Solitaire du Figaro
Solo skippers set sails from Pauillac for the leg 1 of the Solitaire 2013
dimanche 2 juin 2013 –
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Skipper’s quotes :
Jean-Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) : “It’s pleasant to have some sun for the start, makes things easier after a rainy week. I’m a bi tense for the start because of the floating debris, we are used to sail in the open sea, the river is less familiar. It will be exciting anyway. It’s always a relief to be able to leave after a hard week, both for the organizers and the skippers. We finally do what we love, all the work and the stress behind us”.
Frédéric Duthil (Sepalumic) : “It’s sunny, that’s good, great news ! Crossing the Bay of Biscay in reaching conditions is also great. It seems that we will be getting out of the Gironde in pretty testing conditions, with 20 to 25 knots, and a lot of tacking… we’ll fast get into the game. Looks like later we’ll have some fresh breeze at Cap Finisterre and we’ll have to be careful, sail well and trying not to break the big spinnaker. There will be some tricky moments, that is for sure. I think the fleet will compress at Cap Finisterre and then some good choices to make. Stay close to shore or more offshore to try and avoid the small low pressure area and light airs. That’s no easy thing, because staying offshore means covering more miles. It is going to be interesting, thre could be be gains and losses because the finish will be in light wind”.
Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) : “The start in Paulliac is going to be exciting but we’ll have to be careful because of the huge number of floating wood. The crossing of Biscay should be a speedy one, but the Spanish transition will be tricky : I’m not sure the tack after Cap Finisterre is going to be as simple as expected ! The start will be business as usual. Can’t be a waiting game, you have to bet at the front to get into the fresher air first”.
Thierry Chabagny (Gedimat) : “We’ll sweat it out at the beginning, a lot of tacking, all that floating wood, the strong current, 41 boats on a narrow area. It will be an high-tension start. Plus, with the choppers flying over us, it will be hard to hear anything. And then we’ll be really into racing : some upwind, some reaching and upwind again. On the first stretch, be focused is key, there are several marks to round, obstacles, strong current, sand banks. We will be happy to be out in the Ocean this evening, hoist the spinnaker and quietly heading to Cap Finisterre”.
Xavier Macaire (Skipper Hérault) : “The first bit is going to be stressful, tricky, before we can finally make it to the Bay of Biscay. After that the tension will go away and we will start to feel at ease. We will be sailing under spinnaker, in great conditions but the last part will be risky. It will be crucial to keep a constant eye on the weather. I think I will enjoy most the bit off the Cap, under spinnaker with strong breeze. I love it, when it’s fast sailing and one has to manage the boat and the man…”
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