When he crossed the finish line off Cherbourg-Octeville to win the 45th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro overall for the third time Jérémie Beyou, sailing Maître Coq, wrote himself into the solo race's record books, joining only three skippers to have triumphed overall three times.
Delivering almost metronomic consistency over the four stages, Beyou stepped up to win the final 390 miles stage from Les Sables d'Olonne which started on Sunday evening and took the 36 boat fleet via Manacles rocks by Falmouth, bettering his regular third place finishes which the Breton skipper from the Bay of Morlaix had successively returned into Plymouth, Roscoff and Les Sables d'Olonne.
Beyou won the race in 2005 and 2011 and so now joins an elite group of skippers who have won it three times, Philippe Poupon (1982-1985-1995) and Jean Le Cam(1994-1996-1999) Michel Desjoyeaux (1992-1998-2007). He triumphed over a race course which in the end totalled 1970 miles – after this fourth leg was shortened – and which offered a full complement of wind conditions.
On aggregated elapsed time Beyou won by 17 minutes and 56 secs over the four legs. He started in Les Sables d'Olonne on Sunday night with four skippers within 24 minutes and 02 seconds of his leading, reference cumulative time, Corentin Horeau (Bretagne Credit Mutuel Perfomance) was closest at 15 mins 13 secs behind. But through the final hours Beyou kept his rivals in check and still even managed to win the final leg.
Steering Maître Coq across the finish line, exhausted but elated he crossed 54 seconds ahead of second placed Adrien Hardy (AGIR Recouvrement) and 1 minute and 53 seconds ahead of third placed Corentin Douguet (Un Maillot pour La Vie). His nearest rival for the overall title Horeau finished fourth across the line, 2 minutes and 43 seconds behind him.
Beyou who celebrated his 38th birthday last Saturday, first raced this legendary, addictive solo challenge as a 20 year old. This was his 14th participation – and today his seventh leg win – and the first overall triumph in the colours of sponsors Maître Coq who announced they are supporting him through two further Figaro programmes and a parallel IMOCA Open 60 campaign for the 2016 Vendée Globe after two successive heartbreaking abandonments early in both the 2008-9 race and the 20012-13 race.
He won the 2011 Transat Jacques Vabre with Jean-Pierre Dick on Dick's Virbac-Paprec 3. He proved his form earlier this season by winning the Solo Maître Coq and finished fourth in the Solo Concarneau.
His ability to remain alert all the time, his determination during the tense and wide open finishes in the four legs, his consistency in achieving a good performance and his cool-headed approach have once again been rewarded.
Beyou commented :
“ It was a much harder Figaro for me than previous editions, always getting back into it. The dismasting of Yann (Elies) and damage to Fabien. These are sad but in the end they are opportunities which you have to seize and you have to stay focussed.
“In this end this was a particular, special Solitaire. I stayed focussed and stuck to my goal, to be consistent.”
And he kept his focus when his main title rivals suffered damage which shot their overall chances to pieces, Yann Eliès – who was bidding for three back to back titles – losing his mast while leading leg 1, and the race leading Fabien Delahaye suffering a shroud damage before the start of Leg 3 which cost him more than two hours of delay.
“It was a great last leg. I had two or three problems on board which meant I struggled at first to really push and go with Corentin (Horeau) and I used the pilot a lot to start with. I said that the first thing I had to do was catch Corentin and then keep him behind me. And that was the most difficult part of it, keeping him behind me.
“Then keeping him behind me I lost out a little bit. But no worries.”
