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Thread: A New Season For The Figaro

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    A New Season For The Figaro

    March and it starts again!




    At 13:34 this Thursday, after a first general reminder, the start of the big race of the 18th edition of the Solo Maître CoQ was given in the bay of Sables d'Olonne by Manu Cousin, recent finisher of the Vendée Globe. The 29 competing sailors then set off, propelled by a flow from the west-southwest sector blowing between 4 and 5 knots. In these soft conditions, Achille Nebout (Primeo Energie - Amarris) was the first to stand out, thus winding the clearing ring in front of Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019) and Fabien Delahaye (Laboratoires Gilbert - Loubsol). The fact remains that at this stage of the race, with 340 miles ahead of the bows and more than uncertain weather conditions until the outskirts of the Ile de Ré, the dice were far from being cast.













    After competing in two coastal courses on Monday and Tuesday, then taking advantage of an “off” day yesterday, the 29 sailors of the Solo Maître CoQ took the start of the big race this Thursday afternoon. On the menu for all of them: a 340-mile loop starting and finishing in Les Sables d'Olonne via Ré, Belle-Ile and Yeu, as complete as it is complex, with very little erratic airs off the coast Aunisian, invigorating conditions on the Birvideaux side and then light winds again over the last miles. "Given the announced weather scenario, we know that the start of the race will be crucial. The first to overflow the Ile de Ré will first touch the new wind, which is much more stable. They will then certainly take an advantage for the rest because when we look at the routings, we see that on the rest of the course, there are a lot of direct edges overall. This means that the game will not be strategically open wide. We will quickly find ourselves playing little wooden horses. On the other hand, the choice of sails and the management of the boat will be important, especially in strong winds, ” commented Fabien Delahaye.


    Don't miss the train to Ré


    He is one of those who have alternated between the good and the less good over the first two rounds, and who are counting on this new exercise, similar to a stage of Solitaire de Figaro, to express himself and grab a few places in the general classification. . And for good reason, this round with a coefficient of 3, could well redistribute the cards in the general classification currently led by the Briton Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) ahead of Tom Laperche (Brittany - CMB Performance) and Gildas Mahé (Breizh Cola). "Everything will actually depend on how the ridge will evolve at the Ile de Ré. If the wind continues, it will be less complicated than expected. If it collapses, it will obviously become very random. Once this delicate passage is behind them, the competitors will then have to manage the passage of a front on the Belle-Ile side. Consequently, in addition to the arrival of the rain, the sea will form and the wind will return up to 20-25 knots with potentially gusts to 35. It will not be so peaceful! », Relates Christian Dumard, weather analyst for Solo Maître CoQ.







    The choice of sails and the management of the boat in the foreground


    “On Saturday, the wind is expected to ease again. To date, according to the timings, and in particular if the first section drags in length, the ETA (estimates of arrival time, editor's note) diverge sharply. Some models thus allow the first arrivals on Saturday between 3 and 5 am to be considered, while others do not see them before the evening of the same day, ” notes the consultant. One thing is therefore certain: uncertainty remains. "We all hope not to fall too far behind on the first part of the course because after that it will go ahead as soon as the new wind arrives. In addition to that, the more a boat will be behind, the more the scales will be bad for it and as if that were not enough, on the last section, the more it will lag, the less wind it will have! », Commented Vincent Riou (Capmar IV) who signs his return to competition after two years without, and therefore confirms that once Ré is in the wake, the established hierarchy will be complicated to shake up. But specialists know it well however, in ocean racing, nothing is ever written. The bets are therefore open.







