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Figaro Fleet Taking it Easy in 'Friendly' Dun Laoghaire

12th August 2011
Figaro Fleet Taking it Easy in 'Friendly' Dun Laoghaire
The 46 skippers are profiting from the quiet and relaxed atmosphere in Dún Laoghaire to recover from a very tough second leg. Each has his or her own way of recharging the batteries... a massage, a pint of Guinness, some shots on the green, a little jazz or a rugby match on TV...

Not many Solitaire skippers were on the pontoons today. As some are seeing the physiotherapists, who are working around the clock on the tired muscles, others are planning to spend a couple of hours to visit Dublin's historical city centre, some solo sailors relax just enjoying a beer and a quiet moment on the terrace of the National Yacht Club. Some of the most energetic ones, like race veterans Jean Paul Mouren and Gildas Morvan, opt for one or two rounds on one of the world-famous Irish golf courses. There is a rugby match to watch on TV, with a particular meaning to all, as it's France v. Ireland. And, Alexis Loison, who turns 27 today plans to have a very special birthday celebration.

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The Figaro fleet docked at the National Yacht Club. Photo: Michael Chester

And while the sailors try to get in top form again during the short stopover in Ireland, shore teams and sail makers are very busy before the start of leg three, suffice to say that during the crossing from Caen to Dún Laoghaire, no less than 24 spinnakers and 7 jibs were damaged...

Still, everyone seems to be greatly enjoying the friendly atmosphere in Dún Laoghaire, where the skippers were welcomed by the famous Irish warmness.

Sam Goodchild (Artemis): on his coming to Ireland, commented: "I got a very warm welcome, it was great to be greeted on the water, the people are friendly, its nice and relaxed. I'm looking forward to taking it easy and enjoying the jazz festival in Dùn Laoghaire"

Conrad Humpreys' (DMS): comments are as positive as his fellow countryman's: "This part of Ireland I've been to a few times, the yacht club here hosted us for several weeks during the Round Ireland Race. The craic is brilliant, it's great fun, very lovely people. There's a lot of interest in this race in Ireland, it always has a strong presence here."

Paul Meilhat (Macif 2011): "I slept 18 hours flat out. We had such a lovely welcome, like we always get when we go to Ireland. Great warm meal with a cold beer upon arrival. I went to bed on Wednesday at lunchtime planning on getting up for dinner later. I asked Fabien, Jimmy and Eric if they could wake me up to go. I thought they forgot me but in fact they tried, they knocked on my door, called me from the reception, managed to get a key card for my hotel room and came in. They shook me but just could not wake me up. I woke up at 10 am this morning after sleeping 17 or 18 hours. It was purely the hunger that got me up in the end!"

Nigel King (E-Line Orthodontics): "It's good to be in Ireland, it's always nice to come here, I'm looking forward to a Guinness tonight, haven't had one yet! In the 2007 Solitaire we went to Cork and in 2009 we went to Dingle, now Dublin, it's always a great experience."

Today, Alexis Loison (Port Chantereyne Cherboug-Octeville) celebrates his 27th birthday in Ireland: "I may eat fish and chips with a candle on it, have a beer tonight to celebrate!  For once, I'm onshore and not alone at sea for my birthday. Taking stock of this second leg, my spinnaker is at the sail doctor being mended, physically my back hurts this morning and now I am on the waiting list to the one of the physiotherapists who are all busy today.  I have to just really try and make the most of opportunities that come my way.  This last leg I really had to work hard to climb up a few places so I am not too unhappy with my results.

While Loïc Le Garrec (Saveurs d'Evenements) turned 38 yesterday: "I could not really make the most of my birthday yesterday at the finish of the race. In fact, for the past three years, I have spent my birthday in the Irish Sea. I woke up alone at 1 am and by then it was too late to go for a drink with everyone. I was truly shattered after the race. It was a particularly hard one."

Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert): "Time to cheer up with a round of golf in Ireland and prepare to watch the France v. Ireland rugby match" "In 15 year editions of racing in the Figaro, I've never ripped a spinnaker. So I was not expecting it. Being let down by the material is not easy to accept. On this race I blew both my spinnakers. The bigger one first and then I hoisted the smaller one only to see it rip. I ended up sailing with my genoa off the spinnaker pole for 20 miles. It really was quite miserable and the results are hard to swallow. I am ready now to put that behind me and enjoy a tour of Dublin followed by a round of golf. Then there is the France v. Ireland rugby match to watch on Saturday."

Yannig Livory gets the chicken pox! On the second leg, around reaching Cherbourg area, the skipper of One Network Energies started to fee ill. Spots started to appear all over his body, which caused severe itching. He felt completely run down and permanently cold. "I was just shattered and everything itches. It was just awful with the wet weather gear on. The doctors diagnostic in Ireland is: I have chicken pox...I suppose that at 45, it is never too late!

Penalties for leg 2

The jury gathered on Thursday 11th of August to decide the outcome of 10 cases put forward at the end of the second leg of La Solitaire du Figaro. Yanning Livory (One Network Energies) and Maurice Tannyères Louis (St Ericsson) get a one hour penalty applied for not completing the course correctly: they sailed round the wrong side of Mullins Island on the shore side just two miles from the finish. Yoann Richomme (DLBC), Isabelle Joschke (Galettes Saint Michel) and Damien Guillou (La Solidarite Mutualiste) get a 25 minute penalty for broken propellor shaft seals. Finally, Sam Goodchild (Artemis), Sébastien Picault (Kickers) and Xavier Macaire (Starter ActiveBridge) each get a 5 minutes penalty for a broken safety gauge seal. These penalties do not change the order of the overall standing for the top 10 positions.

Published in Figaro
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The Solitaire du Figaro, was originally called the course de l’Aurore until 1980, was created in 1970 by Jean-Louis Guillemard and Jean-Michel Barrault.

Half a decade later, the race has created some of France's top offshore sailors, and it celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new boat equipped with foils and almost 50 skippers Including novices, aficionados and six former winners.

The solo multi-stage offshore sailing race is one of the most cherished races in French sailing and one that has had Irish interest stretching back over 20 years due to the number of Irish stopovers, usually the only foreign leg of the French race.

The race has previously called to Dingle, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Howth and Dun Laoghaire.

In 2013 Royal Cork's David Kenefick raised the bar by becoming a top rookie sailor in the race

In 2018, for the first time Ireland will have two Irish boats in the offshore race thanks to Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy who join the rookie ranks and keep the Irish tricolour flying high in France. 

The 2019 course is more Than 2,000 miles between Nantes, Kinsale (Ireland), Roscoff and Dieppe and is the longest in the race's history.

 

At A Glance – Figaro Race

  • It starts in June or July from a French port.
  • The race is split into four stages varying from year to year, from the length of the French coast and making up a total of around 1,500 to 2,000 nautical miles (1,700 to 2,300 mi; 2,800 to 3,700 km) on average.
  • Over the years the race has lasted between 10 and 13 days at sea.
  • The competitor is alone in the boat, participation is mixed.
  • Since 1990, all boats are of one design.

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