Top three finishers on leg 4 - from left to right Fred Duthil, Michel Desjoyeaux and Gerard Veniard

Top three finishers on leg 4 - from left to right Fred Duthil, Michel Desjoyeaux and Gerard Veniard

Desjoyeaux clinches it

Third Figaro win for solo sailing legend as Fred Duthil takes final leg into Les Sables d'Olonne

Tuesday August 21st 2007, Author: Sabina Mollart Rogerson, Location: United Kingdom
Foncia skipper Michel Desjoyeaux this morning entered the history books when he won La Solitiare Afflelou Le Figaro race for third time, out of ten occasions he has competed, a feat only achieved previously by French singlehanded sailing stars Jean le Cam and Philippe Poupon.

A third place finish into Les Sables d’Olonne, 41 minutes and 55 seconds behind winner Fréderic Duthil on Distinxion and Gérald Veniard on Scutum respectively, was enough to secure him the small cumulative elasped time for the race's four legs to clinch victory, having finished in third in on three legs and winning the second. “Mich’Desj” covered the four races between Caen, Crosshaven, Brest, La Coruña and Les Sables d’Olonne, making up a total 1,659 miles in 247 hours, 20 minutes and 47 seconds.

Thus the overall top three places, subject to final jury decision, go to Michel Desjoyeaux ( Foncia), Frédéric Duthil ( Distinxion) and Corentin Douguet ( E.Leclerc/Bouygues Telecom).

This win is another ultimate accolade for Desjoyeaux who has dominated singlehanded sailing for more than 15 years as winner of the Vendee Globe in 2000/2001, winner of The Transat, winner of the Route du Rhum, both on monohulls and on multihulls and now three time winner of La Solitaire. The next step for Desjoyeaux is the next Vendee Globe in 2008.

Impressively part time Figaro sailor Fréd Duthil won the fourth and final leg between La Coruña and Les Sables d’Olonne. The skipper of Distinxion, with raised arms and a huge grin, crossed the finish line at 02h20m10s this morning, covering the 340 mile final leg between La Coruna and Les Sables d'Olonne in 1 day 11 hours, 20 minutes and 10 seconds at a 9.62 knot average.

Duthil has had a great Figaro, winning the Prologue race, the first leg to Ireland, coming second on the next leg back to Brest (finishing 50 seconds behind Michel Desjoyeaux) and coming 8th on the third leg (2 hours and 9 minutes behind Corentin Douguet). This is the fourth time the former windsurf champion competes in La Solitaire and it is his best performance to date.

Just before the start on Sunday morning in la Coruña, Duthil declared: “This is my kind of race! It is going to be wet but fun…it will be short, a sprint…well more like a marathon after 30 hours! I am happy about the conditions we are going to get; it is the kind that I go pretty fast on. So that is a good sign. I am not looking at the overall rankings anymore. My objective is to win the leg and forget about anything that has happened up until now.” This could not have been more of a premonition.

Duthil was esctatic as he crossed the finish line: “You see my friends, I said that this would be a race for surfers! I really dug deep to win this one. We fought like dogs and dogs and had some huge average speeds. There was 35 to 40 knots constantly with gusts of up to 47 knots. It is mad, I did not think I was in the lead, I thought that it was Mich.”

"It is so nice to finish as this has been really, really tough. You can’t imagine when you are not on the boat just how tough it was. You just got huge waves in your face. The last two hours I could barely carry on, we kept calling each other over the VHF to say, come on it’s not far to go. We were all below deck with the autopilot on and no one wanted to drive the boat, we had had our fill!”

Where you surprised? "Up to an hour before I finished I did not know that I was in the lead! I was sure that Michel Desjoyeaux was ahead and I thought that maybe I was third or fourth…It is incredible that I am here when you think that I managed to get the spinnaker under the boat in a squall and had lots of trouble trying to pull it out the water. I could not believe it when I announced I was coming to the finish line. I really thought others had already announced themselves. I am really happy, it’s great! I passed Gérald (Veniard) over the last 3 or 4 miles. I did not have time to get used to this feeling, I am so happy! Winning two legs on La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro is a dream come true…"

You had some really tough conditions at sea… "When the depression came in this morning it really blew. I had up to 47 knots and then it get’s worrying! We had to fight it out like dogs. I had said that this would be a fast leg, on paper this leg was like windsurfers leg, but it was unexpectedly tough. And if I end up in one of the top three spots, well that would be just great!"

What do you think of Michel Desjoyeaux’s overall win on the race? "When I started sailing he had already won his first Solitaire. What makes a great champion is having the ability to continually question oneself. He knows how to do that and I hope that I will have the same motivation he has after having done so much. Michel really merits his victory. He sailed perfectly."

Are you not keen to become a professional sailor? "Not for now. All year I work in an insurance company. I have found a balance like that and it suits me well even though sailing has been my passion ever since I was a child. When I think about it, I started sailing solo four years agoand remember how on the last leg I packed away the spinnaker because the wind was too strong. I have made some progress since then, even though there is still lots more to learn."

What is the first thing you want to do? "I am going to try and savour this will all my family and friends who have come and even more so as it is my girlfriends birthday today!"

Leg 4 finish times so far...

