Photo: Alexis Courcoux

Matson and Elsey leave in sixth

Figaro's doublehanded Transat AG2R sets sail from Concarneau

Sunday April 3rd 2016, Author: Emma Harris, Location: France

Artemis Offshore Academy sailors Sam Matson and Robin Elsey set off today on their first transatlantic crossing, starting the 3,890nm Transat AG2R La Mondiale.

A fleet of 15 33ft Figaro Bénéteau IIs and all sailing double-handed, set off from Concarneau, France at 1308 CET (1208 UK time), heading for St Barts via a mark off La Palma.

After a solid start, sailing a very good race around the initial inshore section of the course, Matson and Elsey are now settling comfortably in sixth position. Talented Figarists and pre-race favourites Yoann Richomme and Charlie Dalin, co-skippering Skipper MACIF, took a well earned and expected early lead – now setting the pace as the fleet races into the first night.

First timers to this one-design transatlantic race, the Brits are one of four Rookie crews taking part. Ahead of the start the sailors, both from the southwest of England, were in high spirits but understandably apprehensive, preparing to take on the great unknown.

“I really just want to get going now,” Elsey admitted as he left the dock. “We’ve packed up the boat with everything we think we might need and have looked at the weather for the first few days, but after that, we’re into the unknown.

“Both Sam and I prefer racing oceanic passages to inshore tactical courses and the AG2R is one long oceanic passage, so hopefully it will suit us quite well.”

After fresh conditions in the Bay of Biscay, the fleet will make its way south and eventually pick what are expected to be generally consistent trade winds as the yachts head downwind towards the Caribbean.

“We were looking at a pretty wild ride across Biscay, but the winds have calmed a little,” said Matson. “We don’t expect to see much more than 25 knots for the full 3,890 miles of the race now.

“However, the wind is consistent. After a fast run across Biscay in around 20 knots we round Cape Finisterre and head for La Palma. After La Palma we should, fingers crossed, pick up the trade winds and continue at a similar speed.”

Elsey continued: “We’re actually looking at one of the fastest AG2R’s yet. The record is 19 days and we’re looking at an ETA of around 18/19 days. It could be a really nice clean and fast race across the Atlantic.”

The first boat could arrive in St Barts as early as Friday 22 April.


Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in

Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top