    They said :


    Charlotte Yven (Vendée Formation Team) :“On this big stage, we'll have a bit of everything: calm at the start, breeze in the middle and certainly less air to finish. The wind will yo-yo but it's nice. For me, it will be a big discovery to find myself offshore racing since it will necessarily be different from training or escorting. In competitive mode, the time will certainly pass faster, but it will also be more conducive to doing silly things. This is where I will have to manage myself a bit. I know if I rush too much it can get tricky afterwards. In any case, I hope that the first few miles will not be too soft anyway so that we don't find ourselves tearing our hair out under the Ile de Ré bridge with the current. The advantage is that it will gradually put us in good condition. My goals ? Finish the race, do not break anything, make a nice track and fight with the others! "


    Marc Mallaret (Seeking Sponsor) :“I'm a little frustrated with my first two short races. On Monday's race, I got off to a great start but then I just lost on small technical errors. Conversely, on Tuesday's, I had a very bad start but I only went back up, which proves that I am capable, even if I have a little technical lack, due to lack of training. I haven't sailed since Solitaire last year, almost. I got the boat back a short time ago and only made five small trips on board before this Solo Maître COQ. The positive point for the future is that I have a lot of room for improvement. Regarding the big race, the weather is not very complicated in terms of strategy. The important thing will be above all the choice of trajectories and sails. It will nevertheless be a little muscular during the passage of the front, Friday. Consequently, there will be some breeze management to do on the Belle-Ile side. It won't be the holidays but it will be perfect for gauging myself and knowing what work I will have to do in the spring while the others will be on the double-handed Transat. As for the result, I don't put any pressure on myself but of course I will try to do well, if possible. " if possible. " if possible. "


    Violette Dorange (Devenir) : “The two days of the coastal course went moderately well for me. There were both beautiful things and things a little less good. I mostly missed my racing debut. I got off to a bad start. Suddenly, it put behind immediately and I could not match as I wanted. There, the objective on the long course is really to get a good start, especially since it looks very “crappy”, as they say. My goals: to have a good course and good maneuvers then to follow the strategic plan that I have set for myself. If all goes well, normally I would have achieved my goal. "

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    A Macif Win at Solo Maître CoQ



    The big stage of the Solo Maître CoQ promised to be complete as well as complex. The point is that it kept all its promises with both tiny erratic airs and strong wind. Extreme conditions, particularly technical, which naturally made the business of the big guys of the circuit. Indeed, after having made a first break on the Ile de Ré side, they widened the gap even further on the second half of the peloton on the Birvideaux side where they took to the skies at supersonic speeds when their adversaries fought for a long time upwind. In this phase of the race, in "submarine" mode, however, it was necessary to manage to keep up hellish pace, firmly riveted to the helm, to get out of the game. Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019) sailed impeccably in each of the key periods of the race, signing a clear victory this Saturday, at 6:35 am, with nearly thirty minutes ahead of Xavier Macaire (SNEF Group) and almost an hour all right on Tom Laperche (Brittany - CMB Performance). Overall, however, the latter won the bet ahead of Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) then Gildas Mahé (Breizh Cola), and entered his name for the second consecutive time on the prize list of the event.








    The first portion of the route - a 340 mile loop starting and finishing in Les Sables d'Olonne via Ré, Belle-Ile and Yeu - was to be crucial because the weather scenario then promised very few opportunities. to rebuild. It is clear that the bypass of the Ile de Ré was a real first level crossing and Pierre Quiroga was undoubtedly the most daring at the level of the northern pass of the bridge. He then took control of the fleet before driving the nail on the road to Birvideaux thanks to a tight trajectory, thus increasing his lead up to 6 miles at the Breton lighthouse. "I really enjoyed myself. I did a lot of small strokes, as I'm often used to, and I really stood out from the rest of the fleet. Of course, I made some small mistakes but a priori less than the others, ” commented the Marseillais. “We really had everything in terms of wind: from zero to 30-35 knots. I even noticed up to 36 knots in the front! We had to adapt. It was really strong, strong, strong to come down from Belle-Ile. I hardly let go of the handlebars since yesterday because the rider couldn't hold on. I was stuck at the bar with all my food and drink stock at my feet to last until this morning ”,commented the 2019 Skipper Macif who has surfed at more than 21 knots, setting a hellish pace to keep the attacks of his pursuers. “ It was a bit of a 'boar', but I didn't want to let go! », Added Pierre who has seen big names like Xavier Macaire and Tom Laperche come back like balls, always very comfortable in bad weather, but who has managed to keep a good advantage until the finish line, this morning, at daybreak. In the general classification, despite this nice victory and his fine second place in the first coastal disputed on Monday, Pierre nevertheless finished at the foot of the podium, the fault of a round of 20th cashed on Tuesday. "I was a little too playful that day, but what I regret most is that I let go of first place in the first race when I had dominated it. There was a little slack and Alan passed but in the end, whatever, I showed great things and I really enjoyed myself this week, ”concluded Pierre Quiroga.








