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Light Air Forces Shortened Course For Leg 2 Of La Solitaire Du Figaro


  • Light Air Forces Shortened Course For Leg 2 Of La Solitaire Du Figaro

    Dhallene is 'cock of the north' at Chicken Rock

    The reward for rounding Chicken Rock light among the lead group early this morning has been a modest slingshot southwards, sailing downwind at almost double the speed of those who had still to complete this long climb from Kinsale to this most northerly turning mark of this Stage 2 course.

    Hugo Dhallene, stage leader, was making 11.5kts at 0800hrs local time, already nearly passing the NW tip of Wales, with a lead of 4.6 nautical miles over the Normandy duo Alexis Loison (Groupe REEL) with Guillaume Pirouelle (R?gion Normandie) – Loison’s prot?g? – who is 2.3 miles behind him.
    And Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) is eighth some 13 miles behind the leader.

    Hugo Dhallenne (YC de Saint-Lunaire), 1st at Chicken Rock said this morning: “The climb was like a real speed race with those round me. It's the one who got the fastest north. Overall, the wind-current sequence means that this tends to widen the gaps in our favour. I try to make the most of it. It's really nice to be at the front. Now there is the downhill, with more uncertain weather at the end of this stage. We're going to start attacking downwind As they passed the lighthouse, the situation was fairly calm with 14 knots from the northeast. This allows you to go south at 8.7 knots, under tight big spinnaker. We are going full south, because we're going with the current. I slept a lot last night, I ate well too. Since the start, I am on my 5th bottle of water everything is fine on board. My goal is the rookie ranking. If a seasoned Figaro sailor overtakes me, it will be a shame, but it won't be super serious.”

    Times at Chicken Rock (French time)

    1 / Hugo Dhallenne (Saint-Lunaire YC): 4h28
    2 / Alexis Loison (REAL Group): 4h49
    3 / Arthur Hubert (MonAtout? 4h55
    4 / Guillaume Pirouelle (R?gion Normandie): 5h00
    5 / Jules Delpech (ORCOM): 5h05
    6 / Nils Palmieri (TeamWork): 5h11
    7 / Julie Simon (TWELVE): 5h17
    8 / Philippe Hartz (National Navy-Foundation of the Sea): 5h25
    9 / Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan): 5h32
    10 / Charlotte Yven (Skipper Macif 2023): 5h48


    Hugo Dhallenne leads the flock to Chicken Rock lighthouse

    The climb to Chicken Rock lighthouse, south of the Isle of Man is proving to be not for the faint hearted among the 32 solo skippers racing on the second stage of the 54th La Solitaire du Figaro. The combination of strong tides, periods of light winds and different strategic options is creating some big gaps in the fleet.

    French rookie Hugo Dhallene (YC St Lunaire), 33, leads the fleet as they beat north to the most northerly turn of a 570 miles course to the Bay of Morlaix which started from Kinsale on Sunday lunchtime. Winner of the series fleet in the 2021 MiniTransat, Dhallene is an experienced offshore racer from Saint Malo whose father was on Eric Tabarly’s technical crew.

    With some 55 miles to climb out of the Saint George’s Channel, racing still in a NE’ly wind, Dahllene now has the majority of the fleet more lined up behind him, including Ireland’s Stage 1 winner Tom Dolan in tenth at six miles off the lead. But around 1700hrs UK time this afternoon they were still making between two and four knots of boat speed.

    Dhallene led through the Intermediate Sprint at South Arklow this afternoon, gaining himself a 5 minutes time bonus at around 1220hrs local time, Dolan was around 40 minutes behind but key for him is having some pre-race favourites like Gaston Morvan (R?gion Bretagne-CMB Performance), Corentin Horeau (Banque Populaire), and Basile Bourgnon (EDENRED) even further behind. Bourgnon – fifth into Kinsale – was two hours behind the leader at the so called ‘sprint’ mark.

    Race Director Yann Chateau announced earlier in the day that the flee will sail the long course, round the rock south of the Isle of Man rather than a possible shorter course which would have turned south offshore of Dublin Bay

    “The most optimistic models see an ETA of the first finisher in the Bay of Morlaix on Thursday during the day, the most pessimistic in the evening. The idea is to keep true to this stage as much as it is a test in the Irish Sea but still making sure there is enough rest time at the next stopover,"

    They said on the VHF Hugo Dhallenne (YC de Saint-Lunaire), after passing the mark of South Arklow

    “That's it, the intermediate sprint is over. Now to head due north to find Chicken Rock, near the Isle of Man. It is always upwind The current is quite strong here. For the moment, we have it with us, but it will soon be reversed. We take every little thing we can take; and then you have to deal with it. It's very nice to pass a mark in the lead on the Solitaire, especially 24 hours after the start. But the stage is far from over. There is still work to do, I want to stay at the front.”


    Stage 2 course shortened before start due to light winds forecast

    In an amendment posted Friday evening Yann Chateau, Race Director of the Solitaire du Figaro Paprec and OC SPORT Pen Duick told the 32 skippers the second stage to the Bay of Morlaix.

    Rather than go to the Isle of Man which lies in the north of the Irish Sea, because of forecast light winds, the course has been shortened. Two options are posted which reduce the planned 620 nautical miles course by either 120 or 60 miles, the objective being to provide a fair, even course and have the fleet into Roscoff on Thursday 7th September as planned.

    Topsy turvy weather picture

    “We find ourselves in a fairly exceptional weather situation. The Isle of Man and the Irish Sea are renowned for relatively active depressions. But we are seeing a very widespread anticyclonic ridge over the Celtic Sea and the Iroise Sea, while there are low pressure systems off the coast of Spain, which is quite rare in terms of weather. The routing times are very long with arrivals announced between Friday and Saturday which then don’t allow enough rest time for the skippers at the end of the race,” explains the Race Director.

    The first, the most optimistic and closest to the original route will therefore take the racers to the Chicken Rock lighthouse located in the southwest of the Isle of Man. The second, if the Figaros would struggle too much would take them on a shorter route to the Odas M2 weather buoy north of Dublin Bay.

    OC SPORT and Yann Chateau will make the final decision before the first mark of the course, South Arklow, located in the south of Dublin, looking to a finish on Thursday.
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