Photo: Alexis Courcoux

Two horse race east

Richomme and Tabarly get a break on leg one of La Solitaire du Figaro

Wednesday June 22nd 2016, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Yesterday evening at around 1945 UTC, less than a mile separated the lead six boats in La Solitaire du Figaro Bompard as they passed the Lizard for a second time, on this occasion on their return journey towards Cowes. At the front of the fleet, neck and neck were the two Skipper MACIF boats, sailed by Yoann Richomme and Charlie Dalin, with Nicolas Lunven, Thierry Chabagny, Corentin Douguet and Erwan Tabarly close behind.

In the moderate southwesterly breeze the boats were making around 7 knots downwind.

Overnight the boats have been laying Start Point and it was the turn of Lunven on Generali and Chabagny on Gedimat to take over the lead, sailing marginally to the north of the Skipper MACIF duo. However a slight hiatus with the wind seems to have occurred at around 0430 UTC which allowed Richomme and Tabarly to remain in pressure as the boats to the north floundered. As a result, by the time the two leaders were due south of Start Point, at around 0530 UTC this morning, they had managed to pull out, a (in Figaro terms) leg winning lead of six miles over Dalin and Chabigny with Lunven down to fifth, 8.5 miles off the pace. 

“This leg is tough and we don't know how it will end,” reported Richomme this morning. “We had drizzle overnight and so we are pretty wet. We are making forward progress and so I guess we have to be happy with that but the wind is dropping. It all worries me a bit because everything (about the weather) is so vague and unsure. The good news is that from Start Point we will go with the current and now we are five in a small group. We are going well together and keep the rhythm up, swapping places at time. It is tough though.”

At the time of writing the leaders were approaching Portland Bill with just 0.1 miles separating them and with Dalin having closed to 3.6 miles.

There is now more than 70 miles between first and last and the spread will likely increase on the change of tides en route to the finish line in Cowes. It is this distance between the leading pack and the last boats that will likely dictate whether the race officers choose to shorten the course.

The wind is also doing difficult to predict things at the moment as the south of the UK is caught between three conflicting weather systems - a well formed depression to the northwest of Ireland, another shallower depression over the Iberian peninsula and high pressure over central Europe. The relative movements of these systems is causing some dramatic shifts on the race course.

The final miles between The Lizard and Wolf Rock proved cruel to the British skippers who found themselves inshore in lighter breeze, losing miles at the rounding. Will Harris (Artemis 77), who was the best of the GBR sailors on the approach, lost ten miles to the leaders and is now 33 miles behind. Nick Cherry (Redshift) is currently the best of the British in 18th place, just over one mile ahead of Harris.

At 1100 this morning the top placed Brit was Alan Roberts in 18th place with Nick Cherry on Redshift in 19th, less than a mile behind. However they are now almost 40 miles behind the leaders. However Will Harris remains the lead 'bizuth', currently in 21st place.

Latest Comments

Add a comment - Members log in

Latest news!

Back to top
    Back to top