    Consistency rewarded


    If he came very close to a double race victory during this 18th Solo Maître CoQ, Tom Laperche finally won without having won a race, but having, on the other hand, shown a very nice regularity. With 3rd, 2nd and 3rd places, the Brittany - CMB Performance skipper won the event in a good way and entered it for the second time on his record, a performance until then only achieved by Nicolas Lunven, winner in 2010, 2011 and 2017. "I am obviously happy. As is often the case in Figaro, consistency paid off. I admit, however, that I gave well during the big stage. After the start in very light winds, I found myself in the middle of the pack near the Ile de Ré and then it really pulled ahead with the current. The first started 3-4 miles ahead. At that moment I realized that I was going to have to work really hard to come back. In this sense, I notably negotiated the passage head-on. At that point, I realized that everyone was a bit on the defensive and that some were preparing the gennakers for downwind. For my part, I did not ask myself any questions, I sent the spinnaker and I thus overtook several boats.», Commented Tom who notably doubled Alan Roberts on this section and thus ensured his victory. For the record, before the start of this last round, he and the Briton were tied on points in the standings. “ We knew that this big stage with a coefficient of 3 (against 1.5 for each of the two coastal, editor's note) would be decisive. Obviously, it's a shame for me to have let Tom pass in the last third of the course. It's always little silly things that make the difference between a first and a second, ” explained the skipper of Seacat Services, 5th on this great stage.“In the end, I'm happy. I really managed the race like a Solitaire du Figaro stage. I was constantly on the attack but I was also able to test and validate a lot of things. It was a really great edition of the Solo Maître CoQ, with some interesting choices to make and some great brawl. It promises for the future ! ".









    They said :


    Gildas Mahé (Breizh Cola) 4th in the big stage, 3rd overall :“It was a bit of my resumption of the season in night sailing and I had two great nights. The first, I slept a little to prepare the ground for the second, and luckily because we were well served with tons and tons of water at 10 ° on the deck and in the boat. While on board under a small spinnaker, with sea waves in my face all the time, I was frozen. No matter how much I was “wincher”, that wasn't enough to warm me up. More than the wind, it was the sea that made war really happen. Coming to this Solo Maître CoQ, I was really hoping to do a great big stage and I'm quite happy with my result. I especially started well because then I fell on stronger than me in the breeze. Xavier (Macaire) and Tom (Laperche) returned. I couldn't fight against them. They were going really faster and mastering the subject much better than me, but at the beginning, it had been the other way around in the air so ... Anyway, it was complete and interesting. A podium always feels good and I'm happy to have played my game tactically on the small coastal riders in soft and unstable conditions. "


    Xavier Macaire (SNEF Group), 2nd in the big stage, 5th overall :“I did particularly well on the long tack between Ré and Belle-Ile where I had really good speed but also good positioning. A bit like Pierre Quiroga, I chose to attack directly. It was going fast and it was really not bad. I managed to run my boat well and overtook a lot of competitors. It was important to get through well at Birvideaux because the wind shifted to the west. For my part, I found myself upwind half an hour before passing the lighthouse, but behind, it created quite huge gaps. In the end, it was great because there was really everything. Calm weather at the start, then very muscular 18-24 hours, under spinnaker or under gennak, with a boat banging in the waves and bundles of water passing over the deck… Besides, it was really sporty. It's nice to surf at 20 knots in Figaro, but at some point you want it to stop, for the boat to move slowly. The good thing is that we got to see a lot of things. On my boat, I saw things that were not working, stuck ends ... Clearly, it was a good crash test and it gave me a lot of confidence for the future. It's always nice to see all the work done in winter come to fruition in a regatta! "


