La Solitaire Du Figaro: Course 2 reversed

Race Direction of La Solitaire du Figaro, in consultation with OC Sport Pen Duick and Météo Consult, took the decision this Friday to modify the direction of the course of the second stage of La Solitaire du Figaro due to the uncertain weather forecast for the Bay of Biscay.

Yann Chateau, Race Director of La Solitaire du Figaro explains: “Routings currently show a long transition zone in the Bay of Biscay, which would mean the fleet would arrive in Royan overnight from Thursday into Friday.

“If we had kept the keep the original route and decided to shorten it at to the Eddystone lighthouse it would end up being a round trip reaching in the Channel, which would be of limited sporting interest.

“However, the objective of the race is to have varied, intense strategic and tactical racing exploring the Celtic Sea, the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. And we always tend to set four-day stages.

“And if we overrun, we reduce the recovery time, so starting with the Channel Islands before Eddystone, we keep the possibility of adapting the route to stick to four days at sea. But the models are actually improving and hopefully we won’t have to adapt the course.”

Rookie leads the race
For the first time since 1990, the final year on the Figaro Solo of the Half Tonners, when a certain Yves Parlier won the first stage from Port Bourgenay to Vigo, there is a rookie on the top of the La Solitaire du Figaro leaderboard after the first leg.

The rookie, Davy Beaudart leads the 34 strong field into Stage 2 ,which starts Sunday 1300hrs, a more typical Channel stage from Port-La-Foret to Eddystone to the Channel Islands and on to the finish at Royan south of La Rochelle.

He has a margin of just three minutes over Philppe Hartz a French former marine commando while Duthil, runner up in 2020, is now third at 28 minutes and 59 seconds. The second rookie is Guillaume Pirouelle (Région Normandie) who is actually 1hr 41mins behind the leader. Pirouelle was the favourite for the Beneteau des Bizuth overall and was tipped for a top five overall.

Top tipped Tom Laperche (Région Bretagne) led the race all the way to back the Scillies before being becalmed. But he led the peloton for most of the time and finished in ninth place, seven minutes behind Pirouelle.

After finishing Laperche said, “The race went pretty well for me. I had three great days. It was going well on a nice course. The weather was a little complicated more than was expected and that opened up opportunities. And latterly the wind took a long time to arrive in the direction we expected.

“Then with a new start in Scilly. I expected the gap to narrow a bit. On the other hand, I had not really anticipated that groups really behind could go out on a limb like they did. But even so I am I am happy.

“I had a lot of fun. It was good on the boat, making good decisions, working the board. That is the most important. And whatever I am behind we know that it is recoverable “

Germany’s Jorge Riechers (Alva Yachts) finds himself top International in fourth at 1hr 4 mins behind the leader and in the pursuit of the Vivi Trophy he is nearly 50 minutes ahead of second placed Nils Palmieri (Teamwork) of Switzerland. Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) is 1 min 17 secs behind the Swiss skipper and 1hr 26 mins off the podium.

Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) is 2hrs 25 mins behind in 26th with Pep Costa of Spain (Team Play to B-Terravia) seven minutes behind in 27th.

The Heroes Race
At the invitation of Port-La-Forêt, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend, the Heroes Regatta was contested. This fun regatta mustered a bunch of legends of French ocean racing including Jean Le Cam, François Gabart, Vincent Riou, Armel Le Cléac’h, Charlie Dalin, and even Philippe Poupon.

All came to have fun and put on a show and highlight the links between the 53-year-old La Solitaire du Figaro, the port and the Pôle Finistère Course au Large.

The races were contested in Pabouk, lovely little local vintage boats with a vintage look, big classic dinghies. Philippe Poupon and François Gabart were the winners of the two races of the day. Present, Jean Le Cam, one of the triple winners of La Solitaire du Figaro, would not have missed this meet up for all the world.

“I have participated in Solitaire 16 times which has occupied a good part of my life. Here, in Port-La-Forêt, there is also the Pole which brings together many racers who train together to try to be the best possible. The Pôle Finistère Course au Large is special because it is better to be bad among the best than good among the bad.” Said Le Cam before boarding his Pabouk.

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