After a difficult end to 2018 with the loss of Banque Populaire IX in the Route du Rhum, the 2019 season has been busy for Armel Le Cléac’h, with events in the Figaro and Imoca circuits, ending up with tenth place in the Solitaire and sixth in the Transat Jacques Vabre with Clarisse Crémer. Not forgetting the work being done with the Banque Populaire Team on the future Ultim (due to be launched in the first quarter of 2021, as they observe what is happening in the Brest Atlantiques. The skipper from St. Pol de Léon talks to Tip & Shaft about everything that is going on.
One year ago it was a disappointed Sam Goodchild who had, again, suffered a Transatlantic breakdown – losing the mast of his Class 40 whilst among the leaders of the Route du Rhum. So when he finished the Transat Jacques Vabre on his third attempt in Class 40, second place on Leyton with Fabien Delahaye felt particularly sweet for the sailor who turned 30 in November. Goodchild, whose career best on the Solitaire was 11th in 2013, confirms he will return to the Figaro for next year, racing in the Leyton colours.
The Transat Jacques Vabre was a resounding success for the Finistère ocean racing training centre, as all three IMOCAs on the podium were skippered by sailors who train in Port-la-Forêt. This was a pleasing outcome for the director, Christian Le Pape, who examines what is happening in the world of ocean racing and at the Centre for Tip & Shaft.
French based Irish skipper Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) will sail the Tour de Bretagne à la Voile with aspiring young Turkish solo racer Ediz Onen. In the new Figaro Beneteau 3, the Smurfit Kappa skipper had a mixed La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro, showing many bright moments, but was ultimately disappointed to come away with 32nd. Tip & Shaft caught up with Tom in between training sessions with the Lorient group.
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.