winner may well come from another source.
"Those who aim for the podium are a few and are not there to try and get second best in the race. Winners or not, all will be doing their utmost to win" commented Jacques Caraës.
And from the UK...
Since 1970, 13 Britons have participated in Solitaire du Figaro. Nigel King is now the doyen of that group coming back for his third attempt. Amongst his compatriots are Conrad Humphreys of Vendée Globe fame, the very current Phil Sharp of mini transat success and the extremely talented Sam Goodchild, prodigy of the Artemis Academy.
"There has never been such a strong British presence at the Figaro before. I'm sure young Sam Goodchild and the more experienced Nigel King, Conrad Humphreys and Phil Sharp between them will lead the British attack on the French sailors" continued Caraës.
With all the necessary ingredients for a top-grade sports competition, the 2011 Solitaire du Figaro will be as interesting as ever with its emotion, suspense and action. A rendez-vous not to be missed, starting with the Prologue in Perros-Guirec on 29 July.
2011 Key Dates:
Village opens: Saturday 23rd July
Eric Bompard Prologue: Friday 29th July
Start of the 1st leg: Sunday 31st July
CAEN (320 miles)
ETA: Tuesday 2nd August
Start of the 2nd leg: Sunday 7th August
DÚN LAOGHAIRE (470 miles)
ETA: Wednesday 10th August
Start of the 3rd leg: Sunday 14th August
LES SABLES D'OLONNE (475 miles)
ETA: Wednesday 17th August
Start of the 4th leg: Sunday 21st August
DIEPPE (430 miles)
ETA: Wednesday 24th August
A combination of an impossibly tight deadline, the high cost of entry and an appalling vista for sailing sponsorship in Ireland this season has halted any chance of an Irish entry into the La Solitaire du Figaro race when it sails in to Dun Laoghaire harbour on August 10th.
Competitive race entry costs ranged from anywhere between €60-250,000.
As late as February National Yacht Club organisers were touting the possibilities of two Dublin entries in to the race. It was a scenario that would have added extra spice for an Irish audience during the Figaro's only foreign stopover at the Irish east coast port.
A 71 boat fleet is expected to stay in Dun Laoghaire for four days and the National Yacht Club is staging a special festival around it.
Latest La Solitaire du Figaro news here
Irish solo sailing fans may be interested in the annual Solo Racing Festival at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble on Saturday 12th March.
Given the Figaro race is coming to Dun Laoghaire in August a talk on the Artemis Academy with John Thorn (Figaro 2) will be of particular interest.
Owen Clarke's designer Merfyn Owen, who lives in Hamble will be attending as well as colleagues from their brokerage partners Boatshed Performance.
So whether your interest be solo sailing or short-handed sailing in general they will be there to answer questions on design, construction, as well as sale/purchase and charter of offshore performance yachts.
The Race Fair is an open house from 10.00 for race organisers to meet and greet potential skippers from; Global Ocean/Class 40, Mocra, UK mini group, RORC, SORC, Biscay Challenge, AZAB. Floating boat show, 8 boats including the OC class 40, 2 minis, A35, J105, Figaro 2, Sunfast 3200.
There is a Book Signing, Alex Bennett signing copies of High Seas High Stakes and showing Fuji DVD Mike Golding is opening the talks at 11,00.
Winning Mind Set with Ian Brown, sports psychologist
Global Ocean race with Oliver Dewar
Two Star/Ostar with John Lewis, RWYC
30m trimaran design with Nigel Irens (Idec, Sodebo)
Artemis Academy first term report with John Thorn (Figaro 2)
Route du Rhum with Marco Nannini, (class 40)
all in the spendid riverside setting of the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble.
Dubliner Paul O'Riain's comprehensive article on his Figaro debut experience in 2007 has moved, Click this link for it and the latest La Solitaire du Figaro news.
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.
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.
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
Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Irish sailor Paul O'Riain has announce that due to a lack of sponsorship, he is withdrawing his bid to enter the Figaro single-handed offshore race this year.
"It is with regret that I have had to withdraw my entry from La Solitaire du Figaro 2010. While I have received a lot of encouragement and support about my plans for this year and beyond, I have not managed to put in place enough of a budget. Therefore I will not be on the start line of this prestigious solo race this year, which will visit beautiful Kinsale (the most visited port in the history of the event) in August."
"Thank you to all who have shown support for my plans and to the sponsors who were willing to commit at this stage. It has been very encouraging and gratifying in the current economic environment and great to see that sponsors are willing to invest to promote their businesses and are thinking long term. I think I need to try harder to ensure I will be on the start line next year and am going to continue on."
Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro hereLatest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here