Elies into the lead of La Solitaire du Figaro
The first night at sea in La Solitaire du Figaro’s opening leg from Paimpol to Gijon has proved immensely challenging for the 37 solo sailors as they struggle to make headway west in the light winds and strong tides along the north coast of Brittany.
Late yesterday afternoon between Brehat and Les Sept Iles, the fleet had divided into three groups with the bulk, including early leader Gildas Morvan on Cercle Verte, tacking back to land ready for the adverse tide change, another group - led by Adrien Hardy on AGIR Recouvrement and Portugal’s Francisco Lobato on ROFF - leaving the tack inshore until later, and two boats – Jean-Pierre Nicol on Bernard Controls and Didier Bouillard on Jehol - taking an extreme offshore option in search of more pressure.
After spending the early evening rock hopping off Perros Guirec, the former group came out on top with race favourite Yann Elies on Groupe Queguiner/Journal des enterprises edging into the lead just ahead of Erwan Tabarly on Nacarat and Yoann Richomme on DLBC. The middle group lost out after they struggled with the tide off Les Sept Iles and ended up having to pay the price as they converged with the southerly group.
To avoid the worst of the adverse tide, the fleet again dived inshore into the bay to the east of Roscoff and as they passed Roscoff, at around 2330 UTC, Elies was still leading from Erwan Tabarly and 2011’s top rookie Morgan Lagraviere on Vendee.
With the tide turning in their favour in the early hours, the boats continued to beat west but more offshore, leaving Ile de Batz to port, all the boats heading inshore once again at around 0300 UTC when the tide once again turned foul. Leader Yann Elies didn’t stay as far inshore as Morgan Lagraviere and Fabien Delahaye on Skipper MACIF 2012, who momentarily edged the Solitaire legend into third place, but since converging with the two youngsters, Elies is back in front at the latest sched.
"The start did not go as I wanted, I made a lot of errors,” admitted Yann Elies this morning. “But I have gone to great lengths to return to the top of the fleet. Certainly there was a little luck involved, but I managed to find more wind than others and to make more headway.”
The front trio has opened up a lead of almost one mile over the chasing pack as they begin their slow turn to port, following the coast around into the notorious Chenal du Four, between the island of Ushant and the northwesternmost tip of mainland France.
The boats have made better progress than was expected when they left yesterday when most were predicting an ETA at the Chenal du Four not before lunchtime today.
Among the non-French competitors, Artemis Offshore Academy skipper Nick Cherry continues to show the way, presently seventh and just over a mile behind the leaders, alongside former Mini sailor Xavier Macaire on Skipper Herault and Damien Guillou on La Solidarite Mutualiste.
Fellow Artemis Offshore Academy sailors Sam Goodchild and Henry Bomby lie in 23rd and 28th respectively, 3.7 and 5.1 miles off the lead.
Portugal’s Francisco Lobato who made such a strong start yesterda, has dropped back to 26th losing out majorly as part of the group that tacked back inshore too late yesterday evening. Norwegian rookie Kristin Songe Moller is bringing up the rear of La Solitaire du Figaro fleet, 10 miles off the lead.
