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Loïck Peyron sets his sights on the Solitiare URGO Le Figaro 2019

Published on 20/11/2018

Source : Philippe Eliès

There isn’t much French sailing legend Loïck Peyron hasn’t done in his career. Winner of the Jules Verne Trophy, America’s Cup helmsman, and winner of multiple Atlantic races, his CV and charismatic persona has made him one of the most sought after sailors of the last few decades.

In November last year, he completed the 3,542-nautical mile Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe Guadeloupe solo transatlantic race at the helm of the bright yellow Happy, a sistership of the small trimaran sailed by Canadian yachtsman Mike Birch when he won the inaugural Route du Rhum in 1978. At the finish line, Peyron declared his attentions have now turned to the new Figaro Bénéteau 3.

At the end of last week, we saw you in Saint-Gilles Croix-de-Vie aboard the Figaro 3 which, in 2019, will replace the Figaro 2…

“It’s a project that has been important to me for years. I have always loved firsts… The first Quebec-Saint-Malo, the first Vendée Globe, the first Andros Trophies on the ice too. I have competed in the Solitaire du Figaro four or five times. The first time, I was 20 years old. Mike Birch, who had won the Route du Rhum two years earlier, in 1978, was there. I also participated in the first Solitaire on Figaro 1 and the first year of Figaro 2. And I always said: “The day there will be a Figaro 3, I go again!”

Why come back only for the first of the new boats?

“Because these are more interesting years than others, it erases the gaps that can exist between sailors who do just that and others, like me, who touch everything. It would be particularly interesting in 2019 if all the good intentions and good starting ideas remain, namely that all the boats will be distributed on the same day to everyone. We should have 40 skippers in front of the boats and we’ll know which one we sail after the draw. This is great, we are all on equal terms. It’s going to be awesome.”

So you ordered a Figaro 3?

“I am putting this in place. This is the reason why I went to try the boat last week in Vendée. And frankly, it’s really good, it’s great. In particular, the foils. Between them, they weigh 60kg but they replace the 400kg of ballasts Figaro 2. Between No.2 and No.3, it is incomparable. Except in the cinema, the n°3, like the Tuches, or even Stars Wars, are rarely better than the n°1.

“In the boat, it’s the opposite: when you release a new model, it is often much better than the previous one. And there, for a monotype, in terms of costs, it is relatively affordable. Basically, we have 200,000 euros but for a competition boat that has a life of fifteen years, which was the case of previous, it’s not bad at all.”

Do you have a goal for your results?

“Already, I do not know if other “old people” like me will return in 2019 but it would be good. I hope I’m not the only one to have that desire. Now, we will have to train. I remember that for the first year of Figaro 2, as much as I had been on the street during the first stage, the following stages, I had finished in the ten, or even in the top five.

“This Figaro 3 is an interesting challenge for me. Moreover, it turns out that the Figaro 3 would be in demonstration at the Olympic Games 2024 for offshore racing with mixed crews. I have never made the Games, why not make them at 64 years old (laughs)... More seriously, the beauty of the sailing competition is that it is not just for young or old. There is a mix that I like.”

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