Home News

COUNTDOWN TO LA SOLITAIRE URGO LE FIGARO

Facebook      Twitter      LinkedIn

Forty-six Bénéteau Figaro 3's battled it out earlier this month in their first ever single-handed event of the season, the Solo Maitre Coq. With only days to go until the anticipated La Solitaire kicks off in Nantes we caught up with Figaro Skippers Alan Roberts, Will Harris and Joan Mulloy to see what valuable lessons were learned from that first race and what we can expect for the biggest solo race of the season.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ALAN ROBERTS RACING, FRANCE

Img 3372
Alan Roberts Racing training © 2019 Thomas Deregnieaux Photography

How physically challenging was the Solo Maitre Coq?

AR: Very...the Figaro 3 is a lot more physically challenging than the Figaro 2. Everyone came ashore looking more tired and with a few more injuries compared to previous seasons. I had anticipated that and I worked hard over the winter on my fitness, strength and core. With the additional sail there are more sail changes and the sails are also bigger so the loads are higher.

What did you learn from that race and what will you do differently for the La Solitaire?

AR: This is the first race I have been at the helm this year and with a large fleet it was very easy to get stuck on the start line if you weren't sharp. Switching into big fleet start line tactics at the beginning of the Solitaire will be key to getting ahead at the start of the legs. We learnt a lot about sail selection, choosing the right sail for the right wind angle and understanding the differences between the different sail makers in the fleet. I'm confident that I have found a good speed at certain angles with my sail selection.

Img 2432
Alan Roberts Racing © 2019 Thomas Deregnieaux Photography

What is your training like?

AR: Since receiving the boat in January there has been limited time for training but teaming up with Jeremie Beyou we have managed to optimise our time on the water, sailing double-handed in order to change, adjust and compare setups and ideas from the beginning. There is no doubt we learnt a huge amount from the two earlier races, in an ideal world we would now have some time to focus on speed testing and sail development before the Solitaire but with the start of Leg 1 on the 2nd of June from Nantes we only have a few days to work on the final details. It's been great working with Stu [Bannatyne] and he's coming out to do some training and a final set up of the sails.

What parts/legs of the Solitaire do expect to be the most difficult?

AR: The physical aspect of the boats will be demanding and with the boats being more sensitive to the autopilot there will less opportunity to sleep. The course this year is a very coastal channel based course with lots of local effects, headlands, thermal breezes and tidal influences. These factors provide the opportunity for the opportunist to attack from behind but could work the other way round for the leaders to extend, in a large fleet it will be difficult to control and cover all the competitors and all the options.

Alanpro
Alan Roberts Racing © 2019 Thomas Deregnieaux Photography

What has your experience been like working with the Doyle team and product? How did the sails perform during the Solo Maitre Coq?

AR: I am very happy with the sails and felt particularly quick on certain angles. The Cable-less Code Zero was one of the main reasons I decided to approach Doyle, to do something different having seen the technology develop and working in the larger boats. The new Figaro 3 felt like the right opportunity to introduce this technology and bring Doyle into the fleet.

What's next, after the Solitaire?

AR: Rest, recovery and analysis to further develop and understand the new boat! The plan is to do the Douarnenez Horta Race starting on the 26th July.

The long-term goal remains, to work towards the Vendee Globe and an IMOCA 60 project which we are actively searching for sponsors and partners to join us for 2024 along with the prospect of offshore sailing in the Olympic Games, Paris 2024. That purpose to follow a similar format to the Solitaire...so there is plenty of excitement coming up in the future.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

WILL HARRIS, UNITED KINGDOM

Will Haris Drone3
Will Harris / Hive Energy © Thomas Deregnieaux Photography

How physically challenging was the Solo Maitre Coq?

WH: It's amazing how physical these boats actually are. You are constantly changing sails so even if there isn't much wind there is still a lot of work to do. The course was made up of relatively short legs too so you are constantly changing direction which means constantly changing the setup of the boat. It was certainly important to sleep as much as possible when I could.

What is your training like?

WH: Training has been focused around learning how to setup the boat properly. It's only been a few months since I first sailed the boat, like everyone else, so I am still learning a lot everyday. A lot of testing of the sails has happened too, learning at exactly what wind strength and angle works best for each sail is crucial because when you are solo sailing if you choose the wrong sail it is a great deal of time and energy to change to the right one.

Will Harris Hive Energy50
Will Harris / Hive Energy © Thomas Deregnieaux Photography

What legs of the La Solitaire do you expect to be the most difficult?

WH: For sure it will be leg 3 and 4. Simply because by this point we will be quite tired after the first 2 legs. Even though we get a break between each leg it's not enough time to fully recover. Managing myself to still be able to perform to the final finish line will be very important.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

JOAN MULLOY, IRELAND

Joan Mulloy3
Joan Mulloy Racing / Grace O' Malley © Thomas Deregnieaux Photography

How was the first offshore solo race aboard the Figaro 3?

JM: The first solo race was brutal! The boat is so physically hard solo, I wasn’t prepared for that, not just the strength aspect but the discomfort, the moving around on your knees downstairs, your hands, back from stacking, etc.

What was the most challenging part of that race and how will you apply that to the Solitaire?

JM: The toughest part was a front that passed over during the last 5 or so hours of the race, while going up wind in 25-25 knots and in a horrendous sea state, at the very end of the race, when resources are low! The advantage is that I now have experience in those conditions solo in the boat. I’ll take those lessons I learned and use them to feel more prepared for the Solitaire.

60829493 2325855584135212 2832487724341002240 O
Joan Mulloy inputs La Solitaire course into her boat computer

What parts/legs in the Solitaire do you expect to be the most difficult?

JM: All of the legs are going to be hard! But I expect leg 3 and 4 to be very tough, the excitement of the race will be wearing off and the fatigue kicking in.

What is your training like? How do you mentally and physically prepare?

JM: I’ve been doing a lot of travelling back and forth between France and Ireland so I haven't done even a fraction of the preparation I would have liked to. I prepare mentally by visualising different parts of the race course. I also really like spending time pouring over the charts and navigation for the race, this helps me feel prepared. Physically, I just do as much as I can, particularly to strengthen my core and to protect my back.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Best of luck to all participating in the La Solitaire, you can follow the race here

GET IN TOUCH

Request a quote for your sails or simply get in touch with the Doyle Sails Team by clicking below

Request a quote Contact

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Keep up to date with the latest Doyle Sails news on products, projects and people by subscribing here for our regular newsletter