Results : Leg 4 Les Sables d'Olonne to Cherbourg
1 Jeremie Beyou (Maître Coq) 2 days 18hrs 20 mins 50 secs
2 Adrien Hardy (AGIR Recouvrement) +54 secs
3 Corentin Douguet (Un Maillot pour la Vie) +1m 32s
4 Corentin Horeau (Bretagne Credit Mutuel Performance) +2m 43s
5 Yann Eliès (Groupe Queguiner-Leucemie Espoir) +3m 52s
6 Vincent Biarnes (Guyot Enevironnement) +4m 10s
7 Paul Meilhat (SMA) +4m 40s
8 Charlie Dalin (Normandy Elite Team) +6m 50s
9 Yoann Richomme (Skipper Macif 2014) +11m 47s
10 Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) +14m 15s
Overall after 4 stages. Rookie denoted by star Elapsed time and delta to winner
1. MAITRE COQ – Jérémie Beyou – 12J, 19h 39m 22s –
2. BRETAGNE CRéDIT MUTUEL PERFORMANCE – Corentin Horeau – 12J, 19h 57m 18s – 0h 17m 56s
3. NORMANDY ELITE TEAM – Charlie Dalin – 12J, 20h 5m 9s – 0h 25m 47s
4. INTERFACE CONCEPT – Gildas Mahé – 12J, 20h 26m 46s – 0h 47m 24s
5. SMA – Paul Meilhat – 12J, 21h 3m 23s – 1h 24m 01s
6. ARMOR LUX – LE COMPTOIR DE LA MER Erwan Tabarly – 12J, 21h 11m 48s – 1h 32m 26s
7. AGIR RECOUVREMENT – Adrien Hardy – 12J, 21h 15m 45s – 1h 36m 23s
8. UN MAILLOT POUR LA VIE – Corentin Douguet – 12J, 21h 43m 2s – 2h 03m 40s
9. GROUPE FIVA – Alexis Loison – 12J, 21h 46m 34s – 2h 07m 12s
10. GEDIMAT – Thierry Chabagny – 12J, 22h 6m 16s – 2h 26m 54s
11. CERCLE VERT – Gildas Morvan – 12J, 22h 18m 55s – 2h 39m 33s
12. GUYOT Environnement – Vincent Biarnes – 12J, 22h 56m 24s – 3h 17m 02s
13. SAFRAN – GUY COTTON – Gwenolé Gahinet * – 13J, 0h 8m 38s – 4h 29m 16s
14. OVIMPEX – SECOURS POPULAIRE – Anthony Marchand – 13J, 0h 53m 38s – 5h 14m 16s
15. ARTEMIS 2 – Sam Matson * – 13J, 1h 0m 57s – 5h 21m 35s
16. GENERALI – HORIZON MIXITE- Isabelle Joschke – 13J, 1h 48m 30s -6h 09m 08s
17. SKIPPER HERAULT – Xavier Macaire – 13J, 2h 5m 56s – 6h 26m 34s
18. GENERALI – Alain Gautier – 13J, 2h 8m 12s – 6h 28m 50s
19. SKIPPER MACIF 2014 – Yoann Richomme -13J, 2h 9m 40s – 6h 30m 18s
20. DFDS SEAWAYS – Frédéric Rivet – 13J, 2h 29m 24s – 6h 50m 02s
21. IN EXTENSO experts comptables – Nicolas Jossier – 13J, 2h 38m 57s – 6h 59m 35s
22. TEAM PLYMOUTH – Sam Goodchild – 13J, 3h 26m 57s – 7h 47m 35s
23. FULL IRISH – Le Comptoir Irlandais – David Kenefick – 13J, 3h 31m 40s – 7h 52m 18s
24. ARTEMIS 77 – Rich Mason * – 13J, 3h 40m 1s – 8h 00m 39s
25. GAC Pindar – Jackson Bouttell – 13J, 3h 49m 48s – 8h 10m 26s
26. REDSHIFT – Nick Cherry – 13J, 4h 14m 25s – 8h 35m 03s
27. LA SOLIDARITé MUTUALISTE – Damien Guillou – 13J, 4h 14m 37s -8h 35m 15s
28 – RED – Henry Bomby – 13J, 4h 40m 40s – 9h 01m 18s
29 – DARWIN – Les marins de la Lune – Clément Salzes * – 13J, 4h 43m 34s – 9h 04m 12s
30. SKIPPER MACIF 2012 – Fabien Delahaye – 13J, 6h 23m 4s – 10h 43m 42s
31. MADE IN MIDI – Gwenael Gbick * – 13J, 7h 1m 11s – 11h 21m 49s
32. GROUPE QUEGUINER – LEUCEMIE ESPOIR – Yann Elies – 13J, 7h 50m 45s – 12h 11m 23s
33. BRETAGNE – CRéDIT MUTUEL ESPOIR – Sébastien Simon * – 13J, 9h 47m 16s – 14h 07m 54s
34. GROUPE SNEF- Jean Paul Mouren – 13J, 14h 28m 30s -18h 49m 08s
35. MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT – Edmund Hill – 13J, 14h 29m 10s – 18h 49m 48s
36. ARTEMIS 23 – Alan Roberts * – 10J, 9h 11m 45s –
36. PORT DE CAEN OUISTREHAM – Claire Pruvot – 10J, 18h 22m 43s –
36. REGION BASSE NORMANDIE – Joan Ahrweiller – 11J, 3h 24m 35s –