At 13:14:36 on Tuesday 2nd of August, Fabien Delahaye crossed the finish line of the first leg of La Solitaire du Figaro between Perros-Guirec and Caen in first place. The young skipper sailing on Port Caen Ouistreham took 2 days, or 50 hours 14 minutes and 36 seconds, at an average 5.83 miles an hour to cover the 293.1 miles race that was full of surprises. The final stages of the race were played out overnight on Monday in the calm conditions and currents off the Cotentin coastline. Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert), the highly experienced Figaro sailor, finished just behind takes the second place on the podium whilst Jean Pierre Nicol (Bernard Corntrols) takes third to complete the podium. Xavier Macaire (Starter Active Bridge) comes in first rookie in 5th place, barely a minute ahead of Phil Sharp (Spirit of Independence), the first British sailor to finish, crossing the line in 7th.
It is a very good performance for the native Normandy sailor, Fabien Delahaye (he lives in Caen). At only 27, this young blond man with piercing blue eyes has just won his first leg on on a Solitaire race. In 2009, Fabien made his mark on the Figaro by winning the rookie ranking overall. Over the past two participations Fabien has improved and through carful methodical work and a clear state of mind has been regarded as one of the young hopefuls to set a mark on La Solitiare du Figaro. This win at home could be the first of more to come.
The success at home must also be due to the special inside knowledge he has of the home waters and Cotentin coastline. This fleet had a complicated time last night, having to anchor off Barfleur and extricate themselves from the currents and light conditions. Fabien came out ahead and led over the final miles to the finish.
On the finish line in Ouistreham, the tension was palpable as nothing had been decided and all was to play for over the final miles of the race. The very low and variable wind direction together with the 2 knots of current from the tides brought the fleet back together. Fabien managed to control his opponents and beat them to the finish.
Seasoned sailors, Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) and Jean Pierre Nicol (Bernard Controls) finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The first rookie to finish, a mere 14 minutes behind the winner in 5th place is Xavier Macaire (Starter Active Bridge) being pursued by Britain’s Phil Sharp on Spirit of Independence, who finishes 7th overall and just under a minute behind the first rookie.
Conrad Humphreys (DMS) from Plymouth was the 2nd Brit to cross the finish line, finishing in 22nd place approximately 45 minutes behind the winner, and only 19 seconds behind Morgan Lagraviere (Vendee) just ahead of him.
Finish in Caen-Ouistreham
1-Fabien Delahaye (13:14:36)
2-Gildas Morvan (13:25:45)
3-Jean-Pierre Nicol (13:25:58)
4-Jérémie Beyou (13h 27’ 04)
5-Xavier Macaire, premier bizuth (13:28:48)
6-Thomas Rouxel (13:28:55)
7-Phil Sharp, deuxième bizuth (13:29:40)
8-Lauren Pellecuer (13:31:30)
9-Nicolas Lunven (13:32:22)
10- Erwan Tabarly (13:37:37)
22- Conrad Humphreys (13:59:38)