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Alan Roberts(Seacat Services): “I am definitely going to try and sail more to the weather than to sail the fleet ”

Published on 04/09/2021

Alan Roberts (Seacat Services), before the leg 3 :

“It really has been a speed race so far. There have not really been weather features to sail, so much of the first two legs have been get out of the start line and sail well. There was a bit of a split through the Channel Islands on the last leg but you were really routing for the tide and only a bit of the wind. But now I am definitely going to try and sail more to the weather than to sail the fleet because you can be too conservative sailing in the pack, maybe I have been just too conservative in the fleet. If there is a feature you have to sail it. Armel and Yoann in the last couple of years did that well, they took the initiative to split at times, and Pierre Quiroga was happy to sail his own thing.

I treat each leg as an individual race. There is the overall series and you are just trying to not lose. But right now if you talk about winning (overall) it is not impossible but it’s a big ask. I am about five hours behind but each leg is its own race. I am going out and taking each leg as its own race.
I don’t know how close we will be to the English coast. We will go round S Pullar and then you go south for the tides and then there is a shift to take you back north. We should be at that turn in English waters around sunset. I like the crossing of the channel, getting across is about getting the trajectory right with the tide. It is more of a reach on the Figaro 3 and there will be light winds off the coast here, getting out of that well will be important and if you can get clear early then there is a chance to extend. The story of this La Solitaire du Figaro seems to be ‘rich get richer’ courses.
This leg will be a bit lighter, but no shut downs. We should get 12-15kts of wind to reach across the Channel then VMG downwind to Land’s End with up to 20kts – big kite all the way – it could be light by Lundy but all straight line sailing. It is a 3 and a half day course, that leg is Code Zero then kite up to come back. Then Code Zero/J2 into Roscoff. There is a little low pressure hovering down off Portugal which might bring some rain and thunderstorms.
My speed? Upwind I am not quickest but am not slow. It is hard to tell whether people have made gains in speed or positioning on these last legs upwind. Early season upwind in the light I was quick and had an edge. Code Zero reaching I have been quick and sailed past a lot of people. Kite I am quick enough.”

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