UK sailor Henry Bomby reflects on the 45th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro.
The Solitaire is not easy. At times I found myself not only fighting with my competitors, the boat and the conditions but also with myself on a scale I have not yet experienced in my life before. It was a hard one was the 45th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro.
As many of you know the Solitaire 2014 didn't go as I planned, dropping four places from my 2013 performance finishing 28th overall of 38. Dealing with poor performance on board was one of the hardest things to deal with during the race this year. For sure there were high moments during all of the legs, but I never managed to finish well or be well place when it mattered and that was hugely, hugely frustrating.
Henry Bomby - © Flipo Maxime
The Figaro and the Solitaire itself is addictive though, while in 2014 it has kicked me down hard and made me seriously question for what must be over the 100th time 'what the hell am I doing here?!' there is still a burning desire to come back next year and do a good race. I know a Top 20, Top 15 even is within reach for me and I feel like it will bug me and be a horrible itch until I have managed to achieved this goal.
Right now I have had two weeks since the finish in Cherbourg to rest, recover and catch up with friends and family. Last weekend I took junior sailors from my local club RDYC out on the boat which was an awesome day for me. To see the enthusiasm of kids learning to sail, asking endless questions and just simply wanting to learn was great to see.
But I have definitely been feeling the post Solitaire blues. We work so hard for just under a year with just one goal and objective and now it is all over, what am I meant to do now?! I admit I feel a little lost and am looking forward to getting a sense of direction back again. This week my head is slowly starting to look ahead to the 2015 season. I have a good list of training objectives for what I want to improve on, and I have started the process of going over the tracker in great detail to look back at every decision I made to analyse what affected my decision making process's and how the process itself can be improved.
The Figaro is a fickle old game that takes time we know that, and I have had the amazing opportunity from so many to start out incredibly young at it, under the premise of 'potential', but at some point I know I need to prove that the investment in me both by the Artemis Offshore Academy and my family of sponsors back home has been worthwhile. And perhaps this is one of my biggest driving factors right now.
Training for 2015 for me will start in September out of my home port of Dartmouth. I have a boat, sails and some fantastic local support which is going to help me get off the ground again for 2015. Each year though is like starting a new company, it all starts again, the fundraising, the sponsorship deals, it is a tireless task but luckily one I enjoy.
Thanks again to all for your incredible support this year, and I look forward to catching up with you all over the coming weeks and months. Henry Bomby website