Photo: Alexis Courcoux

Cherry in second

Generali Solo Mediteranée departs Sete

Monday September 21st 2015, Author: Emma Harris, Location: France

Almost 24 hours into the first offshore leg of the Generali Solo Mediteranée, British skipper Nick Cherry is holding second position – less than a mile behind race leader Xavier Macaire.

Sam Matson is also top five, currently fourth in the ranking just 1nm behind Cherry. Alan Roberts is in 17th place with the fleet still tightly bunched over 100nm into race.

After a sterling performance in the inshore racing in Sete, Cherry sits third on the overall leaderboard. Roberts is 9th and Matson 13th. See the overall results here.

“I am very happy with third place,” Cherry reported, celebrating his podium position with a bath. “The key to the inshore racing is a good start and getting round the windward mark in good shape. The coastal racing was very physical, my arms ache.”

After a disappointing performance in the 2015 Solitaire du Figaro, when Cherry finished 30th overall, this start to the Generali is just what Cherry needed as he looks to round off his season in style.

Twenty-two competitors set off on an amended course on Sunday 20th September. Avoiding windless areas off the islands of Porquerolles and I’Île du Levant, the race now runs 350nm straight from Sete to the north of Corsica and on to the finish in Nice.

Following a light start to the leg, the fleet soon felt the effects of the Mediterranean’s mistral winds – racing through the night at speeds of 15 knots, while race leader Xavier Macaire reports breaking speed records at 22 knots. It would have been a long first night at the helm for the skippers, watching, driving, trimming – already tired from the intensity of the inshore competition and feeling apprehensive about the difficult conditions so early in the race.

Overall race leader Charlie Dalin unfortunately fell foul of the Mistral, breaking his spinnaker pole in a wipe-out, also tearing his kite and damaging his rudder. Dalin continues to race his crippled boat and is currently 20th.

“The forecast for the leg is mixed, with light airs and strong gusty conditions throughout,” Matson explained at the start. “After a light start we hit a mistral on the first night. The wind will then drop and a moderate breeze will build to 30 knots late Tuesday/early Wednesday morning – gusting up to 45 knots between Corsica and Nice. It’s going to be a great race with a bit of everything thrown in. And the final battle to the finish line looks set to be fast, furious – and wet!”


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