Photo: Alexis Courcoux

Solitaire underway

Sam Goodchild and Team Plymouth hold third at first sched

Sunday June 8th 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: France

The 45th La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire got underway at 1100UTC after the fleet had been moored for several hours off Deauville. Anthony Marchand (Ovimpex Secours Populaire) was first around the two inshore marks followed by Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) and David Kenefick (Full Irish) - a great start by the young Irishman who celebrates his 23rd birthday tomorrow.

Looking forward to this year's race, David Kenefick said: “I feel so much more relaxed this year, I'm much happier, I'm ready to go. I'm slightly nervous but if I wasn't nervous it would be time to stop doing this. It's going to be quite a tricky leg, Monday's going to be where the gaps will open up, it's important to be pretty fresh tonight and keep pushing. As a whole I think I've done everything I could to prepare the boat, I'm happy.”

The race didn't get off to the best start for two of the pre-race favourites. Yann Elies (Groupe Queguiner) and Charlie Dalin (Normandy Elite Team) were both recalled after being over the start line as were British sailors, Nick Cherry (Redshift) and Ed Hill (Macmillan Cancer Support). Elies, who is chasing a third consecutive Solitaire win was in last place as the fleet rounded the windward buoy.

In the rookie class, Artemis Offshore Academy member, Rich Mason (Artemis 77) made the best of the inshore course, rounding both marks in 12th place. The 26 year old from Portland is looking forward to sailing in local waters but admits that his first ever Solitaire leg will be a massive challenge.

Mason commented: “We went to sleep thinking that we had a clear idea of what the weather was doing - the Monday was going to be difficult but after that we were going to have wind. We wake up this morning to find that's all changed, it's definitely a four-day leg now which is about double the time I've ever been at sea.”

The fleet of 38 Figaros has now left Deauville behind and is heading off on its 484nm race that includes three channel crossings before finishing in Plymouth. This is the first time in 11 years that the race has been to a UK port and the first time ever to the Devon city.

Plymothians will be excited to learn that since 1430BST one of their local sailors, Sam Goodchild (Team Plymouth) had moved up to third place. This is the fourth Solitaire for the 24-year-old who finished 11th in 2013, the best British result since 1975. He was a little nervous before this morning's start: “I'm just looking forward to getting out there and getting racing. We've got 4 or 5 hours sitting on the water before the start so I'll just try to take it easy, try to get some rest and not get too stressed sitting there on your own watching the fact that there's no wind and thinking about Leg 1”.

The latest weather briefings suggest the sailors are going to hit a transition in the wind when they reach the English coast, particularly between the Owers mark off the Isle of Wight and Start Point. Big splits in the fleet may occur at this point. We'll wait and see.

Before leaving Jéremie Beyou (Maître Coq) said : “It is special to be moored before the race starts ... However, it gives you some time to have a deeper analysis of the weather! We already have more wind than predicted now and I hope it will stays the same until departure. Weather models differ for the start of the leg: it will be dependent of the timing of the inshore race. After the Isle of Wight, there is an important transition zone before getting some southwest wind: it will be very inconstant and I'll be ready for it ! I have some ready-to-eat meals, chicken, nuts, fruits… I eat when I'm hungry ,and when I realise that I have not eaten enough the previous hours, I take supplements. About sleep I have benchmarks to know when I have to take some rest : before Owers, we will have to find time to go to sleep as we'll have to be on deck for the second night. I'm always stressed before leaving and only released at the kick-off! "

Positions at 14:30UTC

1 Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux)
2 Anthony Marchand (Ovimpex)
3 Sam Goodchild (Team Plymouth)
4 Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012)
5 Corentin Horeau (Bretagne - Credit Mutuel Performance
6 David Kenefick (Full Irish)
7 Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva)
8 Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement)
9 Jeremie Beyou (Maitre Coq)
10 Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert)

International Skippers at 15:30 BST

3 Sam Goodchild (Team Plymouth)
6 David Kenefick (Full Irish)
19 Henry Bomby (Red)
21 Sam Matson (Artemis 21)
24 Ed Hill (Macmillan Cancer Support)
28 Nick Cherry (Redshift)
31 Rich Mason (Artemis 77)
33 Jack Bouttel (GAC Pindar)
35 Alan Roberts (Artemis 23)

Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in


Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top