Armel le Cleac’h onboard Banque Populaire has just stomped his way into Dunkerque at the head of the fleet to claim victory in the 2nd leg of the Solitaire du Figaro. Having led since the early stages of the race due in part to a gutsy tactical move to position himself as the most easterly boat on the first beat, the 2-time Figaro champ and current Vendée Globe champion slowly but steadily stretched this early advantage out to a seven mile lead before winning by just over half an hour; a horizon job in this class.
Sailed completely within the confines of the English Channel with large traffic separation schemes in play and light-to-moderate shifty breeze, there was little chance for tactical heroics in the closing stages of this leg, instead compressing and funneling the fleet into Dunkerque.
Finishing an impressive second place was Briton Sam Goodchild who steadily worked his way up the rankings to overcome Yann Elies at the end and pip him over the line. Rounding out the podium was the three-time Solitaire champion himself, Yann Elies with Leg 1 winner Xavier Macaire coming home a strong 5th place.
With two out of four stages completed in this 51st Solitaire du Figaro, Armel le Cleac’h has assumed the overall lead with Leg 1 winner Xavier Macaire (+37 minutes) in second and Englishman Sam Goodchild in third (+44 minutes). Stage 3 of the race will begin on Saturday in Dunkerque and should again be light and variable in the opening stages before a northerly front fills in to take the fleet down to Saint-Nazaire.