Ding ding - round 3

Figaro's set sail from La Rochelle today

Monday August 11th 2003, Author: James Boyd, Location: France
Leg three of the Solitaire du Figaro sets sail from La Rochelle bound for Dingle in southern Ireland today at 1600BST, the late start because of the tides. This leg is 536 miles long and the longest, although also the most direct. Their ETA in Ireland given the conditions is Friday.

The forecast as with the Fastnet Race will be for light winds with a majority of the race dominated by the gradient breeze from the high moving across Ireland and England (therefore reaching and running) as well as the local sea and land breezes as the fleet move up the Atlantic coast of France.

It will also see the new Figaro Beneteau 2's first foray into the open ocean - although given the forecast it looks as though this is more likely to be a test of the singlehanded sailors than the new boat.

"These are going to be four days in the open sea in shifty winds which will put the sailors’ stamina to the test," predicts Race Director Denis Horeay. "Each of them will have to take control of themselves and their boats to maintain the high level of the competition."

Yann Elies currently heads the leaderboard with just 16 minutes separating the top four - with Armel le Cleac'h second and former winners of this event Alain Gautier and Pascal Bidegorry third and fourth respectively.

Sam Davies is currently 24th overall (two places ahead of Loick Peyron - ho ho) and is the third 'bizuth' (Figaro first timer). But to put this into perspective on the combined elapsed times from legs one and two she is just 24 mins 35 secs behind second placed bizuth Yves Le Blevec (who is 19th overall) and 44 mins 47 secs behind bizuth leader Marc Emig (11th overall). In fact Sam is just 2 hours and 11 minutes off Yann Elies.

Looking forward to the weather for leg two Sam predicts: "There are two scenarios on the weather front and I will need good weather fax information during this leg. There is an anticyclone and a depression - and these will affect which route you take. The boats will be coast hugging on the first day and night but not so much on the second day as they start to rely on the sea breeze a bit more. There is no really good option to head out into open sea as there is not enough breeze.

"I will be looking to stick with the main pack and not do anything radical. I will be watching for Marc [Emig] and Yves [le Blevec] but I won't be trying to cover them on this leg. I think you would be stupid to start covering people on this kind of leg as opposed to doing what you want to do. I will try and stay close to a couple of fast boats to make sure my boat speed is good. This leg is potentially more dangerous on the collision front: loads more fishing boats and commercial traffic. I have an Active Echo to tell me when ships are in the area and an alarm.

At 536 miles and the possibility of light winds, this will mean that the skippers will be without sleep for a further day, which they will all find just that little more taxing.

Pos Skipper Boat Elasped time
1 ELIES Yann Groupe Générali Assurances 149h13'14''
2 LE CLEAC'H Armel Créaline + 7'51''
3 GAUTIER Alain Foncia + 16'08''
4 BIDEGORRY Pascal Région Aquitaine + 16'29''
5 THIERCELIN Marc Bermudes + 52'38''
6 TABARLY Erwan Thalès + 1h05'28''
7 DESJOYEAUX Michel Géant + 1h06'31''
8 BEYOU Jérémie Delta Dore + 1h12'16''
9 CAUDRELIER Charles Bostik Findley + 1h18'34''
10 ATTANASIO Romain Port Trebeurden + 1h23'13''
11 EMIG Marc Espoir Total Course au Large + 1h26'47''
12 DE PAVANT Christophe Crash Bandicoot + 1h28'30''
13 DROUGLAZET Eric David Olivier + 1h28'56''
14 PETIT Benoit Défi Santé Voile + 1h30'15''
15 PELLECUER Laurent Cliptol Sport + 1h34'17''
16 MORVAN Gildas Cercle Vert + 1h39'13''
17 CHIORRI Gilles 32 01 Météo Consult Groupe Prosodie + 1h42'18''
18 CHABAGNY Thierry Petit Navire Le Bon Goût du Large + 1h42'37''
19 LE BLEVEC Yves Rêve de Grand-Actual Intérim + 1h51'22''
20 ESCOFFIER F.Y. Crêpes Whaou ! + 1h53'51''
21 ARTAUD Christophe Petits Petons + 1h54'32''
22 GRIMONT Damien Soletanche-Bachy + 1h55'19''
23 PEAN Lionel Nouvel Observateur + 1h59'00''
24 DAVIES Samantha Skandia + 2h11'34''
25 BOISSIERES Arnaud MBD Design - Sorelec + 2h20'39''
26 PEYRON Loïck Fujifilm + 2h21'35''
27 TOULORGE Alexandre Ville de Cherbourg - Crédit Mutuel + 2h32'06''
28 MOUREN Jean-Paul Marseille Entreprises + 2h40'29''
29 GREGOIRE Jeanne Skipper AG2R + 2h42'09''
30 SEVAUX Stéphane Sarthe + 2h46'41''
31 BAKKER Sander Egeria + 3h08'08''
32 BOUGARD Patrice Kogane + 3h28'17''
33 GUERIN Ronan Amandine & Chérie + 3h36'19''
34 RIOU Gwenaël Espoir Crédit Agricole + 3h47'34''
35 BOUVET Christophe Savoy Open Race Télé Monte Carlo + 4h09'37''
36 DUPONT Daniel Art Immobilier Construction + 5h52'25''
37 ALFARO Amaiur Eki + 6h10'46''
38 AGUSTA Corrado Sector Sport Watches + 6h22'40''
39 PILAT Eric Altaventure-SNSM + 6h29'41''
40 BOS Christian Raynal et Roquelaure + 6h47'25''
41 LEBRETON Eric CYP + 7h37'54''

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