Pos Skipper   Boat Finish time
1 Duthil Frédéric  Distinxion  arrived on 21/08/2007 at 02:20
2 Veniard Gérald  Scutum  2H55
3 Desjoyeaux Michel  Foncia  3H01
4 Berenger Nicolas  KONE Ascenseurs  3H41
5 Drouglazet Eric  Luisina  3H42
6 Le Gal Franck  Lenze  3H47
7 Morvan Gildas  Cercle Vert  3H53
8 Douguet Corentin  E. Leclerc / Bouygues Telecom  3H56
9 Lepesqueux Marc  Rapid' Flore - Caen-La-Mer  4H03
10 Treussart Ronan  Groupe Celeos  4H12
11 Troussel Nicolas  Financo  4H28
12 Mahe Gildas  Le Comptoir Immobilier  4H31
13 Wardley Liz  Sojasun  4H41
14 Chabagny Thierry  Brossard  4H42
15 Pellecuer Laurent  Cliptol Sport  4H44
16 Rouxel Thomas  Défi Mousquetaires  4H49
17 Tripon Armel  Gedimat  5H09
18 Lunven Nicolas  Bostik  5H12
19 de Broc Bertrand  Les Mousquetaires  5H20
20 Pratt Christopher  Espoir Crédit Agricole  5H36
21 Lebas Christophe  LoLa La piscine assemblée  5H41
22 Loison Alexis  ALL MER Inéo Suez  5H43
23 Defert Eric  Suzuki Automobiles  5H43
24 Biarnes Vincent  Côtes d'Armor  5H45
25 D’Ali Pietro  Kappa  5H52
26 Rivet Frédéric  Novotel Caen  5H54
27 Belloir Aymeric  CAP 56  6H04
28 Mouren Jean-Paul  M@rseillEntreprises  6H17
29 Duprey du Vorsent Thierry  Domaine du Mont d'Arbois  6H20
30 Nicol Jean-Pierre  Gavottes  6H34
31 Nagy Robert  Théolia  7H43
32 Emig Marc  A.ST Groupe  7H52
33 Le Miere Grégoire  Basse-Normandie / OTCex Group  7H56
34 Nigon Erik  AXA Atout Coeur Pour AIDES  8H00
35 Bird James  GFI Group  8H20
36 Bos Christian  Belle Ile en Mer  8H27
Pos Skipper   Boat Latitude   Longitude   Crs Spd DTF
37 Grégoire Jeanne  Banque Populaire  46 28' 43' N  1 48' 83' W  87 º  6.4 1.1 nm 
38 Monnet Jean-Charles  Degrémont Suez Source de Talents  46 28' 38' N  1 51' 80' W  79 º  8.5 2 nm 
39 Nabart Laurent  Corsica  46 28' 15' N  1 54' 14' W  84 º  8.9 3.6 nm 
40 Bougard Patrice  Kogane  46 26' 84' N  1 59' 01' W  72 º  7.7 7.2 nm 
41 Le Nabour Quentin  Votre Nom pour Le Figaro  46 21' 81' N  2 02' 66' W  78 º  6.9 11.5 nm 
42 Da Cruz Antonio-Pedro  Baïko  46 29' 04' N  2 11' 02' W  76 º  9.1 15.3 nm 
43 Thiercelin Marc  Siemens  46 25' 08' N  2 10' 47' W  84 º  8.5 15.3 nm 
44 Bulot Jean-François  Crédit Mutuel de Normandie - Ville de Caen  46 11' 70' N  1 52' 69' W  67 º  8.1 16.2 nm 
45 O’Rian Paul  City Jet  46 09' 50' N  2 18' 89' W  62 º  5.1 27.9 nm 
46 Bouillard Didier  MEDevent  46 27' 15' N  2 44' 49' W  92 º  9.9 38.3 nm 
47 Le Meitour Jean-Philippe  Construction DORSO  46 00' 78' N  2 32' 87' W  77 º  5.2 40.9 nm 
48 Le Baut Jimmy  Port Olona - Arrimer  45 56' 43' N  2 30' 23' W  75 º  7.3 42.7 nm 
ABD  Svilarich Etienne  Grain de Soleil  0 º  0 nm 
ABD  King Nigel  Nigel King Yachting  0 º  0 nm 

Top 20 overall elapsed times...

Pos Skipper N° Boat Overall elapsed time
1 Desjoyeaux Michel 45 Foncia in 247h 20min 47s
2 Duthil Frédéric 7 Distinxion +26'38''
3 Douguet Corentin 10 E.Leclerc / Bouygues Telecom +01h03'50''
4 Troussel Nicolas 5 Financo +01h41'26''
5 Mahé Gildas 38 Le Comptoir Immobilier +02h14'23''
6 Drouglazet Eric 2 Luisina +02h39'05''
7 Veniard Gérald 4 Scutum +03h16'53''
8 Morvan Gildas 6 Cercle Vert +03h19'48''
9 Rouxel Thomas 97 Défi Mousquetaires +03h29'34''
10 Lepesqueux Marc 70 Rapid'Flore Caen-La-Mer +04h01'11''
11 Berenger Nicolas 68 Koné Ascenseurs +04h05'21''
12 Le Gal Franck 24 Lenze +04h46'01''
13 Chabagny Thierry 92 Brossard +04h48'47''
14 * Lunven Nicolas 19 Bostik +05h11'04''
15 Treussart Ronan 80 Groupe Celeos +05h26'33''
16 Wardley Liz 39 Sojasun +06h26'28''
17 Pellecuer Laurent 31 Cliptol Sport +06h28'06''
18 Pratt Christopher 9 Espoir Crédit Agricole +06h40'00''
19 de Broc Bertrand 55 Les Mousquetaires +07h02'

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