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Midday Analysis of Gildas Morvan, ‘The Old Guys Still Have It’

Published on 01/09/2020

Every day while the 35 skippers of La Solitaire du Figaro are racing at sea we will publish the analysis of a Figaro expert. Today, Gildas Morvan, who, after Jean-Paul Mouren (28), is the sailor who has taken part in the event most often with 22 challenges.

Alexis Courcoux/La Solitaire du Figaro
Alexis Courcoux/La Solitaire du Figaro

“The start of the stage proved to be pretty tough with that passage of the high pressure ridge (area of light winds) which was complicated for some. I am thinking in particular of Yann Eliès who, after choosing a northern option actually had succeeded in repositioning just two miles back to the east of the leading pack. But as the wind came in from the west, he saw the guys in front escape and he is now more than 20 miles behind.

On the other hand, Armel Le Cléac’h and Frédéric Duthil stuck with their northern option and we see that they came back hard and are doing really well. In fact they have managed to come back on the leaders and that means that we have more of a match

Again, just when it was looking more straightforward, today promises to be complicated, because this afternoon Tuesday, they will have to cross a cloudy front with winds that will drop and turn suddenly through 180 degrees so they all risk stopping. This front might really compress the whole fleet and we might very well see a sort of restart.

But if this front is not very active and moves quickly, the gaps will remain more or less the same. They will arrive at the Fastnet this evening and once the famous rock has passed, they will be flying on the return, reaching (crosswind) with a sustained southwesterly wind, that will be a real speed race, so a lot of time spent at the helm.

Now they’ve been at sea for two days now, they probably didn’t sleep the first night in light wind, it was a little more favorable last night in more stable wind, and today, with this front, the nerves will again be put to the test.

As the fatigue accumulates, they have to manage to take short naps in order to bank energy for the return leg as well as possible, which means putting on autopilot from time to time.

In this game, those who are able to go fast and trim the boat well under pilot really have a big plus. In the standings, Xavier Macaire and Corentin Douguet are leading the way, their trajectories are exemplary, they have sailed well right from the start, they are the ones who set the pace, they are quite impressive, these old guys still have it! The young guns of Crédit Mutuel Bretagne (Tom Laperche and Loïs Berrehar) are not very far behind, they keep up the pressure, we will see who will be the strongest on the return leg, because we will have to let go and push hard. Even on a pure speed drag race there are still options.”

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