The organisers of the Transat AG2R La Mondiale 2020 announced last week that they will accept free registrations and run a separate classification for mixed gender duos. Their decision is yet another illustration of he growing number of initiatives which are coming together to create an early pathway for French duos who are looking to race in the Mixed Offshore division at the 2024 Paris Olympics. As the nation which really pushed for the discipline to be brought in to the Olympics it is understandable that French sailing is already making sure it can capitalise to best effect. Tip & Shaft takes a quick look around at how the organisations, classes, race organizers and the FFVoile are making early progress.
After finishing top rookie in 2016, British solo racer Will Harris finished 22nd of his second Solitaire URGO Le Figaro. Tip & Shaft caught up with the 25 year old from Surrey in Dieppe last Thursday.
It is one of the unofficial rankings of the Solitaire Urgo Le Figaro, but it is highly prized and keenly observed and there is a commercial benefit. Whose sails are working, whose sails are winning? This year one brand has dominated the 50th edition of the summer classic that has held us all in suspense through this month…
The new double winner of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro, Yoann Richomme, has stood out not just for his mastery on the water but his serenity and confidence. If he can sometimes give the impression of being laid back and looking like does not really care, the skipper of HelloWork-Groupe Telegramme turns out to be a very hard, diligent worker who leaves nothing to chance. Tip & Shaft tried to find out more about the first sailor to win La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro in the Figaro Beneteau 3.
On Sunday 47 solo sailors took the start of the first leg of the 50th La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro to KInsale, Ireland. As we do before each major race Tip & Shaft speak with a panel of experts, soliciting their ideas of who might win. This time, with the introduction of the new Figaro Beneteau 3, the month long, four stage race is very open and hard to call. Nontheless a stellar panel have put their necks on the line including the last two winners of the Solitaire, Sébastien Simon and Nicolas Lunven, as well as Charlie Dalin, Sam Davies, Paul Meilhat, Pascal Bidégorry, Tanguy Leglatin, coach of the Lorient race group, Denis Hugues who is race director of Solo Maitre CoQ, Charles Darbyshire head of the Offshore Academy in England, journalists Serge Messager (Le Figaro) and Frédéric Pelatan (Journal de Nautisme).
On June 2nd the fiftieth Solitaire Urgo Le Figaro will start in Nantes with four legs taking the 47 solo skippers to Kinsale, Roscoff and Dieppe a total of 2,115 miles. Ten days before the start of this special edition with the new Figaro Bénéteau 3, Tip & Shaft chats with the race director, Francis Le Goff.
The first race for the new Figaro Bénéteau 3, the Sardinha Cup was certainly exciting at sea with victory going to Yann Eliès and Sam Davies (StMichel), but a lot happened ashore too with a number of technical problems which led to a series of meetings. Tip & Shaft identifies the lessons learnt from this race with several of the participants (Yann Eliès, Jérémie Beyou, Anthony Marchand, Fred Duthil, Gildas Mahé and Pierre Quiroga) and the Race Director, Francis Le Goff.
In the wake of victory in the Volvo Ocean Race with Dongfeng Race Team, Pascal Bidégorry spent the latter part of last year helping young French skipper Arthur Le Vaillant prepare his Class40 for the Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe. He is continuing that collaboration with Le Vaillant right now as they train on the Figaro 3 Leyton. And the duo will sail the Sardinha Cup at the end of March But at the same time the Basque bred sailor Bidégorry is looking for sponsoring partners to back him on an Ultim. But he is also cited as one of the potential successors for Sébastien Josse in the Gitana Team hot seat. He covers all these topics for Tip & Shaft.
When Kiwi Stu Bannatyne won the final Volvo Ocean Race with Dongfeng Race Team last year he was completing his eighth Whitbread or Volvo Race. His win rate is probably the best in the business, the 2017-18 success being his fourth after New Zealand Endeavour in 1993-94, Illbruck in 2001-2 and Ericsson 4 in 2008-9. In his capacity with Doyle Sails he has recently…
Since the first batch were delivered on January 7th now 49 new Figaro Bénéteau 3s have been delivered to their proud new owners. More than thirty are sailing now, primarily spread between Lorient, Port-la-Forêt and Saint-Gilles Croix-de-Vie, where skippers are hard at work preparing for the first event of the season, the Sardinha Cup (26 March-13 April ). Tip…