Let's go !

The start of the 17th edition of the Solo Maître CoQ was given this Thursday at 1:15 pm, off the Sables d'Olonne. The 30 sailors in the running then set off on a 340-mile course between Belle-Ile, Yeu and Ré, propelled by a northwest wind blowing between 5 and 6 knots. A flow which quickly ran out of steam to almost completely desert the water during the ascent to the rescue buoy, literally bursting the fleet. Well inspired in these small erratic tunes, Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) was the first to turn south towards the Île de Ré. Re where the game could get tough again, the fault of a small residual cloudy front likely to sow discord in large within the fleet, in the evening and in the first part of the night. For the Figaristes,

It was thus with a very slight delay on the planned schedule that the kick-off of the Solo Maître CoQ was given this Thursday. A little too eager to do battle, Adrien Hardy (Ocean Attitude) and Gildas Mahé (Breizh Cola) two of the big favorites of the race, had to repair, thus leaving Xavier Macaire (SNEF Group) to sign the best start in mollassonne conditions , even asthenic. As proof, it is painstakingly that both have evolved to the rescue buoy. It was therefore in slow motion that the race started, and it is still in slow motion that it is likely to be played until the middle of the next night, the fault of a stormy area lurking on the course. “There are a lot of uncertainties at the start of the race. These are conditions where you have to be opportunistic because everything is possible. To put it clearly, there may be luck or no luck. We will have to manage to squeeze in and be very responsive to the changes and the choice of sails, to have that little extra feeling that will potentially be able to make a difference ", commented the title holder and local of the stage, well aware that the first half of the race may prove to be decisive.

Don't miss the train

An opinion shared by all of his opponents, as evidenced by Erwan Le Draoulec (Skipper Macif 2020): “During the first twelve hours at sea, we will have to deal with very variable winds, a little hard to predict. The goal will be to manage not to get caught, to keep your eyes wide open, and maybe to be a bit lucky too. After that, it should stabilize slowly with the arrival of a depression, and therefore from the west to return. Gently first then a little more then, to finish with 20-25 knots ”. A scenario already announced yesterday and which is therefore confirmed, with two distinct parts: one delicate and full of traps, the other simpler, on paper in any case. "Once the wind is established, after the Birvideaux in particular, it should be all right, but that's the theory. I only half believe it. I think there will be things to do until the end. A bunch of fronts are wandering, so inevitably there will be shots to play, "promises Gildas Mahé (Breizh Cola), who would like to enter the event once again in his record, after his victory in 2012. Verdict at the end of Saturday in the morning.

They said :

Martin Le Pape (AP-HP Solidarity) : "The race will take place in two stages, with a first part between the start and the Ile de Ré where we do not know if it will return in thermal, if we will be under the influence of thunderstorms. So we will try to take what we have and move forward at best. Then the wind will start to come back a little more at the beginning of the night, but it will remain random. We'll see who gets out of it. A hierarchy will be installed. As the Birvideaux approach, the situation will gradually stabilize. It will be a bit straight edges and therefore a bit of a speed race until the arrival scheduled for Saturday morning, on the stroke of 11 am for the first. For my part, I remain on a victory on the big race last year. Winning it again this year would be great. It would allow me to score for the rest of the season. "

Tom Laperche (Brittany - CMB Espoir) : “We are going to have a start to the Ile de Ré a little bit uncertain. We will especially have to manage large variations in wind, in strength and direction. You will have to be reactive to reach Île de Ré as quickly as possible. When we go back to Les Sables, the situation will remain a little the same but then the wind will force a little on the road to Belle-Ile. Once the island is bypassed, we will surely make code 0 towards Rochebonne with wind which will gently force. During the last loop between Les Sables and a waypoint in the south, it may even be a bit muscular, with between 20 and 25 knots of wind. It's going to be a great step. I'm leaving to do well. I think I can navigate the right package ahead. After that, it will last two days and lots of things will happen… ”.

Achille Nebout (BeGreen Ocean) : “I am super happy to go racing after three months of forced break. We are lucky to be able to start fighting again so soon. For my part, the goal is to enjoy myself, navigate properly and find my marks. What awaits us in terms of conditions is quite uncertain, especially for the start. Thunderstorms will not be far away, and it is therefore not clear what sauce will be eaten. Fortunately, then, the wind should be clearer and more stable. It even risks being straight edges to Belle-Ile and back, with wind that will gradually force up to 20 knots at the end of the route. We really will not have to miss the start of the race because then it will essentially be a speed race and therefore complicated to come back. I don't set myself any particular goal. It is true that last year, I did a bit of an achievement by winning the first round of this Solo Maître CoQ and that it would be good to repeat, but it will not be easy seen with the set. "