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Stage 2 : Interviews before departure

Published on 29/08/2021

They said :

Jesse Fielding (Opportunity-State Street Marathon Sailing): “Well this leg looks like a cracker, as promised definitely a more historic style classic coastal leg up and around all the way past Brest and round the corner into the Channel and Fecamp. The sailing in along the rocky French coast with shifty winds – even though there is a nice stable weather system over Scotland – is going to be just as challenging as we have all read about before – as foreigners to this scene – so the weather looks good for sailing and the competition is as tough and wild as ever with all that local knowledge throughout the fleet. I am planning on just seeing some incredible sailing and hope to be participating in the fleet, high heart rate stuff among the rocks, and plenty risky for me but the strategy is to manage that risk really well, and stay in contact with those who know and hope for an opportunity to make a move when we can, but our goals are the same as always…finish safely, keep the boat in one piece, learn all that we possibly can and get on to the next one!”

Francesca Clapcich (ITA/USA, Fearless-State Street Marathon Sailing): “We will have a relatively stable flux of North Easterly wind for all of this leg and I think there will be quite a few challenging points as it is much more coastal and we will have a couple of tide gates that we might need to manage, but it does not look so horrible at Le Plateau and the (Chenal de) Four but potentially a bit more North Easterly as we get close to the raz (du sein) and it will be tricky to decide then how much to push into the shallow water or not. I think the hard choices will eb sail choices and when, I feel there will be a lot of crossover moments where there might be the option to go small spi, I think it will be key to be able to see what the leaders are choosing and trying to match what they are doing because it can be really difficult to match the fleet if you end up on the wrong sail. And definitely to manage all the rocks. It is Brittany and we already went up round some of these areas in the Tour de Bretagne and the Solo Concarenau so it is not the first time but with this fleet it will be different, 34 boats can make it crowded and busy in the small areas. I am looking forward and the goal, as always, is to go fast and be pushing the boat all the time, make the right decisions with regard to wind, shift and current.”

Tom Dolan (IRL, Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan): “The weather is looking that there might be no really big tidal gates unless we are late leaving, we get stuck a bit at Penmarc’h tomorrow but you never know. Because the wind has been in the North East for so long it might mess up the tides a bit in the English Channel but let’s see. The focus straight away is getting off the start line better this time and not being left behind, and not crashing into anyone. This first part has a lot of manoeuvres and so they need to be clean and then you need to be quick tonight. I know this passage to Belle ile and to Rochebonne pretty well, I’ve been out there more times than I have had hot dinners!”

Alan Roberts (GBR, Seacat Services): “The aims this time? Don’t get a bad start. In Saint Nazaire it was terrible and left me on the back foot for so long, always playing catchup. And that was frustrating because I have started well this season so far and in every race I have done I think I have been in the top three at the first mark every time, and generally I have been sailing well. All the way down I could see the Pierre Leboucher, for example, on the AIS and I reckoned on being maybe half an hour behind, but they just extended towards the end. I maybe got the last bit wrong when 10 per cent of the group went left and you manage your risk but they all made gains, and so that is frustrating. But that leg is gone. I am not thinking about Leg 1 now or Leg 3, it is one leg at a time. I need to sail the way I know I how to and have confidence in my ability.

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