    Fabien Delahaye (Laboratoires Gilbert - Loubsol), 6th in the big stage and 10th overall :“I don't know if we've all been through the same thing, but from my point of view, it was a bit nagging. I think it was the first time that we had sailed so long and so intense in Figaro 3, with the added bonus of sails configurations that we do not necessarily use normally. It went very, very quickly! With the delay we took on the routes to the Ile de Ré bridge, we still managed to get to Belle-Ile in record time. We were lucky because the wind was a little more to the left than expected and we held the spinnakers for a very long time. At the head of the fleet, we took the front just before the Birvideaux. It created huge gaps with those behind who found themselves doing a lot of upwind while we were off for the slides. I'm repeating myself but it was a hell of a nag stage. Fortunately, I slept well the first night because I knew that the rest would be complicated and that was not lacking because from Friday morning, I never let go of the bar. I haven't eaten anything and I arrive very tired. Overall, I had the feeling that I was going to the right place rather quickly, but I had a lot of small problems. I think the podium was largely achievable today. In any case, I'm not far from it and it's pretty good. The season has begun ! " In any case, I'm not far from it and it's pretty good. The season has begun ! " In any case, I'm not far from it and it's pretty good. The season has begun ! "

    Created in 2003, the Solo Maître Coq is one of the events of the official program of the Figaro Beneteau Class. This year, for the 3rd season, it welcomes the Figaro Beneteau 3, production foil boats.

    If the passage of the 2015 edition to the French Championship calendar no longer allowed the presence of a double skippered figaro, this one is at the origin of the new format consisting of two days of coastal races and a big race. off 320 miles with two nights at sea.

    The 2021 edition is organized by the association Les Sables d'Olonne Vendée Course au Large.

    Traditionally, the Vendée-Globe pontoon in Port Olona allows the public to approach the sailboats, preparers and skippers in complete safety and ease until departure.

    This year, however, due to the Covid19 epidemic, a strict health protocol has been put in place which requires closed doors on the pontoon and the spaces dedicated to racing.


    The 2021 event should include two days of in-shore races and "the big race", a course of around 320 miles. It qualifies for the Solitaire which will be run at the end of August.

    Friendliness and sportsmanship are the key words of the organizers.

    You can't win at Les Sables d'Olonne without having great seafaring skills. You just have to browse the charts to realize it.


    Enthusiasts come in large numbers on the Vendée-Globe pontoon!
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    Finish Placement & Times


    1- Pierre Quiroga - Skipper Macif 2019 at 6:35'23 "

    2- Xavier Macaire - SNEF Group at 7:07:12 "

    3- Tom Laperche - Bretagne CMB Performance at 7h33'46 "

    4- Gildas Mahé - Breizh Cola at 8:01:28 "

    5- Alan Roberts - Seacat Services at 8:09:37 am

    6- Fabien Delahaye - Laboratoires Gilbert-Loubsol at 8h16'08 "

    7- Nils Palmieri - TeamWork at 8:59:13 "

    8- Martin Le Pape - Let's keep sight at 9:02:17 "

    9- Eric Péron - French touch at 9h17'28 "

    10- Achille Nebout - Primeo Energie-Amarris at 9h20'54 "

    11- Alexis Loison - Normandy region at 9h22'11 "

    12- Gaston Morvan - Bretagne CMB Espoir at 10h20'55 "

    13- Benoit Mariette - Generation Senioriales at 10h35'04 "

    14- Erwan Le Draoulec - Skipper Macif 2020 at 10h42'53 "

    15- Elodie Bonafous- Bretagne CMB Océane at 13h55'45 "

    16- Alberto Bona - Sebago at 5.30pm'58 "

    17- Robin Marais - My luck too at 17h37'33 "

    18- Estelle Greck - RLC sailing at 17h51'28 "
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