Sam Goodchild and Nick Cherry on the Transat AG2R

Mark Lloyd / Artemis Offshore Academy
Artemis Offshore Academy duo to set sail in the Transat AG2R this Saturday
In the Figaro class, the top event remains the annual Solitaire. However following close behind is the doublehanded Transat AG2, this year celebrating its 20th birthday since a young Jacques Caraes and Michel Desjoyeaux won the first race to St Barts in 1992. While the first races started from Lorient, since 2006 the event has set sail from Concarneau close to the French shorthanded offshore racing stronghold of Port la Foret. When the race sets sail on Saturday, 15 boats are due to take part, substantially down on the 25-30 boats that traditionally compete in this event - an unfortunate sign of the times. However the fleet remains strong with at least half of the boats capable of reaching the podium, based on past form. If there is a favourite it is probably Fabien Delahaye on Skipper MACIF, who won this biennial transatlantic race when it was last held in 2010. Although the 27-year-old from Caen was on that occasion sailing with Armel le Cleac’h, last year Delahaye proved himself singlehanded when he came second in La Solitaire, a race in which his Transat AG2R co-skipper Paul Meilhat was sixth. Also in the frame for the Transat AG2R are Anthony Marchand, sailing Bretagne Credit Mutuel Performance with Romain Attanasio (aka Mr Sam Davies). Attanasio has always done well in this event, finishing 4th in 2004 and coming third with her indoors two years ago. Figaro legend Gildas Morvan on Cercle Verte is sailing his eighth Transat AG2R having podiumed twice, and on board him on this occasion ex-Mini sailor and naval architect Charlie Dalin. Thierry Chabagny and Christopher Pratt are also expected to do well, as are the longest standing crew in this race, Jeanne Gregoire and Gerald Veniard on Banque Populaire. The sole crew representing the UK are this year’s Artemis Offshore Academy Solitaire