Heading south for the first Figaro race of the 2013 season

Heading south for the first Figaro race of the 2013 season

Saturday March 2 2013 Author: henrybomby Location: United Kingdom

Last week I got a call asking if I would be up for taking the reins of one of the Artemis steeds for the first Figaro race of 2013, the ICOM Cup. It’s one of two races down in the Mediterranean this year. Based out of La Grande Motte it is where the Academy guys train and where I spent my winter last year.

While it’s all a bit last minute and not planned into my training at all, it works in nicely with my programme here at Pole Finistere as the next 2 weeks is quite a quiet patch for us guy’s concentrating on ‘La Solitaire’ as the ‘Transat’ kicks off soon and all eyes right now are on preparing the boats and skippers for optimal reliability and performance with no on the water training planned.

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Setting up for a start during training at Pole Finistere

It feels different to any Figaro race I have done before for many reasons. Firstly the anxiety I experienced weeks before every race last year isn’t there. For the first time I feel confident and in the mindset to go out and really fight to win the race, rather than just to hold on and not lose by miles... Before each start last year I felt dread and I didn't like the days before the start at all. Luckily loving the racing so much brought me back each time meaning the familiarity and confidence has now grown, meaning this year I am just looking forward to getting out there and doing what I love!

I think it all comes down to a belief in my pace and a confidence that I didn't have before which has all grown from my training in recent weeks. It massively affects the way you approach a race, rather than looking for alternative tactical options to stay with front runners, knowing that my pace won’t be enough, instead I am looking to stick close, let my pace do the work over long periods of time and wait for errors from others. It’s a much nicer feeling!

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Photo during one of the many offshore races during winter training this year

The ICOM Cup race is a great format with 2 long offshore legs from La Grande Motte to Marseille and back (not direct!) split up by a day’s inshore racing in Marseilles.  I have never done a long offshore race in the med and in many ways I am hoping for a big mistral session to blow away some cobwebs! To be able to do the race is a great opportunity to get in some race time as well. I am still looking for a title sponsor for this season in order to take part in the other races on the circuit so will be doing a big media push back home to try and raise awareness for the cause and see if we can’t attract any takers.

You can follow the race via the tracker here http://www.icomcup.fr/cartographie.html but if you follow on twitter @henrysailing or facebook www.facebook.com/henrybombysailing I am sure you will be notified of all that over the coming days! The race kicks off Thursday afternoon with a 140nm leg to Marseilles. Right then, better get myself down to the South of France, check out this boat and get ready for race day, bring it on!


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