Sam Goodchild leads La Solitaire du Figaro
Sam Goodchild is coming good in La Solitaire du Figaro's third leg between Roscoff and Les Sables d'Olonne. Since the start Britain's most capped Figaro sailor has rarely been out of the top 10 and has resolutely hung on.
Goodchild's break came last night at around 2300 UTC sailing south past the Raz de Seine, when he chose to take a route shaving the lighthouse, whereas the majority of the fleet - at that stage led by Fred Rivet on DFDS Seaways - stayed further offshore. This move left him to port of the rest of the frontrunners, closer to the coast and this seemed to pay as an hour later Goodchild had overtaken Rivet and Yann Elies to take the lead in La Solitaire du Figaro, the boats at the time under a tight spinnaker reach.
Since then Goodchild has led the Solitaire du Figaro fleet around Pointe de Penmarc'h, briefly lost first place to Gildas Mahe on Interface Concept, but at the time of writing (07:40 UTC) the British skipper was back in front.
And I'd better publish this quick because we don't know how long this will last. At present the top 10 in the fleet are all within a mile of Goodchild as they head towards Belle Ile, the next mark of the course which they are obliged to leave to starboard. And there is still a long way to go. After Belle Ile the boats turn southwest towards a buoy out in the middle of the Bay of Biscay before turning east towards a mark off the mouth of the Gironde. Only then do they get to head north up to the coast to the finish off Les Sables d'Olonne.
At the time of writing Sam Goodchild, leader of La Solitaire du Figaro (we'll say this again), still had 375 miles of racing ahead of him. A great effort and we're really pleased for him.