*SAM SCORES HER BEST RESULT SO FAR IN FIGARO CIRCUIT AS FLEET ARRIVES IN PORTSMOUTH, UK FOR FIRST TIME
*ONLY 8 MINUTES SEPARATING TOP 10 BOATS – the four leg race is based on cumulative time, making this leg less decisive than it might have been
*FAST TURNAROUND, MAXIMUM RECUPERATION REQUIRED, NEXT BIG 463 MILE LEG STARTS TOMORROW AT 1030HRS BST
At 20:15:56 (BST) yesterday evening Skandia, the turquoise boat of Sam Davies crossed the finish line of the first leg of the Solitaire Figaro. Davies finished just 3 minutes 14 seconds behind the winner of this first leg, Yann Elies. The 156 mile leg from Caen to Portsmouth took Davies a total of 32 hours, 46 minutes and 46 seconds.
Sam’s ranking of 6th in the fleet of 52 is a personal best for Sam in her Solitaire Figaro career to date (previously her best result was 7th in the 4th leg of last year’s event)
Davies arrived into Portsmouth’s Gunwharf Quays wearing her distinguishing smile.
THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THE LEG:
“The first night was the most difficult. I was tired and the wind was changing all the time, I had to work hard to maintain my position in the fleet. I was close behind Jeremy Beyou so my focus and attention was set on getting past him. But it was worth the effort – at one stage I closed my eyes to try and get some rest and when I looked up again Jeremy was right at my bow, I never let him pull away from me again.”
Beyou, finished the leg in 3rd position, just minutes in front of Sam.
TO ARRIVE IN PORTSMOUTH:
“Sure, I am happy to arrive back at home! Very, very happy! I’m not sure if there was any home advantage for me in the final miles, I have, in fact, only passed here twice before, the last time was for the Round Britain record on the maxicat so that time I definitely wasn’t thinking about solo light wind strategy. I guess the best advantage was that some of my friends came out on the water to greet me, that was great.”
THE BEST MOMENT:
“This morning, when I made a good tactical decision and progressed into the leader pack. That, and then managing to stay with them until the finish line!”
OVERALL REVIEW OF THE FIRST LEG:
“I am mentally pretty tired but the light winds mean I am physically in good shape. We never had more than 11 knots of wind throughout the leg. I have been working on the boat throughout so I have slept a minimal amount and have eaten almost nothing. I did keep drinking though, water, coke, yoghurt drinks – there was a lot of talk on the radio between the skippers about guys getting sore heads from the dehydration but, I think I had enough
fluids, I physically feel fine.”
“I am really pleased with my position, I would love to head out and celebrate but this is just the first of a four stage event so, as soon as the boat is safe I am heading to get some sleep and then work on the weather and strategy for Friday start of leg two.”
Sam was in 19th position on rounding the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse and gradually edged her way up the fleet reaching 5th position at the Owers buoy mark, 19 miles from the finish.
HOW IT FEELS TO BE BACK ON THE SOLENT AND DOES IT HELP KNOWING THESE WATERS?
“Great, I have not seen England for a long time, but it is strange because I do not normally sail near these coasts. The last time was when we made a Round Britain and Ireland attempt on a fast catamaran and tactics like these do not really matter. A lot of tactical decisions are dependent on meteorological situations, but I do hope it is a little bit of an advantage! I am feeling very good, happy with my boat Skandia, my plan is not to make too many mistakes, its nice because I made a good shift this morning, it is nice because I am back up with the leaders”
A race that is fought for on a one design boat means that the first over the line wins, Sam’s tactics are clear:
“I do not want to take any risks, just get a good result, not a first yet, that will be next year, and if I am in first place when the finish comes I will take it!”
It has been a short but tough leg for the skippers competing in the 35th edition of La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro race. At the mercy of light and changeable winds, currents and tides, the skippers have had to fight nail and tooth throughout the 156-mile course.
After a 30-minute delay to the start on Tuesday, due to the light winds in the Bay of Caen, the skippers all set off on the first leg to Portsmouth under 4 knots of breeze.
LEG 1 POSITIONS
1 ELIES Yann Groupe Generali Assurances 21:13:32
2 KOCH Antoine Nobody +1’00”
3 BEYOU Jérémie Delta Dore +1’10”
4 PETIT Benoit Défi Santé Voile +1’54”
5 CHABAGNY ThierryLe Caennais B’M +2’18”
6 DAVIES Samantha Skandia +3’14”
7 LE CLEAC’H ArmelFoncia – TBS +3’26”
8 TABARLY Erwan Thalès +4’03”
9 NELIAS Jean-Luc Chauss-Europ +7’17”
10 ATTANASIO RomainPort Trebeurden 8’48”
The Figaro fleet is now at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth. The second leg of the race, 463 milles from Portsmouth à Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie, starts tomorrow (Friday 30th July) at 1030BST with boats leaving Gunwharf between 0830-0900hrs BST.
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