Solitaire du Figaro - Mixed results on Leg 3 to Roscoff
by Marie Le Berrigaud Perochon on 17 Jun 2013
In the Solitaire du Figaro, having placed eighth into Porto, 11th into Gijon and tonight a 14th into Roscoff, Sam Goodchild, skipper of Shelterbox-Disaster Relief has for the third leg in a row been the top British finisher in this year's edition. The 23-year-old remains on track to better the best British result in the event's recent history. After leg three he is lying 10th overall, 1h 40m 13s behind the new overall race leader, Fred Duthil (Sepalumic). Ironically although he has lost a place he is now half an hour closer to the race leader than he was after leg 2.
Sam Goodchild, skipper du Figaro Shelterbox-Disaster Relief, 14eme de la 3eme etape de la Solitaire du Figaro-Eric Bompard cachemire 2013 © Flipo Maxime
Despite arriving at 01:30am, the crowds in Roscoff's Port de Plaisance were still out in force to welcome Goodchild in. 'It is incredible,' he said. 'There are people everywhere, clapping and blowing loud horns to make sure everyone wakes up! And I am English and 14th and they are still clapping me in!'
As to his overall result Goodchild was pleased still to be on track. 'I am fairly happy as long as I am in somewhere in the top 15.'
The first part of the leg from Gijon across the Bay of Biscay to Ile d'Yeu went well for him. 'Arriving in 10th was quite cool and swapping places with Jeremie Beyou three times coming in – that probably upset him more than it upset me!' However Goodchild added that he was disappointed to have boat speed issues. 'I don't really know why. I just couldn't go the same speed as many other people, so I lost a few places coming in, but I am still pretty happy with 14th to be honest. That's nothing to complain about.'
An exhausted Nick Cherry arrived on Magma Structures in 27th place, finishing at 03:32:37 French time. 'I found this leg pretty hard,' said the former UK Match Racing Nation Champion. 'I didn't have the weather situation clear in my head, so I was making decisions and going back on them, zigzagging across behind the fleet on the first leg and then I was a bit slow on the beat up here.'
Cherry relished putting his match racing skills to good use as he engaged with Jean-Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) and Artemis Offshore Academy rockie Jack Bouttell (Artemis 77) coming in to the finish line.
Jack Bouttell (Artemis 77) was only told on his arrival that the main threat to his lead in the rookie class, Claire Pruvot's Port de Caen Ouistreham, had suffered a broken spreader. For a third consecutive time Bouttell has won the rookie prize for a leg and he is now the clear leader in this division. If he can hold this position over the final leg, it will be a British first if he achieves a rookie class win.
'It was quite a lot different to what the forecast said,' said Bouttell of his race. 'It was meant to be a complete drifter, but it was quite windy the whole way around. I was a bit slow on the first night which didn't help for the rest of the race really, but I kept plodding away. There were no shut-downs, whereas the two legs before were at some point a complete drift-off, so it was quite a nice change from that.'
Rockfish skipper Henry Bomby arrived in 31st place at 03:48:56. He felt he hadn't made the best job of the Bay of Biscay crossing. 'There wasn't the big high pressure that we thought we might get stuck in and have to go around. In fact you could go straight through the middle of it if you wanted which is what some people did, only I didn't. So I was 12 miles behind the leaders by Ile d'Yeu which was pretty painful.'
Conversely Ed Hill on Artemis 37 felt the part to Ile d'Yeu had gone comparatively well for him. 'I had a not great start, but got back into it and overtook all the other rookies and was looking pretty good up to Ile d'Yeu. Then I made a bad headsail change, lost a few places there and let Jack get back in front of me, which was disappointing.'
Like Goodchild, Hill felt he lacked pace at times, but his biggest hurdle was the failure of his autopilot. Figaros typically carry a smaller, lightweight spare, but this proved not to be man enough for the task.
'I spent the last 150 miles basically having to hand steer,' recounted Hill. 'It was entertaining in gybes without a pilot. I am pretty knackered. Since the pilot failed I haven't had any sleep at all. Just running downstairs to check the nav is difficult enough with the boat spearing out. I had some weed on the rudder by the Chenal de Four and when I tried to get it off, the boat broached out and I was trapped to leeward with the boat careering off towards the rocks... It has been tough to do anything apart from steering.'
The youngest competitor, Ireland's David Kenefick (Full Irish) arrived in torrential rain at 05:45:23 to take 36th place.
'I got off to a good start: I tacked to clear my air as you do on a normal inshore race, but unfortunately I ended up on the wrong side of the fleet and I stupidly split from it which I have done too many times,' Kenefick admitted upon his arrival. 'And the routing that we did beforehand didn't come into play: It was all the right hand side and I found myself on the right hand side which should have been favoured but that wasn't the case. After that it was pretty hard to catch up – there were no lanes.'
Kenefick's race nearly came to an end on the first morning of this leg when his leeward D2 diagonal rigging on his mast came unwound. This required him to go aloft, only that he had no climbing gear. He put on a lifejacket and fashioned a make-shift arrangement using a spinnaker halyard on a loop, hauled himself up the rig before shimmying across to the leeward end of the spreader to sort out the piece of rigging.
Having arrived in Roscoff ahead of schedule will allow the skippers some added time to catch up on their sleep. Little is expected to occur today now they have arrived. La Solitaire website