The Prologue Suzuki, the muscle flexing race prior to Tuesday’s start of La Solitaire du Figaro took place today in up to 4-11 knots of wind shifting between the south and southwest and considerable tide. It was won by ‘the green giant’ Gildas Morvan on board Cercle Verte.
The 12 mile race off Le Havre for the 45 singlehanded competitors took the leaders just under two hours to complete. After four general recalls beginning at noon the start was finally held at around 1300 under a black flag and impressively eight fell to this and were disqualified including Armel Tripon, Kito de Pavant, Francisco Lobato and Jeremie Beyou.
For Morvan today’s success came after having raced with Bertrand Pace aboard the Tour Voile winner New Caledonie. “Bertrand called me yesterday to tell me about his victory,” recounted Morvan. “That gave me great pleasure. I’ve learned enormously this summer sailing with crew at a very high level.”
Morvan, one of the longest serving competitors in the Figaro class, but who has yet to win the prized Solitaire, ignored the superstition surrounding the Prologue (the winner never wins the Solitaire itself). In fact it was François Gabart who was first home in the Prologue, only his was one of the boats that had been black flagged. Victory therefore went to Morvan.
Artemis’ Jonny Malbon finished the Prologue 17th, which might not sound so flash but it was ahead of several heavyweights from Bernard Stamm to Karine Fauconnier and Yann Elies.
“It was a pretty tough day,” Malbon told thedailysail. “We had four starts which were a bit of a shame because my first two starts were brilliant! I wanted to be a bit more careful on the final start which leads to you getting stuck in traffic and dirty air, but I managed to extract myself from a bit of mess and got up to the top mark in reasonably good shape, just below mid-fleet. It was a pretty straight forward downwind leg and then it was carnage at the bottom mark. Because it was so light everyone was very close, so there were 45 boats going around the downwind mark at the same point - there was a large amount of gesticulation and shouting! I didn’t come out of that too well because I was coming down on port and another a load were coming down on starboard and there were a bunch of us who had to gybe back and wait to head back into the mark. So I got around that pretty safely and everything was good and the last beat was again very fickle and fluky and it was a lottery.
“I didn’t get to the top mark in too good a position but it was a long long downwind to the finish off the port of La Havre and there was a decision to go left along the beach or right through deeper water and across the shipping channel. I decided to stay right which was a good decision. There wasn’t much breeze inshore and even offshore we had 4-7 knots maximum, so it wasn’t huge. So I made some good gains downwind and had a good battle with Sebastien Josse, who beat me by about 20 seconds, so I am pretty chuffed. The black flag helped me. But it is all part of the game. If you look at the calibre of the people behind me on the water - if I could pull off a result like that I’d be very very happy.
“What it does more than anything is that it sets me up with a good feeling for the start of the race. I wouldn’t have been capable of doing that result in last year’s prologue. Hopefully it will set me off in a good way for the first leg."
The Solitaire du Figaro proper sets sail from Le Havre bound for Gijon, northern Spain on Tuesday at 1400.
|1||MORVAN Gildas||CERCLE VERT|
|2||TREUSSART Ronan||LUFTHANSA||+ 01'58"|
|3||ROUXEL Thomas||Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne||+ 03'55"|
|4||GREGOIRE Jeanne||BANQUE POPULAIRE||+ 05'08"|
|5||LUNVEN Nicolas||GENERALI||+ 05'12"|
|6||LE CLEAC'H Armel||BRIT'AIR||+ 06'30"|
|7||RICHOMME Yoann||DLBC||+ 06'59"|
|8||GUILLOU Damien||LA SOLIDARITE MUTUALISTE||+ 07'07"|
|9||EMIG Marc||MARC EMIG et MOI||+ 07'13"|
|10||DELAHAYE Fabien||PORT DE CAEN OUISTREHAM||+ 07'40"|
|11||LOISON Alexis||ALLMER INEO-GDF-SUEZ||+ 07'59"|
|12||ATTANASIO Romain||SAVEOL||+ 08'00"|
|13||MARCHAND Anthony||ESPOIR REGION BRETAGNE||+ 08'06"|
|14||DROUGLAZET Eric||LUISINA||+ 09'17"|
|15||LE GARREC Loic||SOCIETE POULIQUEN||+ 11'55"|
|16||JOSSE Sébastien||Vendée||+ 12'17"|
|17||MALBON Jonny||ARTEMIS||+ 12'29"|
|18||RIVET Frédéric||VENDEE 1||+ 13'30"|
|19||HARDY Adrien||AGIR Recouvrement||+ 13'54"|
|20||DUTHIL Frederic||BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM||+ 15'17"|
|21||TABARLY Erwan||NACARAT||+ 15'26"|
|22||MOUREN Jean-Paul||M@RSEILLENTREPRISES||+ 15'59"|
|23||CLOAREC Damien||PORT DE PLAISANCE ROSCOFF||+ 16'20"|
|24||FAUCONNIER Karine||ERIC BOMPARD Cachemire||+ 16'51"|
|25||LE VAILLANT Arthur||PHILIA PROMOTION IMMOBILIERE||+ 16'52"|
|26||DOUGUET Corentin||E.LECLERC MOBILE||+ 16'53"|
|27||STAMM Bernard||CHEMINEES POUJOULAT||+ 16'54"|
|28||ELIES Yann||GENERALI-EUROP ASSISTANCE||+ 17'31"|
|29||JOSSIER Nicolas||IMPULSION - Entreprendre en Pays Granvillais||+ 17'32"|
|30||JOSCHKE Isabelle||SYNERGIE||+ 18'07"|
|31||TANNYERES Louis Maurice||STERICSSON||+ 18'40"|
|32||MONNET Jean-Charles||PARIS15 - Château PEYRAT-FOURTHON||+ 19'07"|
|33||GIROLET Matthieu||ENTREPRENDRE (Lafont Presse)||+ 21'29"|
|34||GOUEZIGOUX Laurent||TRIER C'EST PRESERVER||+ 23'00"|
|35||D'ALI Pietro||I.NOVA -3||+ 23'18"|
|36||BOUILLARD Didier||SUNGARD||+ 25'53"|
|37||NICOL Jean-Pierre||BERNARD CONTROLS||+ 02h38'27"|
|GABART François||SKIPPER MACIF 2010|
|de PAVANT Kito||GROUPE BEL|
|PERON Eric||SKIPPER MACIF 2009|