Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Solitaire du Figaro - Challenging Leg 4 lies ahead

by Marie Le Berrigaud Perochon on 20 Jun 2013
Fabien Delahaye, skipper du Figaro Skipper Macif 2012, lors de la 3eme etape de la Solitaire du Figaro-Eric Bompard cachemire 2013 © Alexis Courcoux
Leg 4, the final leg of La Solitaire du Figaro 2013 sets sail at 1300 local time (1100 UTC) tomorrow from Roscoff bound for Dieppe.

Yesterday a severe forecast predicting winds gusting to gale force 9 caused the race organisers to shorten the course for leg 4, but today conditions are looking improved, albeit with winds still gusting to 30+ knots ahead of a front scheduled due to cross the forty singlehanded sailors on Saturday.


Leg 4 now takes the 33ft long Beneteau Figaro 2s from Roscoff around and down the western side of Ouessant, then 23 miles south to the turning mark, the Chaussee de Sein buoy (off the Raz de Sein), before returning north through the Chenal du Four between Ouessant and the French mainland. From there the boats cross the English Channel to Wolf Rock off Land's End, before heading east along the coast of the UK, shaving the Lizard and Start Point. Next they round the Needles Fairway Buoy off the western end of the Solent before recrossing the English Channel to a mark off Le Havre before continuing east to the finish off Dieppe. Total mileage for this course is 520, with the boats set to arrive on Saturday night.

Currently in 10th overall, Sam Goodchild (Shelterbox-Disaster Relief) is still gunning to achieve the best British finishing position since Clare Francis' fifth place in 1975. In the race's recent history Sam Davies finished 19th twice in 2003-4 while Phil Sharp was 18th in 2011.

Goodchild, 23, is in the unenviable position of having two of the biggest players in the sport gunning for him: in the overall cumulative elapsed time results three time winner Michel Desjoyeaux [TBS] trails him by just one minute 41 seconds and two time winner Armel le Cleac'h (Banque Populaire) is nine minutes 15 seconds back. 'I will try and approach it like every leg, but it is going to be quite hard to try and hold my position with Mich and Armel, who have only just come back to the Figaro but are getting stronger and stronger each leg.'

Whether or not strong conditions will be a help or hindrance for Goodchild remains to be seen. 'It only takes one little error and you have a massive disaster,' he reckons. 'Experience pays – in theory you have less chance of disaster, but Armel broached out and lost his small kite on the first leg and he has quite a bit of experience!'

On leg one the boats saw 35 knots as they rounded Cape Finisterre in big seas, resulting in several blown up spinnakers and broken spinnaker poles. 'It is about trying not to do anything stupid,' Goodchild continues.

Jack Bouttell (Artemis 77) is in a slightly stronger position defending his lead in the Bizuth class for the Solitaire du Figaro first timers. In this he's currently a comfortable three hours, four minutes and 45 seconds ahead of second placed Benoît Hochart (ADOCIS / IB-Remarketing).

'Going down the Channel in 25-30 knots could be quite entertaining and if it is kite-able, then it will be good fun, a pretty quick leg,' says Bouttell. He maintains that he isn't going to change his tactics given his position. He will just attempt to stay with the fleet, sail the boat as fast as possible and minimise risks.

In 20th overall, Nick Cherry (Magma Structures) is punching above his weight considering he is running an 11th hour campaign for La Solitaire. He is in a tight group with boats just minutes ahead and behind him.

'It looks like it could be windy on the approach to Dieppe,' Cherry warns. 'We may have wind against tide on that coast - it could be another foam-up like we had at Cape Finisterre. It always spreads the fleet when it gets windy.'

However the multiple British match racing national champion says those are the conditions he relishes. 'It was great going around Cape Finisterre [on leg 1] and I came out in good shape. So given it is right at the end you can put up your big kite and let nature bring it down!'

Rockfish skipper Henry Bomby also likes the big conditions. 'I've had my best races when it is really windy and my worst when it is really light and variable. I am quietly confident, hoping that I can get a few places on the guys who are in front of me.'

He observes that if it does turn gnarly then there could be some opportunities if some of his competitors have problems. 'I'll be taking both of my spinnaker poles and looking just to get through the race cleanly.'

The race passes Start Point and the entrance to Dartmouth harbour where Bomby's backer, restauranter Mitch Tonks, has his award-winning Seahorse restaurant.

Unfortunately if the conditions are brisk, Bomby feels there won't be any home waters advantage. 'It isn't going to be a tactical race. It will be about sending it for as long as possible.'

Artemis Offshore Academy rookie Ed Hill is also hoping for bigger conditions. 'Balls to the wall and hang on - what a great way to finish La Solitaire. It could open up opportunities. Some people will certainly be struggling - hopefully not me.'

Ireland's David Kenefick (Full Irish) is hoping for a strong finale to his first Solitaire du Figaro. 'I am disappointed with where I am going into the last leg, but that's life I guess.' At 22, Kenefick is the youngest competitor in the race and is lying 31st out of 41 starters.

'It is amazing to be here and be part of it,' he says. 'I have followed the race for years so it is quite funny to be here. I have always wanted to do this race and it is very different when you are in it.

