Tomorrow sees the start of the race season, the first race of 2015 The Solo Basse Normandie.
With the original course starting from Granville the course takes us west to Roche Gautier 53miles WNW from Granville before heading back East and weaving our way through the plateau Minquiers , Isles of Jersey & Guernsey and finally Alderney heading through the Ras Blanchard straight to the finish in Cherbourg .
The current weather forecast is for 10- 15 knts from the south at the start but quickly shifting right to a 15-20 knt westerly wind. the wind then continues to increase over the night to 25-35 knts making for an entertaining run from Guernsey through the Ras Blanchard with the Spinnaker before gybing around the corner and blasting in to Cherbourg harbour to the finish.
This was the course till a few hours ago but a decision has been made by the race committee to change the course to not take us through the Ras Blanchard as high winds and large tides can make for some pretty full on conditions.
The new course looks like this:
A similar lenght race to the first anounced course but not taking us to the exposed courner of the cherborge peninsular. with some tricky rocks to negotiate, lots of changes in direction and the routing looking like the race will take just under 24 hours this is going to be a fairly intense race. with big gains avalible on the first mark with some large tides the first boats will turn and head east with 3-4 knots of tide and fire away from the trailign boats. the second key point of this race will be sail selection with some potential big winds forcing a head sail peel at points as well as some borderline kite reaching turning in to VMG runs makes choosing your time to get on the right kite key.
This year the race has 24 entries and around the sailors are some of the top guys in the fleet including 2 times past winner of the Soliter du Figaro Yan Ellies who is using the Figaro to keep his hand in to the most competitive single handed racing while waiting for his IMOCA to be ready, Charlie Dalin winner of the Championship of France in 2014 now sailing under the banner of the mighty Macif.
With it been my first race of the year my aim to see how I am for pace against the rest of the fleet. A difficult fleet and a tricky race is going to make this a real test, in the past my weaknesses have been reaching and night time reaching, this is going to be a good race to practice both of these and see how I have come along.
Follow me on the tracker: