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The 2005 Solitaire du Figaro champion crossed the finish line Dún Laoghaire not only to win the second leg but take the overall lead in the four-stage sailing race.  Nicolas Lunven, the 2009 champion was second with Adrien Hardy, who won the stage to Ireland in 2010, third.  Morgan Lagravière, was top rookie in 6th.  The first of the four British sailors, Phil Sharp, was 23rd, just over an hour behind the leader.

The pewter grey skies cleared briefly to let some bright sun through to spotlight the first Figaro on the horizon and reveal the breakaway leader of the 46 solo sailors competing on the second of four legs that make up La Solitaire du Figaro race.  The second leg, 440 miles from Caen to Dún Laoghaire close to Dublin on the East coast of Ireland, set off last Sunday and took just over 65 hours for the winner to complete.  Jérémie Beyou (BPI), blew his spinnaker in the shifty breeze just a couple of miles from the finish, but had been surfing downwind at a blistering average of 14 knots, whilst keeping a close eye on his pursuers as he helmed his boat to victory at 10:15 in the morning.  The successful and experienced French solo sailor, averaged 6.7 knots over the 65 hours and 25 minutes and 16 seconds. He was both jubilant and exhausted upon arrival.

Nicolas Lunven sailing on Generali from France was just under 20 minutes later in second place with Adrien Hardy on Agir Recouvrement finishing third a further 18 minutes astern.  Members of the National Yacht Club, international visiting media, and support shore crew welcomed the skippers on the arrival pontoon with champagne to celebrate.  Rookie, or first time participant to complete the gruelling race was Morgan Lagravière in an impressive 6th.
The four British entries, was headed by Phil Sharp on Spirit of Independence in 23rd, just over an hour behind the leader then Nigel King (E-Line Orthodontics) in 32nd, Sam Goodchild, the youngest skipper at just 21, Sam Goodchild was 33rd  in Artemis, and Conrad Humphreys (DMS) in 40th just over two hours behind the winner.  Francisco Lobato on Roff, who comes from Portugal, finished in 28th place.

The race was really tough and  the conditions, with upwind sailing though squalls, strong tidal currents and rocky channels at the start, were truly demanding. But the adrenaline rush come back for the downwind overnight reach up the Irish Sea to the finish.

All 46 competitors remain in Dún Laoghaire Harbour until the start of leg three on Sunday 14th of August: 475 miles from Dublin to Les Sables d'Olonne in France.

Jérémie Beyou (BPI) – winner in Dún Laoghaire after 440 miles racing from Caen: "Oh my, it feels good to get to the finish line... and in first. I've worked a lot for this race and sometimes it just pays off. It's not easy to be in front and stay there. All in all I feel very happy. Winning is something magical, impossible to explain what you feel, it's just great. It was a though one, squalls at the start and at the finish...it looked like it was going to last forever.  The wind on the last part was coming in from all over the place, shifting continuously.  My big spinnaker just exploded in the final miles of the race, but then I guess it was taking its revenge as I treated it so badly! And the boat too, I reckon Fanch (his shore team ed. note) is going to be busy with the repairs. Last night there were three of us, Nico Lunven, Erwan Tabarly and myself sailing side by side... I really took the gamble by going along the coast on the most direct route, not an easy decision to sail so close to the Irish coastline.  We all knew it was going to be a hard race.  I was the first one to hoist the spinnaker yesterday, the others were waiting and I said to myself: Go Beyou, you can do it!  I did not sleep much on the first night and on the first day either. It was impossible, but I had some rest on the second one, sailing along under the southern British coastline towards Lands End. O would not quite call what I had sleep; it was more like a few siestas on deck to keep an eye on Erwan Tabarly.

Morgan Lagravière (Vendée) sixth and first rookie to finish in Dún Laoghaire 41 minutes and 59 seconds behind the winner: "It's been the toughest leg I've ever sailed. Three hard days and nights in strong wind and choppy sea and not progressing much... I can't say it was fun, I wanted to sail well but it was also frightening, downwind with 35 knots! It was not easy to keep the boat going straight. I'm obviously happy with my result but I need to rest, eat and take a break, think about something different. Honestly,. I'm glad to get into the game, these are very special and interesting races, but they're so tough! It was hard since the very start in Caen and then I was helming all the time. At the finish, when you are already tired, it's not easy to sail under spinnaker in 30 knots, boats surfing at 18: amazing! One realizes that it is so easy to fall overboard, when the boat is rocking and jumping. I've started this project with Vendée and I would do anything to race well, even if it's cold, the food is awful, no sleep and you end up totally exhausted. It's nice to be back ashore and put things into perspective: I'm more experienced now and I got a good result."

Francisco Lobato (ROFF) from Portugal finishes 28th and 1 hour 46 minutes and 26 seconds behind the winner: "This second leg was not much better than the first one. I started well, but then almost all my options were not right and I kept loosing ground on the leaders. Between Land's End and the St George Channel I decided to go East, it didn't pay off... Only on the final downwind part, while approaching the finish, I managed to climb back some ten/twelve places by staying more inshore. I can't say I'm happy with the result."

Phil Sharp (Spirit of Independence) – first Briton to finish in Dún Laoghaire: « It was a hard race, it was very testing in certain places but they were actually very exciting and enjoyable conditions. I hit a particularly good set of waves and I was just Surfing along at 18knots for about half a minute. Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable, we're all insane! »

Nigel King (E-Line Orthodontics) and Sam Goodchild (Artemis) were fighting neck-and-neck for much of the leg:  "We had a chat last night, we were close enough to talk to each other! I've had a better leg than last leg but I didn't sail the first eighteen hours very well. I don't know what's going on, I lost a lot of time in the first twenty-four hours and then spend the rest of the race trying to figure out how to recover."

Conrad Humphreys (DMS) decided to stay to the right fleet to avoid an area of high pressure initially forecast, but now questions that decision: "I realised I'd made a mistake by not crossing over to the Irish coast early enough but I'm happy, we've got here in one piece and I'm still in very close contention with the rest of the pack, so that's the most important thing. I love Ireland and I'm sure there's a very good pint of Guinness waiting for me!"

Sam Godchild (Artemis) whose decision to tack early upon rounding the Channel Islands: "That was a bad idea, I got my timings wrong. There were three big tactical decisions, the first two I made were wrong which was disappointing and I think I could have done better in this leg. The third was ok and I made up for a lot of time lost after Land's End."

Published in Figaro

Crossing the Dún Laoghaire finish line this morning at 09:14:16 French solo sailor Jérémie Beyou won the second leg of 42nd edition of famous sailing race Solitaire du Figaro. It took BPI skipper, who was crowned overall winner back in 2005, two days, 17 hours and 25 minutes to cover the 470 miles from Caen to Dùn Loaghaire, sailed mostly upwind in strong conditions. Beyou was welcomed in Dùn Laoghaire by race organisers and representatives from the National Yacht Club but few else as rain lashed the east coast port as the fleet arrived. Big celebrations are planned to welcome the fleet to Dublin Bay for the first time over the next four days.

Second place goes to Nicolas Lunven on Generali, whose more offshore option on the final stretch to the finish paid off, and third to Adrien Hardy on Agir Recouvrement by only eight seconds on Thomas Rouxel on Bretagne Credit Mutuel Performance.

Latest Figaro race reports here

Published in Figaro

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."

Published in Figaro

About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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