The 52 yachts in the one design fleet of La Solitaire du Figaro 40th Edition are well on their way to Dingle, Co. Kerry on the third leg of this classic annual race.
After the first nights racing of this leg Michel Desjoyeux, winner of this years single handed round the world Vendee Globe race, was leading by some 30 seconds.
Although the fleet had so far remained reasonably compact, with the first 30 boats still within 2 miles of the leaders, it was ultimately Desjoyeaux who passed Cap Caval first, at 09H35 and 24 seconds on Tuesday morning. He was followed 25 seconds later by Caudrelier-Benac (Bostik), with Erwan Tabarly (Athema) – yet another French local hero – 3 minutes behind in third.
The leg’s second night at sea saw a change in the leader board and presented a key strategic challenge: the all-important timing of the change onto port tack to cross the ridge of high pressure blocking the route to Ireland. The result has been two principal groups of front-runners, and while Armel Tripon (Gedimat) and Antoine Koch (Sopra) have profited in the short term, 30 miles south-west of the Scillies they are now engaged in a to-and-fro battle with the opposing group, presently led by Armel Le Cleac’h (Brit Air).
This race is an acknowledged training ground for some of the worlds greatest long distance sailors, the most well known of the Irish being Damien Foxall whose last high profile role was as Watch Leader on the Green Dragon in the Volvo Round the World Ocean Race.
The first of the boats are expected into Dingle tomorrow evening. (Thurs)