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Start ~ Solo Concarneau Trophee Guy Cotten

hursday 7 May, the Artemis Offshore Academy’s eight British Figaro skippers set off on the 330 nm Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten. Starting from Concarneau, 34 skippers enjoyed a relatively straightforward start with 8 knots and calm waters. Self-confessed slow starter Jack Bouttell (GAC Concise) broke from the norm and was the first British skipper over the line on port.

While the majority of the British fleet favored the starboard side of the course, in the end hanging right paid off and Chatham skipper Sam Matson, Alan Roberts (Magma Structures) and Rookie Rob Bunce (Artemis 37) all rounded the first turning mark inside the top 10.

Redshift skipper Nick Cherry set his sights high early on, chasing double Solitaire winner Yann Elies to the mark and also rounded inside the top 10, with Rookies Robin Elsey (Artemis 43) and Andrew Baker (Artemis 23) close behind. It was not a great start for Rockfish Red skipper Henry Bomby, last over the line and last to the first mark, but there is still plenty of time to catch up.

With a warm front set to ‘bring the rain’ on the first night of racing, reactions to a sharp shift in the wind in the strong tides of the Raz de Sein could define the race early on. Already faced with a difficult course along the rugged French Atlantic coast between rocks, fish farms and islands.

The Solo Concarneau – Trophée Guy Cotten is the third and final training race for the skippers ahead of the 2185 mile Solitaire du Figaro – Eric Bompard Cachemire. At 330 miles, the race is shorter than any one of the Solitaire’s four race legs sailed back to back over the course of one month.

7th May 2015

Warm fronts, cold fronts, strong tides and islands – it’s the Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten

Click here to read the article online

At 1408 BST on Thursday 7th May, the Artemis Offshore Academy’s eight British Figaro skippers set off on the 330nm Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten. Starting from Concarneau, 34 skippers enjoyed a relatively straightforward start with 8 knots and calm waters. Self-confessed slow starter Jack Bouttell (GAC Concise) broke from the norm and was the first British skipper over the line on port, while the majority of the British fleet favored the starboard side of the course. In the end hanging right paid off and Chatham skipper Sam Matson, Alan Roberts (Magma Structures) and Rookie Rob Bunce (Artemis 37) all rounded the first turning mark inside the top 10. Redshift skipper Nick Cherry set his sights high early on, chasing double Solitaire winner Yann Elies to the mark and also rounded inside the top 10, with Rookies Robin Elsey (Artemis 43) and Andrew Baker (Artemis 23) close behind. It was not a great start for Rockfish Red skipper Henry Bomby, last over the line and last to the first mark, but there is still plenty of time to catch up.

With a warm front set to ‘bring the rain’ on the first night of racing, reactions to a sharp shift in the wind in the strong tides of the Raz de Sein could define the race early on. Already faced with a difficult course along the rugged French Atlantic coast between rocks, fish farms and islands, a complicated weather forecast only adds to the challenge as Nick explained: “The wind looks pretty interesting with two weather systems moving through – a warm front on the first night and cold on the second. Combined with the obstacles out on the course, there probably won’t be a lot of sleep happening. The warm front will cause the wind to drop and shift, the effect this will have will depend on where we are on the course – it’s really tidal north around the Raz de Sein and Ushant. The cold shift will take things up a gear as we start to tire, we’re forecast heavy gales into the second day.”SOLO CONCARNEAU 2015 - TROPHEE GUY COTTEN

The Solo Concarneau – Trophée Guy Cotten is the third and final training race for the skippers ahead of the 2185 mile Solitaire du Figaro – Eric Bompard Cachemire. At 330 miles, the race is shorter than any one of the Solitaire’s four race legs sailed back to back over the course of one month. However, although short, the Solo Concarneau course is anything but sweet. Taking the fleet from Concarneau through the rocky Glénans Archipelago, the notoriously tidal Raz de Sain to Ushant and around Belle Île and Île d’Yeu, an island described by Jack as ‘carnage’, the skippers have been saved the best until last as Sam explained: “This route can be a bit of a nightmare because there are so many fishing boats around. They often fish 24 hours a day and in pairs so you kind of sail into fleets of fishing boats! The coastline is also pretty rocky and there’s lots of tide – a lot of the time you’re trying to get out of the tide so you’re playing around the rocks, trying not to hit them. In this race, navigation is really key.”

