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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

La Solitaire du Figaro Stage 2 - Laperche leads to Channel Islands ready for fast reach to Eddystone

by La Solitaire du Figaro 29 Aug 2022 11:03 PDT 29 August 2022
La Solitaire du Figaro Stage 2 © Alexis Courcoux

With some 25 nautical miles of hard upwind sailing into a building easterly breeze the leading group on Stage 2 of La Solitaire du Figaro can anticipate rounding the Desormes Bank buoy between 22.00hrs and 23.00hrs this evening.

After the day long beat up the Channel to the mark between Jersey and Guernsey there will be no time to relax. Indeed the fast, wet 90 miles reach to Eddystone Rock light will require careful sail selection as the wind is forecast to top 25kts through what promises to be a key stage of the 635 nautical miles leg to Royan which started Sunday afternoon from Port-la-Forêt.

Tom Laperche (Région Bretagne-CMB Performance) has been a solid leader through the day even if his margin over second placed Achille Nebout (Amarris-Primeo Energie) has hovered around the half a mile mark all through the day. Beating into a growing sea in 15-19kts of wind he has been preserving himself as best as possible, knowing what lies ahead through tonight and tomorrow.

Spain's Pep Costa (Team Play 2 B-Terravia) made a sequence of good moves last night rounding Penmarch and through the strong tides of the Chenal de Four which ensured he was in the top three round the point of Brittany. The 23-year-old from Castelldefels by Barcelona who trains with Lorient Grand Large in France is fourth at 1.5 nautical miles behind Laperche.

In contrast Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) of Ireland, Brit Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) and Germany's Jorg Riechers(Alva Yachts) - top international on Leg 1 in fourth - dropped last night and are in the 20s but will be keeping their powder dry for the fast reaching and knowing the final stage back down the Brittany and Vendée coasts to Royan look set to offer opportunities all the way to the finish.

Britain's David Paul (Just a drop) has withdrawn from Leg 2 after hitting rocks at Penmarch light on the first night. He is uninjured and his boat was being checked but he pulled out on account of the muscular forecast for winds over 30kts.

Third on the first leg and lying 15th today Fred Duthil (Le Journal des Enterprises) said this afternoon: "The wind is slowly picking up. We are preparing for a tough evening. I started out pretty well, although I lost a bit going through a huge seaweed minefield. I was forced to do two or three back-ups in quick succession which made me lose a bit of ground. But I'm happy I'm in the top ten group It's kind of my goal on this round, I'm happy. When the current reverses, we will accelerate fast towards the mark. This leaves us with a little chance of getting to the Channel Islands before it is too dark."


Arthur Hubert ( "It feels to me like as soon as I am going up the Channel, I'm upwind! We are going to the Channel Islands, a body of water that I like that is easily accessible from Saint-Malo. I expected worse in terms of conditions. For now it is OK. But according to the weather we had this morning, it's after Guernsey that things should start to get harder. I'm not unhappy that the conditions are changing, because since this morning I haven't been very good. On the double-handed Transat Concarneau-Saint Barthélemy 2021 [Transat Paprec - nowl], we had these types of conditions near Palma (Canary Islands), a good 32 knots for twelve hours, going from large spinnaker to small spinnaker. It's hard but it's nice. I rely on that experience to see what will happen tonight. The Figaro 3 is a boat that is quite forgiving so it is OK to broach a couple of times, it survives. Now we have to rest well, dress and eat to prepare to spend the night on the helm. Now it is like skiing, after the climb the big schuss."

Pep Costa (ESP, Team Play to B-Terravia): "This will be an intense leg starting with an easterly wind in the north Brittany and the south of England and so we will have to be careful of our material. I try to make some proper choices. And the second part from the Point de Brétagne to Royan will be complicated, challenging with winds which are not really established. It will be about taking one thing at a time. I feel good. My first leg sailing-wise was very good and frustrating at the end. But if I can continue to sail the same way as on the first leg then I can be in the top group. The big winds are not my favourite because the boat suffers and you cannot ever relax you are always looking after it. I am looking forwards to it. It is not going to last for I will be pushing all the time."

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