Internationals on the dock in Fecamp

Published on 01/09/2021

Finishing 16th into Fécamp this morning Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) lifts the Vivi Trophy for the best international skipper on the leg. Spanish rookie Pep Costa (Cybele Vacances-Team Play to B) was 19th and Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) of Ireland finished in 22nd.

Here’s a brief round up of what the top international skippers said:

Alan Roberts (GBR, Seacat Services), 16th on Stage 2, Vivi Trophy stage winner: “It was a hard leg. I am happy to be what I consider to be in contact with the first bunch but I guess the time differences now must be quite big. Against the tide coming in we were going so slow, it felt like a bit never ending but we could not go any quicker. It was a touch leg that I knew you had to come off the start line well and so I pushed pretty hard and when I came off the line I came with speed and I seemed to be bow forwards on everyone and when they called a recall I thought maybe it was me and so I went back. Then they announced it over the VHF and it wasn’t so I should have had more confidence in my transits, but we live and learn. But that put me on the back foot a bit but I was happy that I worked up the fleet, going forwards until the Raz Blanchard (Alderney Race) and then on the upwind phase I was a little slow in the beginning, I am not 100% sure why, it is an area to work.
I don’t know whether I lost on speed or the windshift, some of the guy were going really quick, but it was not just me going slow.
I could be a lot better. To be in the top 10 in the first half and then drop is painful. I know I can battle in the front of this fleet. I feel I have all the pieces of the jigsaw on the table and right now I am struggling to put them together. There are two more legs to go.
I pushed hard on the reaching section and was really quick and then had a bit of a break before the Raz Blanchard and after then in on the rocks it was totally full on. I could tell I was bleeding places and did not know why. I played around with my set up, I was not overtired, I was never backing off. I have struggled a little bit in the breeze. Unlike on the first leg the breeze was very gusty and so unlike on the first leg you could not autopilot it. “

Nils Palmieri (SUI, TeamWork) 21st on Stage 2: “This is a bit like the story of the second half of my season, I can see that I am capable of doing good things, but I am not on the pace. That is hurting me this La Solitaire. I took the lead at the first buoy but then lost a lot of places. There, I will try to rest and cut well. “

Tom Dolan (IRL, Smurfit Kappa - Kingspan); 22nd on Stage 2:“ I made a mess of the start and then for the first 12 hours I was not that good and from there it was generally a rich get richer situation. You forget how harsh the English Channel is when you end up nearly a tide behind. You get further and further back and when the tide changes from the west you get worse. I was sailing straight at the buoy on the first leg to Rochebonne and that did not seem to work. I passed some boats and some passed me but so much is down to the start. I was blessed last year because of the health situation there was no inshore courses and we just left everytime. I am a bit disappointed to be honest, but in terms of how far I am behind the leader I did think it would be a lot worse. So I need to be more careful and get going at the start. And I have water all over the place inside the boat. My starboard side foils is wobbling all over the place and I was definitely quicker on one tack that then other. I was not so worried about losing a couple of boats coming in, this is all about big picture, aggregate time.

Pep Costa (ESP, Cybele Vacances-Team Play to B), 19th on Stage 2: “I had a good leg. It was very tough and before the start I did not realise this leg would be so tough. But it was good. On the first leg I had big problems and so on this leg I just wanted to be better. I think it was a good leg for my first La Solitaire du Figaro but the hardest I have done with the least sleep. I am very happy in the way I sailed and in the way I stayed in touch with the fleet. I made a few mistakes, for example on the first night I put the spinnaker down a bit too late. It was so dark I did not see the rest and so I was late on to the gennaker. I lost touch with the little group I was with. In general I would like to start better than this but I find starts difficult. I managed to do a good tactical move at Alderney and caught up with a different group, I went north a bit and the other side of Alderney and got a good shift and less current. It was a complicated option and so I am happy with that choice and then I stayed with the fleet and sailed well against that group. This is the race I have had least sleep, but I am happy because I learned from Will Harris to just get five minutes here and there and I did that and I was good at deciding where the best bits to sleep at were. I am most happy that I am better on this leg than the last, that was my aim.”

David Paul (GBR, Just A Drop), 32nd in 3d 01hr 23m 23s: “ I am generally happy with the leg. I made a few mistakes on the first night like trying to gybe with the Code Zero and could not furl it and panicked a bit. I am happy with how I sailed but had no one really around me and so had no one around me to measure myself against and then I heard Francesca (Clapcich) this morning and got quite excited. I was just racing myself for a while. It feels a lot better than my last leg. It was tough and I knew it was going to be tough with so many tidal gates – what I call ‘brain sailing’- constantly having to think where you are going and everything, and to start positioning immediately after you had passed one tidal gate you were thinking about the next one. But I think I sailed quite well around the Channel Islands which I know a bit.

Francesca Clapcich (ITA/USA Fearless State Street Marathon Sailing), 33rd in 3d 01hr 35m 52s: “It was tough, really tough but I made so many stupid decisions. I am not happy. I started well and was with the pack but did not have the same speed especially with the big spinnaker at tight angles they were definitely faster. I did two peels back and forth. I probably peeled too much to start with. And then I think I got really tired. I peeled four times. Then taking the kite down at Rochebonne I had a problem. And then I just did not have the upwind speed. And then towards the end when you are really pushing to stay with the group you make decisions which are more extreme and they are not the right ones. In this class you need to stay with the fleet but not having the speed to do it is a bit frustrating.


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