With 40 boats competing this was the biggest event of the year.. and a similar number of entries to the Solitaire du Figaro meaning it was a really good chance to get an idea of how I am in the fleet and also to experiment, learn and apply from race to race (something that is normally quite hard to do in a Figaro season with so few races)
Throughout the week I was pretty pleased with my progression learning and improving my results from race to race. At the beginning of the week we had some inshore racing followed by the offshore at the end of the week.
Getting off to a good start towards the pin end I managed to sail myself in the top bunch at the weather mark. The fleet then split on the run down wind to Ile de Rey with some of the boats gybing off east to head inshore for tidal relief while the other half stayed on the long gybe expecting the wind to head to the forecasted direction and lay the island. Initially my train of thought was to the later of the two scenarios but it quickly became obvious that the inshore option was starting to look good. So from hovering between the two options I bit the built and headed inshore to find some tidal relief too late to be ahead of the boats that had already committed but early enough to pull through on the boats that stayed offshore.
The fleet converged and compressed passing under the bridge at Ile de Rey. With a good drop and being well set up I had a good rounding and was able to shoot out ahead of the bunch on to a jib reach.
A few passing marks later on the south of the island we found our selves beating up the western shore in an attempt to find some tidal relief. This involved short taking up the beach made interesting by the occasional surfer you sailed passed a 100m from the shore! I had a brilliant battle with a small group of boats that included Gildas Morvan, Nick Cherry and a couple of the Artemis lads. The right paid well and I managed to get myself back in the mix with the top boats by the next mark rounding just ahead of Yane Ellies a couple of hours in to the night.
With Yann working his way high over me as I did the same to the boats who had been just ahead as they had all cracked off upon rounding the mark. It was amazing to see how Yann settled in to this leg managing to get himself pretty fast to the front of the fleet.
The majority of the fleet headed north east to pass between Ile de Yeu and the mainland, playing it conservatively I decided to stay with the fleet, although 4 boats took the bold move to pass to the west of the Island and they disappeared off my AIS. With morning arriving the wind shut down and we found our selves drifting along in sub 2 knts of wind. The breeze finally came back in and we kited out from under the island to see the 4 boats that had gone west pop out 4 miles in front!!
I didn't go amazingly in the light stuff with my kite, potentially not sailing fast enough and trying to get some depth.
The fleet compressed rounding Bell Ile before we were on the long tack heading back south to les Sables de lone. With the key decision on this leg been how high to set up relative to the other boats (or even which side to pass of Ile de Yeu).
I set up high but not passing to the west of Yeu. This paid off well for me allowing me to hoist my kite and power over the boats that had sailed low initially and reeling in the boats ahead with good pace on the kite reach.
Ending up 16th in the offshore and second Brit by less than a 1/2 a both length I am fairly pleased with the week where I ended up 19th.
A good weeks sailing with a huge amount of things to take out from it and process ahead of the next race solo Concarneau and the Solitaire.