A last opportunity to warm up ahead of the 42nd classic French “La Solitaire du Figaro” race was taken by the 47 solo sailors when they took part in the Eric Bompard Cashmere Prologue race in Perros Guirec yesterday evening. Four Britons and one Portuguese sailor lined up against each other and the strong French competition with the first stage starting on Sunday (31 July) at 11:00 for the month-long Figaro circuit.
The Eric Bompard Cashmere Prologue race held in Perros Guirec on Friday finally got off at 17:41 and was shortened to 2 miles from the original 7.2 in the absence of wind. The race was ultimately won by the first time participant, Alexis Littoz-Baritel (Savoie-Mont Blanc), who led over the course of the last mile. The first time participant or rookies, were well represented at the forefront of the fleet doing well on the shortened course.
You had to remain alert and very concentrated and really leap at any opportunity to get away off the start line in the variable breeze light breeze that barely reached 5 knots. The fleet of 47 solo sailors spread out across the Breton harbour of Perros Guirec and hoped the wind would fill in from the east. Whilst most chose the committee boat end of the start line, which supposedly was the favoured side, those who remained closer to the shore side made the most gains. The turning tide and light northeasterly breeze made for a complicated race start after a general recall was given.
The leaders then made their way round the marks in Perros Guirec harbour before reaching out to the Trestignel headland: Alexis Littoz-Baritel (Savoie-Mont Blanc), Charlie Dalin (Keopsys) and Frédéric Duthil (Sepalumic) followed by Yoann Richomme (DLBC), Paul Meilhat (MACIF 2011) and Eric Peron (MACIF 2009), Laurent Pellecuer (Atelier d’architecture Jean-Pierre Monnier) … with many others following this leading pack.
Two miles into the course, the weakening breeze and more importantly, the effects of the cross currents, lead to the race committee’s decision to shorten the course at the Pierre Chenal mark, 2.5 miles into the race.
The 2011 French match racing champion, Alexis Littoz-Baritel was followed closely behind by Eric Drougalzet (Luisina), Frédéric Duthil, Charlie Dalin and Eric Peron to finish first on the Eric Bompard Cachemire Prologue on his maiden Solitaire participation.
Leading the British entries, Conrad Humphreys (DMS), finished tenth overall. Speaking from the today’s prize-giving event, Conrad said “There were some tricky conditions for the prologue, as there will be for pretty much most of the first stage of La Solitaire starting tomorrow. I’m really happy to be here sailing against some brilliant sailors and am pleased with my result from the Prologue. I’m feeling well prepared and ready for the race.”