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The 320nm Solo du Maitre Is On!


  • The 320nm Solo du Maitre Is On!

    The (big) sprint is on!

    The 33 Figarists involved in the 19th edition of the Solo Ma?tre CoQ got to the heart of the matter on Tuesday. At 11:50 am, with a very slight delay on the scheduled time, they set off on the long course of the event, propelled by a northerly wind blowing between 10 and 12 knots. A flow which should however ease during the afternoon and switch to the northwest, thus making the first miles of the race to the Ile de R? tricky, the bypass of which also promises to be subtle and probably decisive. It is, in fact, a safe bet that those who have taken the advantage on this section of the course will take an interesting option for the future which may quickly resemble a sprint race. In short, take care of your trajectories and settings,

    After three days devoted to the various gauge and safety checks, the 33 competitors in the Solo Ma?tre CoQ therefore began the debates this Tuesday at the end of the morning. Taking advantage of a light northerly wind, they quickly set sail towards the Ile de R? after rounding a release buoy in the bay of Les Sables d'Olonne. A mark that Ma?l Garnier (AGEAS - Team Baie de Saint-Brieuc) overtook the lead ahead of Laurent Bourgu?s (United for Ukraine 56), Jules Delpech (Orcom), Gaston Morvan (Brittany Region - CMB Espoir), Nils Palmieri ( TeamWork), Lo?s Berrehar (Skipper Macif 2022) and Tom Laperche (Brittany Region – Performance), the defending champion, aware that the first hours of the race promise to be relatively crucial. "This afternoon, it's going to be quite calm but with a lot of strategy to reach the Ile de R? bridge,” said the Trinitain, shortly before leaving the Vend?e Globe pontoon in Port Olona. In fact, the northerly flow that currently accompanies them will gradually ease and then turn northwest over the course of the day.

    A possibly decisive tour of the Ile de R?

    It will therefore be necessary to show finesse and keep an eye open even if it is undoubtedly the bypass of the island - which the first should complete around 9-10 p.m. this evening - which is likely to prove to be the more trapper. “ The Tour de R? is always quite complex and this will be confirmed once again this year because we are going against the current. To succeed in advancing relatively quickly, it will be necessary to go and play close to the coast. It's going to be quite physical because we'll have to chain tacks,” assures Tom Laperche. An opinion shared by Lo?s Berrehar (Skipper Macif 2022):“The passage to the south of the Ile de R? will indeed be important and we will have to position ourselves well. Probably go racing a little close to the rocks. It will be necessary to balance things between the danger and the gain in performance. It's going to be a fairly decisive moment because afterwards, it risks being above all a speed race”. And for good reason, according to the latest weather files, the ascent to Belle-Ile should be upwind on one tack. Ditto for the long descent to Rochebonne, but downwind. Still, if, therefore, speed will certainly have the upper hand, everything will not be as simple as it seems, as always.

    Speed, sinews of war

    “ Even when it seems easy there are, in reality, all the time little details to be worked out. We will have to succeed in putting on some coal at the right times but also, in my opinion, succeed in being very lucid on the section between Belle-Ile and Rochebonne, and engage well to put people behind and make the break. This is all the more true as the last miles remain very uncertain, with no doubt changes in the weather. Clearly, the goal will not be to economize but rather to go all out. If we have to finish a little in the hard, it will not be a problem because we leave, in principle, for a little less than 48 hours at sea”,indicated his team mate, Gaston Morvan (Brittany Region – CMB Espoir). The first could well, in fact, come full circle on Thursday morning. Unless the small ridge that is pointing the tip of its nose off Les Sables d'Olonne decides to make them play extra time...

    They said :
    Alexis Thomas (Charente Maritime) :“It will be interesting to be able to do this first race of the season with a fairly stable weather system. We shouldn't have many surprises during the race. This will allow us to gauge our speed since there will be no extreme option to try. Positioning will make the difference because as we know, in the Figaro, the fleet sails very tightly together. For my part, I've had quite a few little problems to sort out on the boat in recent days. I don't have a trainer. It generated a bit of last-minute stress, but this is my second year on the circuit and I'm still approaching the race much more calmly than last year. There's no reason it can't go well. I know how to boat, I know where to go and go fast. We'll see, but there's no point in putting pressure on yourself. ?

