Le Cleac'h first home
At 01:42:32 local time this morning (Saturday) Armel Le Cléac’h on Brit Air crossed the finish line of the first leg of La Solitaire du Figaro, two miles off Gijon, on the northern Spanish Coast. He made the 515 mile passage from Le Havre in northern France in a time of 83 hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds at an average speed of 6.9 knots.
Previously Brit Air’s skipper has participated nine times in la Solitaire, scored three leg wins and won the event outright in 2003.
Le Cléac’h sailed a perfect race right from the very start and never been lower than top five, moving into the lead just after passing Ouessant on Thursday at dawn, only temporarily conceding the first place to François Gabart and then rookie Yoann Richomme.
In the Bay of Biscay he defended well skillfully opted for a more easterly route enabling him to better escape the high-pressure encroaching from the west.
“It’s a great win," said le Cléac’h. "It was pretty exhausting on the first two days, I reckon I haven’t slept at all for 48 hours. But I knew that the passage at the Raz du Sein was crucial and I could not get any rest. I started to have hallucinations, forgetting I was racing, not knowing exactly where I was. Good I could get some rest last night and get ready for this last sprint to the finish. It was a complicated race, it’s been hard to make the right choices, the weather was not always what we expected and we had a bit of everything. I’m going to enjoy my victory now and get ready for next leg…”
Arriving just 15 minutes after the winner was Yann Eliès on Generali Europ Assistance in second place. However Eliès' position is provisional as he is to be awarded a time penalty of at least 30 minutes once the jury meet in Brest to hear the case of his broken engine seal. Eliès was forced to break the seal to in order to get his boat off the beach when he ran aground off the north coast of Finisterre while he was leading.
“The alert system did not activate and I went aground, that’s basically it," explained Eliès. "I have no regrets because I believe I sailed well up to the finish and I’m all right with what I did. It’s not easy to go back racing after such a disappointment, I made a huge mistake and I probably ruined the rest of my Solitaire, but that’s part of the game… and maybe not everything is lost, I still have a chance and I still wish to fight back.”
The podium was completed by Eric Peron and Skipper Masif 2009, who on Tueday was the first skipper to reach the Radio France buoy marking the departure point from Le Havre. This is Peron’s first leg podium finish on what is now his 4th Solitaire.
The first rookie (Solitaire du Figaro first timer) to reach Gijón was Yoann Richomme on DLBC in seventh place overall.
Italian Pietro D’Ali on I.NOVA.3 finished 35th just ahead of Artemis Ocean Racing' Jonny Malbon: “The first part has been really hard, I’ve never experienced something like the passage at the Raz du Sein - there was such a strong current it produced waves. Then I decided to go west, it was a gamble that at first seemed to pay but in the end didn’t. I’m very tired, slept very little. I’m not too disappointed because I knew from the beginning that this class and this race are tough. It could have been better but I’m still motivated for the rest of the Solitaire. I will have some hours good sleep and be ready to start again.”
Francisco Lobato on ROFF/TEMPO TEAM added: “A series of unfortunate events meant I found myself at the back of the fleet and pretty much always with things turning against me. I was OCS at the start, then managed to sail on the inside of some channel marks, so went back round them and then it was just strange to be trying to play catch up. After the channel I was forced to sail far round and west of Sein to try and avoid the current and basically by then I was miles behind. It is good to get here because to be honest, when you have no one around to race against you loose motivation abit and end up on what feels like a boat delivery. I have asked myself lots of questions and will now get some food and rest before looking at everything.”
|1||LE CLEAC'H Armel||BRIT AIR||Arrived 31/07/2010 at 01:14:32 in 83h14'32"|
|2||ELIES Yann||GENERALI-EUROP ASSISTANCE||+ 14'32"|
|3||PERON Eric||SKIPPER MACIF 2009||+ 22'50"|
|4||GABART François||SKIPPER MACIF 2010||+ 47'51"|
|5||ROUXEL Thomas||Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne||+ 49'40"|
|6||MORVAN Gildas||CERCLE VERT||+ 58'58"|
|7||RICHOMME Yoann||DLBC||+ 01h11'28"|
|8||DOUGUET Corentin||E.LECLERC MOBILE||+ 01h11'51"|
|9||TABARLY Erwan||NACARAT||+ 01h13'31"|
|10||LOISON Alexis||ALLMER INEO-GDF-SUEZ||+ 01h13'51"|
|11||GREGOIRE Jeanne||BANQUE POPULAIRE||+ 01h14'50"|
|12||DELAHAYE Fabien||PORT DE CAEN OUISTREHAM||+ 01h15'22"|
|13||TREUSSART Ronan||LUFTHANSA||+ 01h16'03"|
|14||BEYOU Jérémie||BPI||+ 01h20'36"|
|15||HARDY Adrien||AGIR Recouvrement||+ 01h25'38"|
|16||STAMM Bernard||CHEMINEES POUJOULAT||+ 01h26'06"|
|17||DUTHIL Frederic||BBOX BOUYGUES TELECOM||+ 01h27'35"|
|18||MARCHAND Anthony||ESPOIR REGION BRETAGNE||+ 01h28'28"|
|19||PELLECUER Laurent||Arnolfini.fr||+ 01h28'32"|
|20||MOUREN Jean-Paul||M@RSEILLENTREPRISES||+ 01h29'02"|
|21||de PAVANT Kito||GROUPE BEL||+ 01h29'31"|
|22||DROUGLAZET Eric||LUISINA||+ 01h32'38"|
|23||MONNET Jean-Charles||PARIS15 - Château PEYRAT-FOURTHON||+ 01h34'45"|
|24||FAUCONNIER Karine||ERIC BOMPARD Cachemire||+ 01h39'53"|
|25||JOSSIER Nicolas||IMPULSION - Pays Granvillais||+ 01h42'06"|
|26||ATTANASIO Romain||SAVEOL||+ 01h50'34"|
|27||EMIG Marc||marcemigetmoi.com||+ 01h51'43"|
|28||GIROLET Matthieu||ENTREPRENDRE (Lafont Presse)||+ 01h59'51"|
|29||GUILLOU Damien||LA SOLIDARITE MUTUALISTE||+ 02h05'04"|
|30||JOSCHKE Isabelle||SYNERGIE||+ 02h28'48"|
|31||GOUEZIGOUX Laurent||TRIER C'EST PRESERVER||+ 02h38'18"|
|32||TRIPON Armel||Gedimat||+ 02h44'36"|
|33||NICOL Jean-Pierre||BERNARD CONTROLS||+ 03h03'04"|
|34||BOUILLARD Didier||SUNGARD||+ 03h17'25"|
|35||D'ALI Pietro||I.NOVA -3||+ 03h39'00"|
|36||MALBON Jonny||ARTEMIS||+ 03h47'13"|
|37||CLOAREC Damien||PORT DE PLAISANCE ROSCOFF||+ 03h50'56"|
|38||RIVET Frédéric||VENDEE 1||+ 04h04'24"|
|39||JOSSE Sébastien||Vendée||+ 04h05'16"|
|40||LE VAILLANT Arthur||PHILIA PROMOTION IMMOBILIERE||+ 04h17'43"|
|41||GODART-PHILIPPE Arnaud||SENOBLE||+ 04h17'53"|
|42||LUNVEN Nicolas||GENERALI||+ 04h19'58"|
|43||LE GARREC Loic||SOCIETE POULIQUEN||+ 06h11'32"|
|44||TANNYERES Louis Maurice||STERICSSON||+ 06h32'06"|
|45||LOBATO Francisco||ROFF/Tempo-Team||+ 06h58'38"|