Photo: Alexis Courcoux

Jack's back!

Britain's only Solitaire rookie winner returns for this third stab at La Solitaire

Monday March 23rd 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom

The first British sailor to take home the Solitaire du Figaro Rookie prize in 2013, a then 22-year-old Jack Bouttell, was deemed the shining new star of solo offshore racing.

Now aged 24, Bouttell has added a second Solitaire du Figaro and a Volvo Ocean Race leg win to his offshore sailing experience and is sailing fast towards his third season on the Figaro circuit. With less than a week to the 196 mile Solo Basse Normandie, the first race in the Figaro calendar, Bouttell is working hard training and preparing for the 2015 racing season at Pôle Finistère Course au Large in northwest France.

Bouttell will compete three warm-up races ahead of the 2185-mile Solitaire du Figaro starting on 31 May, supported by new partner for 2015 Team Concise, returning partner GAC Pindar and long-term sponsor the Artemis Offshore Academy (a main title partner is still to be confirmed).

“I’m excited to be returning to the Figaro this year, especially with support from Team Concise, a new sponsor for me in 2015, GAC Pindar who supported my campaign in 2014 and the Artemis Offshore Academy, my long term sponsor since 2012,” Bouttell explained. “Team Concise is a great initiative set up in 2006 by Tony Lawson and Ned Collier Wakefield to help British sailors like myself compete in ocean racing, while the Artemis Offshore Academy have really put me on the road to my dream of one day competing in the solo Vendée Globe. Without the training and support the Academy have provided me with, I wouldn’t be about to race my third Solitaire du Figaro. GAC Pindar were my title sponsor for the Solitaire du Figaro in 2014, and I’m really happy to be welcoming them back as a partner this season.”

Beginning his offshore racing career at just 17 years old, Bouttell soon pinned his dreams on the Vendée Globe. In his long term quest to make it round the globe singlehanded, he enrolled in the Artemis Offshore Academy, the UK’s only training centre for solo offshore sailing, kick starting his career as a solo ocean racer.

Following his successes on the Figaro circuit with the Academy, Bouttell was invited to race leg 3 of Volvo Ocean Race with fellow Figarists Charles Caudrelier, Pascal Bidégorry, Eric Peron and Thomas Rouxell aboard the Chinese entry Dongfeng Race Team, bringing the combined number of Solitaire races/entries onboard to 28. Spurred on by the words of his friend and mentor Caudrelier, winner of the Solitaire du Figaro in 2004, Bouttell returns to the Classe Figaro circuit in 2015 with a host of new offshore skills and experiences, sailing Caudrelier’s winning Figaro – no 19.

“I discovered Jack while he was working as Dongfeng shore crew," said Caudrelier. "I very quickly found that not only was he an excellent préparateur, but also a fantastic sailor. Jack has great potential and a motivation that is rare, especially for his age – he is mature beyond his years. I have no doubt that he has the potential to be the first non-French sailor to win the Solitaire du Figaro race. Jack deserves to find sponsors that will enable him to follow his ambition, improve, fight within the top 10 and realise his dream. I wish him all the best.”

With a new confidence bought about by his Volvo Ocean Race experience, Bouttell is back and on track for a well-prepared and successful season on the Figaro circuit. Stepping back from his position with Dongfeng Race Team wasn’t easy, but his return to the 33ft Figaro Bénéteau II was a considered decision he hopes will further cement the foundations for his future in ocean racing.

He explains: “It was not only a big task but a big decision to return to the Figaro circuit in 2015 without a title sponsor, but everything is coming together well now. It was very hard for me to leave Dongfeng, especially having sailed Leg 3 and being shore crew for the opening legs of the race. It was a fantastic experience and I loved every second of it, but I know in my mind that experience racing the Figaro is a big part of the reason Dongfeng crew are currently joint leaders in the Volvo Ocean Race overall standings. So for me, the Classe Figaro Bénéteau circuit is the best place to push myself, build on my experiences and put me in good stead for future Volvo Ocean Race and Vendée Globe campaigns.”

Latest Comments

  • RacingRigo 24/03/2015 - 02:55

    Go Jack - well done!!!

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