Nicolas Lunven wins La Solitaire du Figaro
[Source: La Solitaire du Figaro] In the sport of offshore racing it just doesn’t get closer than this. After 511 miles of intense competition, the 52 boat fleet finished the fourth and final leg of the event’s 40th anniversary edition this afternoon in Dieppe, and right to the very end it was almost impossible to pick the winner. The 10 leading boats streamed across the line in a little under 12 minutes, and ultimately it was Antoine Koch (Sopra Group) who crossed first, at 14h12 and 48 seconds, followed by Nicolas Troussel (Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne) and Thomas Rouxel (Défi Mousquetaires). But the big winner is fourth placed Nicolas Lunven (CGPI), who holds off his adversaries to take the title of overall winner on accumulated time across all four legs.
Nicolas Lunven, winner of La Solitaire du Figaro. Dieppe, 19 August 2009. Photo copyright La Solitaire du Figaro
It took Koch 3 days, 58 minutes and 48 seconds to complete the distance from Dingle, on Ireland’s west coast - at an average speed of 7 knots the fastest of the four legs sailed. A fast reach across the Irish Sea threatened to be ended by a long slow crawl up the English Channel to the Needles, but the weather proved more co-operative and it was only last night that the fleet really slowed. The final 100 miles across the Channel were a fitting test of the Figaristes’ tactical nous, with not just one but two high pressure systems to deliver the kind of light and shifty conditions that can turn the established order on its head. As a case in point, Koch was barely inside the top 20 for most of the leg: even at the Needles Fairway buoy yesterday evening he was standing in 17th place: “Even if I didn’t start the leg particularly well, I’ve always been on the offensive. I attacked several times, I had good boat speed and it was the last attack that paid off. It’s been tiring, but today is a joyful day. This win has been two years in the making with the Sopra team, so of course it couldn’t be anything but enjoyable!”
Labels: La Solitaire du Figaro