Briton Alan Roberts sailing Seacat Services, has today picked up the inaugural Vivi Trophy for finishing the 2019 La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro as the top placed international competitor. The race within a race, similar to the Rookie trophy for first timers, is judged the same way as the overall classification, that is to say on cumulative elapsed time over the event’s four legs.
Roberts from Southampton was leading the battle for the trophy coming into the final 500-nautical mile stage from Roscoff to Dieppe, and when he crossed the finish line in this afternoon in 27th place, after 3 days, 20 hours, 49 minutes and 21 seconds at sea, his positioned was confirmed.
Seven non-French competitors have taken part in this 50th anniversary edition of La Solitaire and subject to confirmation, Swiss competitor Justine Mettraux (Teamwork) finishes as the second placed international and Briton Will Harris (HIVE Energy) is third in what is only his second ever La Solitaire.
The Vivi Trophy is a new perpetual trophy presented by Meagan and Marcus Hutchinson and Eliane and Bernard Lalanne for the first time in 2019. The intent of the trophy is two-fold.
Firstly, to develop another angle on which to communicate the non-French presence in the race hence encouraging other non-French skippers to compete in the solo offshore racing world. And secondly, to drive the competition between these non-French skippers, rewarding them with the recognition they so badly deserve, and giving them an intermediate goal to aim for as the progress over the years within the highly competitive Figaro world.
Commenting when he hit the dock, Roberts said: “That was a hard leg for me. It was identified on the second leg of the race and cemented on the third leg that my spinnaker was not very quick. As soon as there was chop and anything outside of eight to 12 knots range. And I knew this stage would be 50 per cent downwind at the exact angle that was not good for me. I knew there would be opportunities and I just needed to take them and minimise the collateral when it was bad and go well when it was good.”
“My Solitaire? It was good overall, I’m disappointed about my speed but overall I sailed well. I took a risk and did something different with the sails, it paid off with the gennaker but didn’t in others. But that is the game. All in all I am happy. I am sailing quite well and making good decisions. I am happy to be the first international for the Vivi Trophy, hopefully I can make it the double, the Solitaire and the Vivi.”
The 50th Anniversary edition of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro has been a particularly special affair, amplified by the new boat, unusual weather conditions and an impressively strong field of entries, which have produced an exceptional event from start to finish.