The 442 mile second leg of the Solitaire du Figaro delivered mixed conditions for the 36 single-handed sailors racing from Gijon, Spain to Saint Gilles Croix de Vie, France.
After making contact with Yann Eliés on the start line, Nick Cherry finished the inshore course and headed for open waters in twentieth position. © Artemis Offshore Academy.
Gildas Morvan, Circle Vert won the leg under a moonlit night sky after 60 hours, 28 minutes and 28 seconds, his first leg win after competing in the race 16 times. Nick Cherry, Artemis 77 led the rookie fleet for 26 hours producing a nail-biting second-half that ultimately saw Corentin Horeau, Crédit Mutuel Espior overhauling Cherry in the final stages, as did Jullien Villon, Sexio Promotion. “I am not happy at the moment but I think maybe I will be,” said Cherry at the dockside in France. “It’s always frustrating to lose places near the finish.” Even though Cherry is disappointed that he was knocked off the top spot to finish just three minutes behind Horeau and 17 seconds behind Villon, he has one leg remaining to go for the top rookie spot.
After the downwind drag race across the Bay of Biscay the fleet rounded three marks in darkness on the second night, including the notorious Raz de Sein, known for its strong tidal waters. The fleet then headed south to the finish in a 12-knot southwesterly before the wind became lighter around the finish. Sam Goodchild, Artemis 23 had also been racing to the finish within the Cherry and Horeau group finishing in twenty-fourth place, another frustrating result for him as he was looking for a better place on this leg: “I lost a lot of miles at the beginning and spent the rest of the race trying to catch up, and struggling both mentally and physically. I found it pretty hard to get to grips with what was happening.” One of the hardest aspects solo sailors face is just that, being on your own, and something Goodchild struggled with on this leg: “In the Figaro there is no one else to talk to so I did a lot of fighting with myself.”
The youngest skipper in the group, Henry Bomby, Artemis 77 finished in thirty-sixth place after suffering total electronic failure on the first night, but persevering and closing the distance between him and the fleet until the end. “I had a problem on the first night with my electronics, just as it was getting dark all my electronics failed. This included all my instruments and my autopilot and as I was under spinnaker the boat broached. I then had to call Gilles Chiorri (Race Director) to ask if I could speak to other competitors on the radio to ask for their help. After an hour and half, with some help from some of my French competitors, I managed to isolate the problem. I then managed to get the electronics back up and running, but by this point I was back in the ridge of little pressure and I had to work my way out of that and back into the breeze. By this point I had lost a lot of time.”
Leg 1 winner Yann Eliés, Groupe Queguiner/Journal des Entreprises still maintains the overall lead on cumulative time with Morgan Lagraviere, Vendee in second and Nicols Lunven, Generali in third.
View the Solitaire du Figaro leg two and overall results here.
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