Solitaire du Figaro
Adrien Hardy wins leg 3 in Kinsale
"Winning a leg in the Solitaire means something for me"
Thursday 12 August 2010 –
All the versions of this article: [English] [français]
What a breathtaking finale! Ireland did its best to welcome the Solitaire heroes: a charming sunset light on the Irish green coastline, blue skies and a gentle breeze. A well-organised party to celebrate Adrien Hardy’s first win... The young sailor, 26 years, who is participating for the third time to the Solitaire du Figaro Solitaire du Figaro #LaSolitaire proved consistent and determined from the very start, always remaining in the top five positions. Hardy took the lead towards the end of the long Celtic Sea crossing, just before the Fastnet Roc as a result of taking a northern option. Under the constant threat of Yann Eliès, Hardy kept the situation under control over the final 45 miles. Spinnaker up, close to the cliffs he managed to keep a small, yet decisive, lead over Generali-Europ Assistance’s expert skipper. The Irish podium in Kinsale celebrates another young solo sailor, Jean-Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls), 31 years, who reaches his best ever performance in the race after four participations.
5 tiny seconds! That’s the amazing gap between the first two "rookies", the newcomers to the Solitaire du Figaro Solitaire du Figaro #LaSolitaire , who compete for the special Bénéteau ranking. French sailor Anthony Marchand, 25 yearold and from Finistère, on Espoir Région Bretagne snatched first place from Portugal’s Francisco Lobato, 25 years old from Lisbon on ROFF/TEMPO-TEAM. The two promising solo sailors finished in 8th and 9th position respectively leaving behind them several older and much more experienced skippers. Amazingly, it took just one hour and a half for the 44 Figaro II boats to cross the line in quick succession after three days at sea.
From the Minitransat to the Figaro, what next? Winner Adrien Hardy is also known as Mac Gyver, a nickname a French journalist gave him when, during the 2007 Mini Transat he dismasted, managed to repair his rig and go back racing. He is 26 years old, he was not even born when Jean-Paul Mouren (M@rseillentreprises) who is at his 24 participation, sailed into Kinsale for the first time! He must be even happier because he joins in on the 41 year history the Figaro has with the sailing harbour of Kinsale. Hardy joins sailig legends in his achievement: Alain Gautier (four victories!), Jean Le Cam, Yves Parlier, Loïck Peyron, Philippe Poupon… among others.
Apart from Francisco Lobato, other non French skippers had “mixed” performances: Isabelle Joschke (Synergie) finished 21st, Bernard Stamm (Cheminées Poujoulat) 25th while more disappointed were Italian Pietro D’Alì, who suffered also from some technical issues and closed in 36th and Briton Jonny Malbon, 41st.
Quotes form the skippers
Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement): winner of the third leg : “You have to believe in it. At the start in Brest Brest #brest I was convinced that being in the top ten would be great, later I thought maybe in the top five and today I realised it could be even better. It’s great, like a dream. I knew I could make it but given the level in this Solitaire… I’m simply and totally happy. Thanks to my coach in Lorient Lorient L’actualité du port de Lorient et de sa région. , Tanguy Leglatin, to everybody who confided in me and to my sponsor. The secret is to keep a clear mind, keep your focus. You build your victory all along the leg. It was complicated, you had to play your game step by step… at the Fastnet, when I looked back and I saw my competitors behind it was not bad at all, nice view. But then Yann Eliès took over just minutes after hoisting the spinnaker and I thought to myself: It can’t be! I got closer, manage to pass him but, near the finish, he looked to be nearer and nearer. A tricky finish. Winning a leg in the Solitaire means something for me, can take me somewhere else, maybe. I’m more confident, and that’s already a lot.”
Yann Eliès (Generali Europ Assistance) – 2nd placed : “I’m satisfied and hope that this feeling is going to last until the end, it would be good to win the last leg. I’ve been looking for a victory, as I haven’t much left as far as the general ranking is concerned. Yet, finishing second like this is nearly a win! I have got two seconds and a fifth, probably my best Figaro since a long time. I’m happy and glad that a young mate is savouring the taste of victory. Adrien sailed really well, made all the right choices, so well done Adrien! The arrival in Ireland was magnificent; we were lucky to sail along the coast and the cliffs, the beautiful capes in 20/25 knots of breeze under spinnaker in the sunset light. Everything was just perfect for a grand finish.”
Jean-Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) – 3rd placed : “I’ve been paid back of all the work done this year. I had an awful first leg, my enthusiasm to the lowest. I wanted to race at least one fine leg. I’ve battled in the lead and that was enough to boost my morale. It’s a dream coming true and I want to go on like this as long as I can. I tried not to repeat the same mistakes I made in the second leg that is to say be too aggressive. This time I tried to be patient, to stay in the pack and leave the best for last. It was not so easy as I could not use my big spinnaker (broken on the way up to Wolf Rock ed. note) and I only had the small one. I’m proud because I had some speed Speed #speedsailing issues compared to the others and I had to keep on looking for the smallest wind shift. The key for doing well in this leg? There are many but I guess that, look at ridiculous gaps on the line, the most important factor was not to loose contact with the leaders. The finish in Ireland is always stunning, every time we get here we know it’s going to be cold, rainy, choppy but the finish is invariably magical!”
Francisco Lobato (ROFF/TEMPO-TEAM) 9th overall and 2nd newcomer in Leg 3 : “After three days of intense battle, close racing, duelling with Anthony Marchand to get the first place in the newcomers class, I ended up in second and by only five seconds… Such a small gap, it’s incredible, after three full days at sea. It was a very complete race, with a lot of different options and conditions, we passed two fronts, a high pressure ridge, we had sea breeze, shifty and variable winds... It was a difficult race in terms of strategy. Near the end I was in the lead of the general ranking, but a wind from the shore that I did not expect appeared and I fell down to ninth, so I’m a bit disappointed, I’m more disappointed than tired at the moment, although I’m very happy with my race because I sailed in the top positions against the best offshore solo sailors in the world. I proved that I can already keep their pace, lose and recover positions, a bit of everything, and the important thing is to be in the game. It’s really nice to arrive in Kinsale and see this land that’s so green... it’s funny.”
Jonny Malbon (Artemis) : “I started well, just after Portsal I had an issue with the spinnaker that got caught into the forestay and I lost some ground to free it. On the second day the weather was just horrible, the visibility was awful and I was relieved when the sky cleared. All in all I’m all right, can’t complain, on the last stretch went close to shore to find some stiffer breeze and it was the right option. I’m less tired than on the other legs, still I wish to rest, sleep and eat well before the final one to Cherbourg.”