Solitaire du Figaro
Yann Eliès is crowned king of Gijon
mercredi 27 juin 2012 –
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Yann Eliès, Morgan Lagravière and Fabien Delahaye formed a tight-knit trio who led the opening leg from the very first night of La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire when they gained a significant edge over the rest of the fleet by skillfully negotiating the rock-strewn coast of northern Brittany. Maintaining a watchful eye on their competitors the three skippers alternated positions at the front as they passed relatively unscathed through a ridge of high pressure with its light and tricky winds, maintained speed through a second foggy night that featured several close encounters with ships, and came out of the predicted massive wind shift best placed for the final approach to Gijon, arriving in typically close Figaro fashion after more than 450 miles.
"I forgot it could be that long… you need some good luck as well to win a leg !” declared an elated but tired Yann Eliès after docking in Gijon.
Yann Eliès’ victory on this technical and varied course demonstrated his Figaro experience. “This one was hard,” he shouted crossing the finish line. And he was right. Yann Eliès didn’t make the greatest start last Sunday in Paimpol, then later during the coastal course he incurred a penalty and had to complete a 720° turn, eventually rounding the Radio France mark in the last quarter of the fleet. But from the initial miles in the Channel, when light breezes forced the skipper to hunt for the slightest puff close to the rocks, Yann was back in the game. On Sunday night he took the lead, followed by Morgan Lagravière (Vendée) and Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) who were to become his faithful travel companions for the whole leg.
The skipper of Groupe Queguiner-Le Journal des Entreprises went on to round each of the following marks in first : the Grande Basse de Portsall, close to the Brittany tip, then the Birvideaux lighthouse before attacking the Bay of Biscay and up to the finish line in Gijon. With today’s victory Yann Eliès, who is competing in his 13th Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire, reaches an impressive score of six leg wins since his debut in the race. The remainder of the top 10 streamed across the finish line of an increasingly stormy Gijon in little over an hour, with Nicolas Lunven (Generali) taking fourth ahead of Thierry Chabagny (Gedimat), Paul Meilhat (Skipper Macif 2011), Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat), Frederic Duthil (Sepalumic), Damien Guillou (La Solidarité Mutualiste) and Xavier Macaire (Skipper Herault). The best of the international contingent were set to arrive in succession, Nick Cherry on Artemis 77, Francisco Lobato on Roff and Sam Goodchild on Artemis were within 2 miles of each other as they approached Gijon in 25th, 26th and 27th places respectively. As the Leg 1 winner, Eliès, crossed the line this afternoon they had around 20 miles to make to the finish line.
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