This week is the first race of the 2016 figaro season. Having been training since January at Pole Finistaire in Port la Foret, I am feeling as ready as I can be for the first race.
It is going to be a great opportunity to see how the boat goes and how fast I am, with a big turn out expected. With this being the only race before the double handed transatlantic (AG2R) there will be some of the boats sailing double handed using this as a training course for the event. It is a 350 mile tour of the Brittany coast starting from Concerneau, heading out of the bay and north through the famous Raz de Sien, to a mark just south of Ouessent, then heading south to Ile Du Yeu and back up north to finish again at Concareau.
Forecasts at the moment are for Easterly/ South Easterly winds making for a large reaching course with key decisions being on when to fly the kite and when to sail with just the jib. Although the forecast is currently around 10-15 knts increasing to around 20knts for a brief period, throughout the winter the forecasts have been under predicting the wind about 5 - 10 knts in this part of Brittany. However, now with the weather warming up it could be the case that is error is reduced.
A large feature of racing in this part of the world is the current, although this time the course falls on neap tides, a small tidal coefficient of between 45 - 60. However I still expect to see 3 - 4 knts of tide at points on the course.
For me, this course is going to be a great learning experience, sailing over a part of the coast that I will pass 3 times during the Solitaire du Figaro. With 32 boats entered it is going to be a great kick start to the season.
You can follow the race live from the start at 1500 (French time) until the finish that will most likely be Saturday afternoon.