Figaro Solo Race 2014: Sam Goodchild leads the British charge as frustrating conditions and fierce competition lie ahead

Goodchild made a strong start to the Figaro but admits his own expectations mean he has a lot to live up to

Heading for home, Sam Goodchild faced frustrating conditions as well as fierce competition as he started one of France’s top singlehanded races. The Figaro Solo Race has been the breeding ground for most of the French greats and the alma mater of many Vendée Globe round the world race winners and it keeps attracting back its graduates.

The first leg stretches the distance from Deauville to Plymouth to 484 miles, including an up-Channel hitch to the Owers Light, a down-Channel run past the Isle of Wight to Wolf Rock, a cross-Channel section to Roscoff and then up to Goodchild’s home port of Sutton Harbour under the Hoe which was the playground of Drake.

He is a product of the Cowes-based, though often training in Brittany, Artemis Offshore Academy, sponsored by a Scottish investment house, run by the same company that stages the Extreme Sailing Series, and designed to challenge the supremacy of the French in short-handed sailboat racing.

Of the 38 starters, including both women, most are based in France and while there is always some emphasis on the “rookies” that is partly because it is so difficult to win. Back to race against Goodchild are the likes of Alain Gautier, Yann Elies, Jérémie Beyou and Erwan Tabarly.

The weather at the start was too good for yacht racing, full sunshine and a light wind. Finding the wind and cheating the tide will mean little sleep in short cat-naps and the fleet is not expected to sample the delights of fish and chips in the Barbican until Wednesday night or Thursday morning. After an inshore race the fleet then takes a circuitous route back to Roscoff, goes on to Les Sables d’Olonne, starting port for the Vendée and finishes in Cherbourg.

Goodchild was the leading British sailor off the start, though Ireland’s Dave Kenefick was a couple of places ahead of him, and then Goodchild pushed his Team Plymouth yacht up to third place but there were too many traps ahead for this to be relevant.

“This is my fourth Solitaire, so at least I now know what I'm going in to, what the Figaro is about,” said Goodchild. “My confidence is higher but I think also my expectations are higher - my own expectations, so we'll wait to see how it goes.”

Added Weymouth’s Rich Mason, top rookie early in the piece: “it's definitely a four-day leg now which is about double the time I've ever been at sea.”

Ian Williams and his Team GAC Pindar picked France’s Mathieu Richard as their semi-final opponent in Match Race Germany, the opening event of the Alpari world championship in Langenargen. Kiwi Phil Robertson lined up against Australia’s Keith Swinton in the other half as reigning champion Taylor Canfield of the US Virgin Islands failed to make the cut. Williams, a former lawyer from Southampton, is bidding to be first to win five world titles at the end of the seven-regatta series in Malaysia in December. 

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'