Just when you thought the Fastnet was over, the famous rock plays a starring role in a great Nefertiti video from the Solitaire du Figaro. Since passing Wolf Rock and Land’s End last night, the fleet of Figaro Beneteaus has been making much faster progress than expected along the south coast of England. Météo France’s pre-start dire prediction of a windless zone stretching the length of the English Channel has mercifully been revised, and it seems possible that the battle royale that has marked this 40th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro may be finally decided in Dieppe around midday tomorrow.
Armel Le Cleac’h, always one to have confidence in his decisions, describes the main tactical choice of the night: “Last night I stayed further offshore, so I was slightly apart from the pack who went looking for the advantage of the local effects at the headlands, closer to the coast. I’m just sailing my own race, trying to find the best options to get to Dieppe as quickly as possible. At the moment we’re going straight ahead in the sunshine, it’s perfect.” In fact it seems it is the middle way that paid off for Fred Duthil, sailing between the extreme inshore and offshore options to stay close to the theoretical direct route. Ahead lies the last 110 miles or so to cross the Channel and, as has so often been the case, in this edition a small high pressure system may have one more trick to play on the Figaristes. Due to cross the path of the fleet this evening, its light winds combined with a contrary 3 knot current could cause a general slow down, south of the Isle of Wight, and raises the possibility of boats having to anchor to prevent retracing their steps.