Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik ZKG

La Solitaire du Figaro - Foul tide for start of Leg 4

by Prince de Bretagne Sailing Team on 21 Jun 2013
Depart de la 4eme etape de a Solitaire du Figaro-Eric Bompard cachemire 2013 entre Roscoff et Dieppe - Roscoff le 20th june 2013 © Alexis Courcoux
The start of the fourth and final leg of La Solitaire du Figaro 2013 was marked by an overcast sky, light drizzle, light wind and a foul tide. With a tactical first 24 hours ahead with tidal gates to deal with before a depression brings 30-40 knot winds it on Saturday, tension was palpable among the competitors as they left Roscoff's newly opened Port de Plaisance marina ready for the 1100 UTC start.

There was drama even before the gun when Xavier Macaire's Skipper Herault was T-boned by Amaiur Alfaro's Region Aquitaine-Ateliers de France. Macaire is vying for first place in this race, currently fourth overall, just 45 minutes and 35 seconds astern of overall leader Frederic Duthil (Sepalumic). The damage mid-ships on her starboard side ruptured the hull to the extent that it is believed no longer possible to fill the water ballast tank on the starboard side. Macaire has elected to continue but realistically this will compromise his chance of victory.

Magma Structures skipper Nick Cherry enjoyed a moment of glory at the start when the UK National Match Racing Champion successfully crossed ahead of the fleet on port tack, just as Vincent Biarnes (Prati'Buches) did at the start of leg three. However in the six to eight knots winds, it was the Michel Desjoyeaux-skippered TBS that broke through the mist to round the windward mark of the 6.5 mile long in shore race in first place.

Among the Anglo-Saxons, Nick Cherry remained on top at the first mark in 12th place with Artemis Offshore Academy scholarship winner Ed Hill lying 17th, David Kenefick (Full Irish) 19th, Sam Goodchild (Shelterbox-Disaster Relief) 21st and Henry Bomby (RockFish) 32nd. However after the solo skippers had hoisted kites on the run, Ed Hill overhauled Cherry to move up to 11th place.

At the Radio France mark to the east of Ile de Batz, off Roscoff, three time Solitaire du Figaro winner and the Vendee Globe's only double victor, Michel Desjoyeaux, was still leading.

From here the skippers have a difficult 24 hours ahead of them. The forecast indicates the first part of the race will be light to moderate, partly upwind as the boats round the outside of Ouessant.

Lead rookie, the Artemis Offshore Academy's Jack Bouttell predicted for today: 'It will be light wind and mostly upwind, so there will be a lot of rock hopping. It will be tide against for the start so really pressing the shore, and tide with us from about 1700 local tonight. We will be a few miles down the coast by then, but the tide will be against us again later around Ushant, so we'll be trying to hug the coast at night, which will be nice!'



Once round Ouessant the fleet heads down to the turning mark at Chaussee de Sein mark before returning north through the Chenal du Four between Ouessant and the northwesternmost tip of France tomorrow.

Throughout the first 24 hours there are tidal gates to tackle – immediately out of the start, off Ouessant tonight and then on the return up the Chenal du Figaro with opportunities equally for the slow to get left behind or for the leaders to get caught.

As Artemis Offshore Academy scholarship winner Jack Bouttell put it: 'Yesterday the weather was favouring the leaders all the way around. But at the moment it could favour the people behind to catch up a bit.'

Sam Goodchild believes going north up through the Chenal du Four could be a significant moment. 'We might all bunch up again there. At the moment we are supposed to get there before the tide turns favourable, so the guys who are there early will slow down allowing the guys behind to catch up.'

The crossing of the English Chanel to Wolf Rock looks like being upwind on one tack.

'It is going to be a wild ride down the south coast,' says Magma Structures skipper, Nick Cherry of this next section. With the wind building from 25 to 30+ knots it will be kites up and hang on as the Figaros blast ENE towards the Needles Fairway Buoy off the west end of the Solent. By this time the wind is forecast to have built to 35 knots, gusting to 40+, ready for the reach back across the Channel towards the next turning mark off Le Havre.

'The GRIBs are showing 30 knots and normally you can add 10 in gusts, so maybe 40 knots around the Needles area,' warns Jack Bouttell.

Sam Goodchild agrees. 'There's 35 knots on the GRIBs and they normally under-read. The most wind will be just before and just after the Needles.'

The crossing back to France is set to coincide with six hours of wind against the tide, the steep seas crashing into the boats on their port side. Artemis Offshore Academy sailor Ed Hill anticipates: 'That will be wavy and very very wet, two sail reaching in 25-35 knots - that will be a tough part of the leg for getting absolutely slammed.'

The boats then head on to Dieppe where their ETA is Saturday night.

'This will be the hardest leg for sure,' predicts Rockfish skipper Henry Bomby. 'We will see quite a lot of wind. There is going to be a lot of keeping everything together. We'll try to be as well rested as possible. I don't imagine anyone will sleep from Fairway to the finish. It is the last leg, so you can put everything into this one - there is no need to hold back anything in reserve. I think we'll all arrive in Dieppe absolutely exhausted.'



Prior to casting off, Sam Goodchild admitted: 'I am pretty nervous, but I am looking forward to it. It is going to be about trying to keep safe. It will be breezy, but I am more worried about my position in the race, trying to hold on to that and not do anything stupid.'

Nick Cherry summed up the challenge lying ahead: 'It is going to be a good finale. It is going to be the toughest leg for sleep - we'll all be quite broken getting into Dieppe. I can't wait...'

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
Laser creator Ian Bruce passes away (1933 - 2016)
Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. Ian Bruce, driving force behind the Laser dinghy, sadly passed away at his daughter's home on Monday March 21 2016. His legacy to our sport, Canadian sailing and his beloved Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club will be praised and honoured for years to come.
Posted on 24 Mar
Rio 2016 - Kiwi women sailors jump to escape Olympic Selectors' axe
Two New Zealand sailors will head overseas on self-funded campaigns to gain selection in the New Zealand Olympic team Two New Zealand women sailors will head overseas on self-funded campaigns to gain selection in the New Zealand Olympic team in what is expected to be the final round of announcements.
Posted on 18 Mar
Southern Spars - 100Barz Optics - Kids range