No sooner had the fleet of 43 solo Figaro sailors completed leg 2 of La Solitaire URGO le Figaro than the preparations and minds turn to the start of leg 2. All but one Figaro had arrived in Concarneau by 3.30am local time with only Anglo-American Nathalie Criou (Richmod Yacht Club Foundation) left on the course, who’s expected to cross the finish line in Concarneau at 7pm local time. The 42 sailors have less than 30 hours to recover from the last two stages which have shown to be extremely demanding in very different conditions.
On shore starts another race, a race against time, with the help of a preparateurs to get the boats ready for the next start; sew up the torn sails, rinse the equipment, sleep, eat and recover mind and body as well as possible. With a revised start time of 2pm local time tomorrow, the fleet will benefit from two extra hours of much needed rest and preparation granted by La Solitaire URGO le Figaro Race Director Francis Le Goff. These hours will be much needed after the sight of exhausted sailors that arrived in Concarneau, red eyed and staggered steps which speak volumes about the state in which the sailors are in.
“The two hours added to the departure is a small gift that will do good to everyone, especially our preparateurs” Alex Loison (Custo Pol) commented before lying down to receive a sports massage.
Four sailors (Lunven, Hardy, Salin and Simon) clearly are set for the first place in the overall standings, 37 minutes separate the skippers of Generali and Brittany-Credit Mutuel Performance. There will be an intense fight between these 4 competitors in the last two stages! Further back in the field experienced sailors such as Jeremie Beyou (Charal), Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux), Alexis Loison (Custo Pol) or Xavier Macaire (SNEF Group) no longer race for the overall podium as the damage has now been done – their aim will be for a stage victory.
The third stage will take the fleet on a 150 mile sprint around the archipelago of Les Glenans 10 miles off the Southern Brittany coast, then a tactical decision to be made by the skippers of how to best navigate the island of Belle Il, which for the second time in the race will be navigated before continuing South East to the cardinal buoy ‘sud Banc de Guerande’, then making their way northwards around turning marks off the coast at Quiberon and the final dash northwest back to Concarneau.
Outlook ahead for Leg 3
For stage 3 a high pressure in the Atlantic should generate a moderate wind of 12-15kts for tomorrows departure. Throughout the afternoon of Thursday west-northwest winds will turn northerly by the evening, these good conditions should allow the skippers to get out of the Glenan archipelago quickly and to accelerate towards the south all evening under big spinnakers. The return to Concarneau after the passage around sud Banc de Guerande cardinal buoy holds more uncertainty. Light gradient wind will force the skippers to seek thermal winds closer to the shore, battling currents and local weather conditions. The potential arrival of breeze on Friday morning could restore play and tactical differences for the fleet which could be compact due to the conditions. The current routing promises an express stage with the 150 mile course expected to be completed in under 24hrs.
Alan Roberts, Seacat Services, 23rd Overall after 2 stages
“I’m not too bad, I’m ready to go for the third stage. I did not have the opportunity to put up places on this second stage, I found myself in the wrong place from the beginning. I hope that for the 3rd and 4th stages that I will be back in the game!”
Commenting on stage two Martin Le Pape, Skipper Macif 2017, 19th Overall after 2 stages
“That was a true stage of Figaro. With all the conditions, changes in ranking you want, here are changes of leaders and a winner that was not necessarily expected! For my part, I took a lot of pleasure in the performance. I was at the front, finally I finished 8th, it’s not so bad and it’s my best result to date on a stage of the Solitaire! I was not far away, that’s what I remember ... ”
Hugh Brayshaw, The Offshore Academy, commenting on the stage ahead
“This will be a very different leg to the last one, just under 24hrs of intense racing will be exciting but exhausting at the same time – resting at the right time is going to be key – I’m getting a lot better at managing my micro naps and getting my head down for 10 minutes at a time. If the last leg is anything to go by the start is again going to be key and attempt to get in the front pack and stay there.”
Mary Rook, Inspire+
“The return of this leg will see us sail in the same waters and shores that we did just this morning – it will perhaps have a déjà vu feeling but the wind and the tide are for sure going to be different as the wind we experienced this morning was completely random!”
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