Runner up in 2016 and 2015, third in 2014, this must be Charlie Dalin’s year. It is the French solo skipper from Le Havre’s last year on the Skipper MACIF programme. He has already won this year’s 24 boat Solo Normandie race and is by all accounts on fire. This is, he says, his last chance to win in the MACIF colours
The first leg
“It’s going to be big, it suits me well, because I like the conditions expected. It is a leg that will test the core values and qualities of this race in every sense. We are going to have an exit of the Gironde with many tacks and buoys to manage, it will be quite intense. After that, the first night, there will , be a transition to manage and then we will be in quite tough. Especially in this stage for 24-36 hours, it will be important to be careful not to break anything. But overall the leg reminds me a bit of the conditions we had last year on the Douarnenez-Horta and it pretty much worked out well for me. All lights are green. “
The disappointment of second place in 2016?
“I transformed that disappointment into something positive. I went out and won both stages of the Douarnenez-Horta. And I have made further progress compared to last year. I had identified that I had a small weakness racing unde spinnaker, I put a lot of time and effort this winter into improving my performance under spinnaker, and today I know I gained and am better. Before, I was hoping for upwind stuff or two sail reaching now I feel I am good in all conditions. I can only be better.”
Winning, now is the time.
“This is my last year in the Skipper Macif program, so the goal is to leave on a high note, with the win that has eluded me and which I hold so dear. I have three podiums in a row, I miss the most important place but also the hardest to have. An obsession ? Not really but I want it. It is the big one I’ve won a lot of circuit races in recent years, but I miss the most important one, it would be a shame to leave without the top prize. But this time I am not the only one, we have Yann Eliès and Jérémie Beyou, whose return has just given me the extra motivation to prepare well, the more the others progressed the more the level has gone up.. Even though I think I have already proved myself, a victory could only help me to move towards my next goal which is to be at the start of the Vendée Globe 2020. I think I am really made for this race: the more I spend time on the water the more I feel I am made for it.”