After three days, 9 hours 33 minutes and 46 seconds Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement) crossed the finish line in Concarneau, France to take the leg 2 win of La Solitaire URGO le Figaro.
Hardy crossed the line just 54 seconds in front of Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) and an incredible come back for leg 1 winner Nicolas Lunven (Generali) finishing a further 49 seconds back. Behind this trio the race committee saw the chasing fleet, all separated by only a few minutes or even a single second in the case of 17th place finisher Vincent Biarnes (Guyot Environment) and Pierrre Wuiroga (Espoir CEM-CS).
Whilst the fleet were fifty miles from the finish at La Gere buoy, the fleet was forced to tackle a rather unstable breeze that had returned to the northeast at nightfall. The leaders struggled along the coasts of Lorient, their pursuers attacking under spinnaker all the way to the entrance of Concarneau Bay. Erwan Tabarly had apparently won a race when Nicolas Lunven tried to slip inside, the duo were unknowingly being overtaken by Adrien Hardy who remained under Genoa and won by just a few lengths…
A final compression of the fleet took place in the early hours of this morning saving many skippers who saw themselves in delicate situations, like experienced solo sailors Yann Elies (Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir) and Jeremie Beyou (Charal) who had conceded more than twenty miles in the Bay of Biscay! A positive second half to the race saw both skippers more than halve their deficit from positions in the low 30s to a final outcome of Beyou–11th and Elies–14th.
The arrival of the leaders in Concarneau confirms Nicolas Lunven at the top of the overall leaderboard albeit losing a few precious seconds to Hardys leg 2 victory, who was second in Gijón. Charlie Dalin, takes 4th place in Concarneau just 1min 22secs behind Sebastien Simon but remains in third on the overall leaderboard.
Finishing in 13th position Justine Mettraux (Teamwork) crosses the line as first of the international skippers, having held 10th/11th position consistently throughout the race Mettraux conceded 2 places in the final 3nm to the finish with solo master Beyou and Damien Cloarec (Saferail) passing. It was also a tough finish for Brit Hugh Brayshaw (The Offshore Academy) who had lead the British contingent all race, after rounding Belle Il in 21st position Brayshaw was put under pressure and reeled in by his competitors and fellow Brit Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) who takes the top Brit spot by 64 seconds finishing in 26th place with Brayshaw in 27th.
The forty three Solitaire skippers will have only just over 24 hours to recover from this incredible stage and recharge mentally and physically before entering the 3rd stage, a 150-mile round-trip sprint between Concarneau and the Loire estuary.
Arrivals to Concarneau
1-Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement) 3d 9h 33 ‘46
2-Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) 3d 9h 34’ 30
3-Nicolas Lunven (Generali) 3d 9h 35m 21
4-Charlie Dalin (Skipper Macif 2015) ‘43
5 Anthony Marchand (People Ovimpex Succor) 3d 09h 38’ 52
13-Justine Mettraux (Teamwork) 3d 10h 0’ 35
26-Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) 3d 10h 38’ 30
27-Hugh Brayshaw (The Offshore Academy) 3d 10h 39’ 34
30-Milan Kolacek (Czeching The Edge) 3d 10h 43’ 35
32-Mary Rook (Inspire+) 3d 10h 53’ 5
Provisional cumulative ranking
1-Nicolas Lunven (Generali) in 5d 17h 06 ‘37
2-Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement) - 11’58 from the leader 3-Charlie Dalin (Skipper Macif 2015) - 30 ‘55 from the leader 4-Sébastien Simon (Bretagne CMB Performance) - 37’18 from the leader 5-Yann Éliès (Quéguiner-Leukémie Espoir) - 1h 05’28 from the leader
8-Justine Mettraux (Teamwork) – 1h 35’13 from the leader
21-Milan Kolacek (Czeching The Edge) – 2h 53’34 from the leader
23-Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) – 3h 23’17 from the leader
25-Hugh Brayshaw (The Offshore Academy) – 4h 8’11 from the leader
28-Mary Rook (Inspire+) – 5h 5’13 from the leader
At the finish they said:
Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement) 1st in leg 2
“It’s me who wins this stage when I was far from being the one that was ahead for a long time. There were many leaders and I was not part of it: I just was good for the finish. I am disappointed not to have understood everything in strategy, however, I gave a lot on the boat. I thought I would finish between 6th and 8t. I had a lot of rigor on the end of the stage, which is what made it possible to make a difference. I know what it is to be in front and to be robbed of victory over the end. We were all close, we had to be good on the end.
Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) 2nd in leg 2
“I was not far from winning it up to 500 yards from the line. I was in front, I got screwed on the end. I had a good race, often in the lead. Too bad I did not win because that was my goal… We were in the limelight at the front: Nicolas Lunven went ahead, I overtook but finally it was Adrien Hardy who passed. We fell into air holes and I almost did not see Adrien! On one last gust he passed us. This one, I would have liked to win!
Nicolas Lunven (Generali) 3rd in leg 2
“When we were approaching the Chaussee de Sein, I was seven miles behind the first. Finally, there was a general regrouping, I got back into the game and I take a 3rd for this leg. I do not have too much mood, I won the lower step of the podium. “
Hugh Brayshaw (The Offshore Academy) 25th in leg 2
“I had a good race, I feel my best Solitaire leg ever even though the result might not quite show that, this is my 6th Solitaire leg ever so sailing with solo legends who have competed in 10+ Solitaire races after three days of sailing was a surprise, the consensus on the dock was that this was another classic Solitaire leg! I enjoyed quite a lot of it but there were 3 or 4 separate races in this leg, the best bit for me was rounding Belle Ile and beginning the coastal race to the finish, which was tight and tactical. From the start I managed to position myself well on the rest of the fleet, I chose to take the middle group across Biscay and had a good couple of days sticking with the pack, I rested a lot in preparation for the last 24hrs where I knew it would be tough. The weather forecast I had before the start didn’t exactly paint a perfect picture – this meant I had to sail with what I had and position myself on the other boats rather than the weather systems.”
Mary Rook (Inspire+) 32nd in leg 2
I am exhausted it was the longest race, we were on port tack for 2 days! Then it was all funky and a little crazy at the end. Across Biscay I didn’t pick the middle and with a group of others I paid for it for the next two days – it was so painful knowing that we had to wait until we got to the top of Biscay until we could do anything! I basically spent two days preparing for the final day into the finish! The last bit had some tactical racing to do which was good but the weather was a bit all over the place. On the last bit there was a large thunder storm, I went inside the island of Groix, I didn’t see the storm behind me, it suddenly came and I had 30kts with the spinnaker up, I had nowhere to go and was a bit worried for a moment but I managed to avoid the island and made it into the finish”