Positions at 0548:
|1||SKIPPER MACIF 2012||Fabien Delahaye||48 38.00' N||4 36.20' W||3.8||250||365.4||0|
|2||GROUPE QUEGUINER / JOURNAL DES ENTREPRISES||Yann Elies||48 37.92' N||4 36.07' W||1.8||212||365.4||0.1|
|3||VENDEE||Morgan Lagraviere||48 37.92' N||4 35.93' W||2.1||158||365.5||0.2|
|4||IN EXTENSO experts - comptables||Nicolas Jossier||48 38.32' N||4 35.02' W||5||246||366.2||0.8|
|5||GENERALI||Nicolas Lunven||48 38.35' N||4 34.85' W||4.8||246||366.3||0.9|
|6||SKIPPER HERAULT||Xavier Macaire||48 38.50' N||4 34.44' W||4.4||257||366.6||1.2|
|7||ARTEMIS 77||Nick Cherry||48 38.51' N||4 34.37' W||4.9||259||366.7||1.3|
|8||LA SOLIDARITE MUTUALISTE||Damien Guillou||48 38.54' N||4 34.24' W||4.8||257||366.7||1.4|
|9||DLBC||Yoann Richomme||48 38.59' N||4 33.80' W||4.9||240||367||1.7|
|10||DESTINATION DUNKERQUE||Thomas Ruyant||48 38.66' N||4 33.70' W||4.4||232||367.1||1.8|
|11||PRATI'BÛCHES||Vincent Biarnes||48 38.67' N||4 33.58' W||4.1||234||367.2||1.8|
|12||SEPALUMIC||Frederic Duthil||48 38.69' N||4 33.42' W||4.6||232||367.3||1.9|
|13||BRETAGNE – CRÉDIT MUTUEL ESPOIR||Corentin Horeau||48 38.79' N||4 33.21' W||4.3||233||367.5||2.1|
|14||SKIPPER MACIF 2011||Paul Meilhat||48 38.86' N||4 33.13' W||4.1||238||367.5||2.2|
|15||NACARAT||Erwan Tabarly||48 39.04' N||4 32.97' W||3.8||238||367.7||2.3|
|16||CERCLE VERT||Gildas Morvan||48 39.17' N||4 32.58' W||3.6||245||368||2.6|
|17||FINANCIERE DE L'ECHIQUIER||Thomas Normand||48 39.26' N||4 31.91' W||1.9||232||368.4||3.1|
|18||BRITANIE COSMETIQUES||David Sineau||48 39.70' N||4 31.35' W||0||0||368.5||3.1|
|19||GEDIMAT||Thierry Chabagny||48 39.34' N||4 31.57' W||3.1||200||368.7||3.3|
|20||KEOPSYS||Charlie Dalin||48 39.34' N||4 31.36' W||3.2||200||368.8||3.4|
|21||GROUPE FIVA||Alexis Loison||48 39.85' N||4 30.86' W||0||0||368.9||3.5|
|22||SEIXO PROMOTION||Julien Villion||48 39.78' N||4 31.07' W||3.7||263||369.1||3.7|
|23||ARTEMIS 23||Sam Goodchild||48 39.41' N||4 30.82' W||3.1||249||369.1||3.8|
|24||BANQUE POPULAIRE||Jeanne Gregoire||48 39.65' N||4 30.66' W||3.2||256||369.3||3.9|
|25||AGIR RECOUVREMENT||Adrien Hardy||48 39.65' N||4 30.10' W||3||271||369.7||4.3|
|26||ROFF||Francisco Lobato||48 39.77' N||4 29.50' W||3.1||268||370.1||4.7|
|27||BRETAGNE CRÉDIT MUTUEL PERFORMANCE||Anthony Marchand||48 40.08' N||4 29.27' W||2.4||274||370.3||5|
|28||ARTEMIS 37||Henry Bomby||48 40.18' N||4 29.07' W||2.4||283||370.5||5.1|
|29||ENTREPRENDRE LAFONT PRESSE||Matthieu Girolet||48 40.16' N||4 28.88' W||2.1||285||370.6||5.2|
|30||GALETTES SAINT-MICHEL||Isabelle Joschke||48 40.13' N||4 28.68' W||1.8||282||370.7||5.3|
|31||BERNARD CONTROLS||Jean-Pierre Nicol||48 45.02' N||4 31.99' W||1.1||326||371.2||5.8|
|32||GROUPE SNEF||Jean-Paul Mouren||48 40.21' N||4 26.92' W||1.9||266||371.8||6.5|
|33||VOYONS LARGE||Eric D'Hooghe||48 40.57' N||4 25.33' W||2.9||260||373||7.6|
|34||JEHOL||Didier Bouillard||48 40.54' N||4 25.19' W||3.1||263||373||7.7|
|35||ONE NETWORK ENERGIES||Yannig Livory||48 40.64' N||4 24.95' W||2.9||271||373.2||7.8|
|36||KICKERS||Sebastien Picault||48 40.58' N||4 24.91' W||2.9||265||373.2||7.9|
|37||KRISTIN FOR FULLE SEIL||Kristin Songe Molle||48 41.36' N||4 21.73' W||3||260||375.5||10.1|