'I am very surprised how friendly all the competitors are. You walk along the dock and everyone says hello to each other. And the competition is unbelievable: There is no one missing from this event. There are no better sailors than Yann Elies, Michel Desjoyeaux, Armel le Cleac'h, Jeremie Beyou, Morgan Lagraviere, La Solitaire

North Technology - Southern SparsInSunSport - NZBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

Solitaire du Figaro - Two 'Best of British' results for the Academy
In the Solitaire du Figaro, there were Pol Roger champagne showers and tears on the docks in Dieppe (France) last night. In the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro, there were Pol Roger champagne showers and tears on the docks in Dieppe (France) last night, as the event concluded for the 41 skippers competing. The final 520 mile leg in big breeze from Roscoff to Dieppe via the south coast of England was won by French sailor Adrien Hardy in a time of 2 days, 9 hours, 2 minutes et 20 seconds.
Posted on 24 Jun 2013
Solitaire du Figaro - Competition for overall lead remains wide open
In La Solitaire du Figaro 2013, there are only a few hours that remain and the competition remains wide open. In La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard cachemire 2013, there are only a few hours that remain and the competition for the overall lead remains wide open with Xavier Macaire (Skipper Herault), Yann Elies (Groupe Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir) and Morgan Lagraviere (Vendee) all jockeying for overall honours.
Posted on 23 Jun 2013
Solitaire du Figaro - All set for the final showdown
Solitaire du Figaro's final leg, 520 miles from Roscoff to Dieppe, is proving every bit as taxing as expected. La Solitaire du Figaro's final leg, 520 miles from Roscoff to Dieppe, is proving every bit as taxing as it appeared set to be prior to yesterday's start. Overnight and into this morning, the boats completed an anticlockwise lap, sailing down the seaward western side of Ouessant on to the Chaussee de Sein turning mark in the south, before returning north up the Chenal du Four.
Posted on 22 Jun 2013
Solitaire du Figaro - Brits take on the final leg to Dieppe + Video
At 1200BST today [20th June], the forty strong Solitaire du Figaro fleet set off on the final 520 mile push to Dieppe. At 1200BST today [Thursday 20th June], the forty strong Solitaire du Figaro fleet set off on the final 520 mile push from Roscoff to Dieppe (France), via Wolfe Rock and the Needles Fairway. Conditions for the Leg 4 start were much in the style of the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro, light and overcast.
Posted on 21 Jun 2013
Solitaire du Figaro - Skippers ready to set sail on Leg 4
In just over 24hrs, Artemis Offshore Academy skippers will set sail on the final leg of La Solitaire du Figaro 2013. In just over 24 hours, Artemis Offshore Academy Rookies Jack Bouttell (Artemis 77), Ed Hill (Artemis 37) and Graduates Sam Goodchild (Shelterbox-Disaster Relief), Henry Bomby (RockFish) and Nick Cherry (Magma Structures) will set sail on the fourth and final leg of La Solitaire du Figaro.
Posted on 20 Jun 2013
Solitaire du Figaro - Mixed results on Leg 3 to Roscoff
In the Solitaire du Figaro, Sam Goodchild (Shelterbox-Disaster Relief) has for the third leg in a row been the top Brit. 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.
Posted on 17 Jun 2013
Solitaire du Figaro - Upwind conditions lead to casualties
In the Solitaire du Figaro, upwind conditions while sailing along Brittany's Atlantic coast has caused two casualties. In the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro, upwind conditions while sailing along Brittany's Atlantic coast has caused two significant casualties today on the third and penultimate leg from Gijon to Roscoff.
Posted on 16 Jun 2013
Solitaire du Figaro - Penultimate leg lies ahead for British skippers
On Thursday 13th June in the Solitaire du Figaro, Artemis Offshore Academy skippers set sail on the penultimate leg. On Thursday 13th June in the Solitaire du Figaro, Artemis Offshore Academy Rookies Jack Bouttell (Artemis 77), Ed Hill (Artemis 37) and Graduates Sam Goodchild (Shelterbox-Disaster Relief), Henry Bomby (RockFish) and Nick Cherry (Magma Structures) set sail on the penultimate leg.
Posted on 14 Jun 2013
Solitaire du Figaro fleet bound for Roscoff
In the Solitaire du Figaro, the 40 skippers competing left Gijòn on the northwestern coast of Spain today at noon. In the 44th Solitaire du Figaro, the 40 skippers competing left Gijòn on the northwestern coast of Spain today at noon local time, bound for Roscoff in Brittany, for the third of four legs. Getting to the finish could be a long and painful affair as the weather forecast looks set for very light winds on the 436 miles to the finish.
Posted on 14 Jun 2013
Solitaire du Figaro - Hold your nerves and focus until the very end
In the Solitaire du Figaro, holding nerves and focusing until the last hundred metres to the finish line proved vital. In the Solitaire du Figaro, holding nerves and focusing until the very last hundred metres to the finish line proved vital for the 40 skippers competing on the second leg, which finished yesterday in Gijòn, on the northwestern coast of Spain. Leg winner Armel Le Cleac'h climbed up ten positions in the overall standings but reigning champion Yann Eliès still sits comfortably at the top.
Posted on 12 Jun 2013