For the Rookies Andrew, Robin and Rob, the race is a great last rehearsal ahead of the Solitaire du Figaro starting May 31st. Two races down and with just one to go, the knowledge they will compete in the Solitaire has instilled a new confidence in the Rookies ahead of the Solo Concarneau. No longer trying to earn their place on the start line, they are now keen to prove they deserve it: “Knowing I’m competing in the Solitaire du Figaro actually takes a bit of the pressure off,” Andrew revealed. “It makes you look at the other Rookies differently, and keeps you focused on them as your main competitors. It makes you want to show them that you’re one to watch.”

In an attempt to inspire the squad ahead of their penultimate race, Academy Event Coach Marcus Hutchinson took the sailors to see the brand new state of the art SMA IMOCA 60, sailed by top Figarist Paul Meilhat: “Visiting the SMA boat was really inspiring,” Sam enthused. “For many the Figaro is a training ground and a way to work towards the Vendée Globe, that is my ultimate goal. To see what has been done to make the boat fast and all the added touches to make a solo sailor’s life easier was really interesting. I hope one day I can show Academy sailors around my own IMOCA 60. That is the dream.”

The 34 Solo Concarneau – Trophée Guy Cotten competitors are set to finish the race on Saturday 9th May, weather depending. You can track the race here.

Follow the progress of the Academy squad via our website, Facebook and Twitter.

The Solo Concarneau – Trophée Guy Cotten competitors :
1 Yann ELIES/GROUPE QUEGUINER LEUCEMIE ESPOIR
2 Yoann RICHOMME/SKIPPER MACIF 2014
3 Alan ROBERTS/MAGMA STRUCTURES
4 Henry BOMBY/ROCKFISH-RED
5 Andrew BAKER/ARTEMIS 43*
6 Rob BUNCE/ARTEMIS 37*
7 Robin ELSEY/ARTEMIS 43*
8 Sam MATSON /CHATHAM
9 Benoît MARIETTE/ENTREPOSE*
10 Claire PRUVOT/PORT DE CAEN OUISTREHAM
11 Gwénolé GAHINET/SAFRAN – GUY COTTEN
12 Benjamin DUTREUX/TEAM VENDEE*
13 Clément SALZES/BORDEAUX Terre Atlantique
14 Sophie FAGUET/REGION BASSE NORMANDIE*
15 Gildas MAHE/QUALICONFORT The beautifull watches
16 Corentin HOREAU/BRETAGNE CREDIT MUTUEL PERFORMANCE
17 Sébastien SIMON/BRETAGNE CREDIT MUTUEL ESPOIR
18 Yannick EVENOU/LOI ET VIN
19 Adrieny HARDY/AGIR RECOUVREMENT
20 Nicolas THOMAS/GUADELOUPE GRAND LARGE 1*
21 Arthur PRAT/GUADELOUPE GRAND LARGE 2*
22 Charlie DALIN/SKIPPER MACIF 2015
23 Gildas MORVAN/CERCLE VERT
24 Corentin DOUGUET/UN MAILLOT POUR LA VIE
25 Vincent BIARNES/GUYOT ENVIRONNEMENT
26 Nicholas CHERRY/REDSHIFT
27 Tolga Ekrem/PAMIR UN JOUR UN HOMME UN ARBRE*
28 Alexis LOISON/Groupe FIVA
29 Martin LE PAPE/OVIMPEX SECOURS POPULAIRE*
30 Thierry CHABAGNY/GEDIMAT
31 Xavier MACAIRE/SKIPPER HERAULT
32 Jack BOUTTELL/GAC Concise
33 Marc POUYDEBAT/RECHERCHE SPONSORS
34 Isabelle JOSCHKE/GENERALI Horizon Mixité

more info ….soloconcarneau.blogspot.com

by sailweb.co.uk

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