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La Solitaire du Figaro departs on the final leg to Cherbourg

Tension was high for the leaders of  La Solitaire du Figaro as they prepared to depart from Kinsale for Cherbourg today. The fourth and decisive leg of the race was scheduled to start at 13.00 hrs and the skippers were expecting to have to deal with the last 435 miles to Cherbourg with weather conditions expected to be fairly tough and with a fast passage to the finish.

However, like the “ best laid plans of mice and men” things do not always go to plan and so it was to day resulting in high drama for two of the Skippers.

At 13.09hrs the start was signaled. The French have a delightful way of putting it and said the competitors were too greedy and so they suffered a general recall. At 13.24hrs a new start was signaled and with a breeze of some 10 knots from the South West and a cross tide the competitors once again charged the line and once again they were very greedy and suffered another general recall. However during this second sequence a port and starboard collision occurred between the very well known Bernard Stamm in Cheminées Poujoulat and Mathieu Girolet’s Entreprende.  Immediately both had to return to Kinsale to assess the damage.  Bernard Stamm announced his intention to protest against Mathieu Girolet for refusing to give way on starboard.  However, it has now been decided that due to the extent of the damage both boats have withdrawn.

On the third attempt at 13.38 the fleet got off to a clean start and the first three around the Radio France mark were Laurent Pellecuer in,  Jean Pierre Nicol  in Bernard Controls and Francoise Loboto in ROFF/Tempo Team in that order.

Images  HERE

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