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Stage 3 analysed by Nicolas Lunven

Published on 04/09/2021

Nico Lunven has nine La Solitaire du Figaro races under his belt including two wins in 2009 and 2017. He has twice raced the Volvo Ocean Race as navigator and soon will partner Sam Davies on the Transat Jacques Vabre. His is presently weather adviser to the Pôle Finistère Offshore centre.

“On the first two stages, there was no big surprises when you compare what happened to what was forecast for weather. The differences that we do see are specific to the speed potential of the Figaro Beneteau 3. Apart from unexpected and uncontrollable things which happened and redistributed the cards for some competitors, the general classification remains fairly clear within the fleet and I am not really surprised by the order at this mid point of the race.

The next step will be interesting to follow because the weather patterns are not yet fully established. Since yesterday, I run routings and it changes a lot. We are currently in a change of situation and system. The big unknown for the start remains the timing of this change. Tomorrow, for the moment, the wind will be light on the starting line. The situation may clear up tomorrow during the day or during the night from Sunday to Monday, or even Monday morning; the first challenge of this start of the race will be to get away from the line and from Fécamp and across the Channel.

The descent down the Channel should be quite nice: downwind VMG and in mild conditions. The short round trip to climb towards the entrance to the Bristol Channel should be reaching, again, without major difficulty.

On the other hand, on the descent, at the level of Scilly, it will be necessary to know how to negotiate a zone of transition which will pass from an east / south-east sector to the south-west. This small depression will bringing a little rain. The wind should be established from the southwest until the finish scheduled for Thursday, in the Bay of Morlaix. Winds and the tidal currents are the he main aspects of this third stage

When the weather strategy is super clear, you just have to go fast. On the other hand, if the wind is not established, which is the case here, the current kicks in and becomes a determining element until, sometimes, the cards are completely redistributed. This may be the case on this stage in the English Channel, with tidal coefficients which will only increase throughout the week until arriving in the Bay of Morlaix, where, again, the tides are strong.”

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