Warm up for Figaro sailors


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The Independent Online

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 this evening.

Four Britons and one Portuguese sailor will line up against each other and the strong French competition when the first stage starts on Sunday at 11.00 am for the month-long Figaro circuit.

The seven-mile long prologue race in the bay of Perros Guirec enjoyed hazy, sunny skies and a gentle six to 10 knots of breeze from the north-east, giving the sailors a chance to check the boat, iron out any issues, and tweak settings before the final rest day on Saturday. It also provided the throngs of sailing enthusiasts and holiday makers in the area with a perfect evening spectacle.

Four British sailors have entered the 2011 La Solitaire du Figaro, three of them for the first time. They are the winner of the Artemis Offshore Academy Figaro training programme, Sam Goodchild from Southampton, who at just 21, is also the youngest to race in this edition.

Phil Sharp (The Spirit of Independence) from Jersey, who won the Route du Rhum in 2006 in the Class40, joins with Plymouth-based Conrad Humphreys (DMS), a seasoned sailor who raced in the 2004-2005 Vendée Globe race. Nigel King (E-Line Orthodontics) from Lymington returns for his third participation.

Another non-French competitor is the talented Portuguese sailor, Francisco Lobato (ROFF), from Lisbon. He is back for the second consecutive year after an ambitious and intensive training programme at the Port Finisterre in Port la Foret with the Figaro specialists.

Early forecasts from Meteo Consult show light conditions for the start on Sunday and the first stage of the race.