    Alan Roberts (SeaCat Services):"I had Covid-19 a few weeks ago and I'm still in the recovery phase but I really want to go racing and I'm excited for this first event of the season. The first part of the race, between this afternoon and tomorrow morning, will be very important because there will be transition phases, the wind will be quite unstable and there will be currents to play with. We will have to find the right balance in terms of risk taking. I haven't sailed a lot in the Figaro this winter because I've been on other projects, but I'm here to win despite everything. I have been on the circuit for several years now. I think I have the experience and can play at the head of the fleet. You have to be good, make the right decisions, go fast and push hard because it will only last 48 hours. ?

    Corentin Horeau (Blue Mutual): “It's the first race of the season and I can't wait to go. The objective is to show that we are present, that we are in the game from the outset. The conditions will be nice. It's going to be a nice course, with a lot of things to play. The start of the race will be quite important. The passage of the Ile de R?, as usual, will not be easy. We will have to go play on the coast but avoid ending up at the beach. At the beginning of the night, there will be an important tacking point to place. Then, it will be a long straight edge to Belle-Ile. Speed ​​will be the key word. We will have to be careful not to get trapped in Belle-Ile with the thermal depending on the timing at which we will arrive. Better to be in front. Unity, trust and speed will be important. All that I have. I proved it this winter in training so now it's up to me to do the job and not look too much at others. I'm not used to saying that, but I come to win and make an impression from the start. ?

    ?lodie Bonafous (Qu?guiner – La Vie en Rose) :“As usual, there's always a bit of stress the morning of a race start, but it's positive stress. Once on the water, I'm in my bubble and everything is better. Either way, I'm really looking forward to it. The first few hours will be really important, especially when bypassing the Ile de R?, because then the edge to go up to Belle-Ile risks being a long straight. They are likely to dictate the rest of the race a little. It will therefore be crucial to get off to a good start and to be on the alert. Even if it's going to be a little complicated, it's going to be pretty cool overall because at the most we should have between 20 and 22 knots of wind. It should be softer at the end. So we're going to have a bit of everything but not extreme conditions, unless we end up in the ridge, with two knots of wind ahead of Les Sables d'Olonne, which we're not really hoping for. The key will be to be able to listen to each other well, to manage the rhythm well and to be at the helm at the right times.?

    Achille Nebout (Amarris - Primeo Energie) :“I feel good, I feel ready. This is my fourth participation in the event. I have automatisms that I am starting to put in place to prepare it. I lose much less energy than before. I have confidence in my trainer and I know what I have to do. We are starting to get to know this course well, even if it is different each time. There, it's going to be fun, with good conditions since we're going to have between 15 and 20 knots over a good majority of the route. So it's going to be a little toned while being manageable, and it's going to go pretty quickly. There are some uncertainties regarding the night from Wednesday to Thursday. For the rest, we know that speed will be an important factor. We know that the wind will switch between the northwest and the northeast and we will have to manage this switch to make the shortest route. The trick will be to manage to stay flat out until the end. To be in the top five would be great. I finished 8th last year so gaining a few places would be great, but as it's still the first race of the season, I'm not putting a lot of pressure on myself. Above all, I want to sail well and apply what I learned in training this winter. ?

    Laurent Givry (Cape Horn) :“I obviously feel a little tense, since it's my first race. As soon as the start is launched, it will be better. I know I can go fast and I know how to do things. Now I'm going to compete against the pros and the guys are super good. It's quite a challenge for me. I like solitary. I feel good on board but I'm going to have to be careful not to burn myself out. I have already planned the times when I will be able to rest a little depending on the weather. If I manage to protect myself well and not put myself in the red, I will manage to do things correctly. The start is going to be a bit hot. My plan is not to fight at all, to have clear wind to go. The passage to the south island will probably be a little hot but the rest will be fine. I don't see anything that could scare me. It's not going to beat too much. I will do my best. ?
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