Published on 14/09/2018
Charlie Dalin (Skipper Macif 2015) is doing all he can to put behind him a disappointing Stage 3 result and to give himself the best possible chance of landing his fifth successive La Solitaire podium finish. The 34-year-old skipper from Le Havre leads the final stage of the 49th La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro as the 36-strong fleet passed the 24 hour sprint leg’s theoretical half way point at 0600hrs this Friday morning.
Almost since the first turning mark, 1.2 miles into the 165 nautical miles 24 hours circuit, Dalin led the fleet down on a broad spinnaker reach down the Vendée coast last night, the first leg of a loop of the Ile de Ré, the Rochebonne bank buoy and the Ile d’Yeu.
But overall race leader Sébastien Simon (Bretagne CMB Performance), the 28-years-old skipper from Les Sables d’Olonne, has left himself a lot to do if he is to close out his first overall La Solitaire title. Starting the final showdown circuit, the 24 Hours Massif Marine, Simon had a lead of 35 minutes and 45 seconds in hand. At the half way point of the race, tight reaching towards the Rochebonne turn northwards, Simon is 14th some 2.1 nautical miles behind leader Dalin.
Whilst making 7.5 to eight knots this morning, Simon’s race lead is probably nearly halved but remains intact. He will also catch a little more on Dalin, and his other nearest contender, 33-year-old Anthony Marchand (Groupe Royer-Secours Populaire) slow when they slow first for the 30 nautical miles upwind stage to the Ile d’Yeu.
Dalin’s prospects of a podium finish do look good, particularly as overall second placed 27-years-old Vendée skipper Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) gybed offshore on the long run towards Ile de Ré and lost significantly to lie 28th at nine miles, or over an hour behind. Dalin started the stage with six minutes and 42 seconds in hand over Marchand who is less than half a mile, or a couple of minutes behind. Dalin is looking to add to his remarkable run of 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd overall in the last four years.
Britain’s Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) and Hugh Brayshaw (KAMAT) chose the offshore option on the run and paid a heavy toll along with Macaire. They were 29th and 33rd this morning also more than eight miles behind the leaders. Nick Cherry (Redshift) is 14th, 2.3 miles behind, Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) 20th and third rookie, and his compatriot Joan Mulloy (Taste the Atlantic-A Seafood Journey) is 34th.
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