Xavier Macaire (Snef Group) leads at Carn Base, Land’s End

Published on 07/09/2021

Swashbuckling Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF), who won the first stage and had technical problems on the second, has stolen a march on the leaders of La Solitaire du Figaro fleet as they negotiate the tip of England, Land’s End. At the Carn Base mark in a building breeze Macaire was 17 minutes ahead of second placed Tom Laperche (Bretagne CMB Performance).

The group is tightly packed behind Macaire as they emerge from a clear starry night. The lights on the shore of the bay of Penzance clearly winking, the seascape is illuminated by lighthouses, cardinal marks and many fishing boats. In an notoriously rocky area historically associated with pirates, Macaire has worked hard and smartly during the hours of darkness to leverage a lead of three miles as they start the long northwards leg towards Lundy Island, 80 miles to their NNE and Saint Gowan 25 miles NW of the island.

Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) is the best placed international skipper in 15th, in touch with the main group but five miles behind Macaire, Spanish rookie Pep Costa (Cybele Vacances-Team Play to B) is 19th Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) is 21st

They said:

Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019): “It’s a battle but it is better than yesterday afternoon, because I had a lot of issues. My pilot had a mind of its own, I didn’t have true wind direction, so it was hard to work tacticcally and I did a lot of involuntary tacks. Now I’ve fixed it, I’m trying to get back on terms and it is tight. We have flat seas, 50 cm of swell and 13-14 knots of wind which is quite warm wind compared to last night, the boat is going at 9 knots, so that’s cool! In less than two hours we will be going against the tide at Land’s End, the fleet will tighten up a bit. Last night I had to work hard to get back down south a bit, but I managed and it’s like a new start except our friend Xavier (Macaire) is always going lower and faster. He escapes a bit and it’s hard to contain him. We are going to find it tougher soon as the wind should get stronger, there will be big gusts and shifts in direction as it’s an offshore, land wind. This is only the start of the race, we had a nice time until now now we will attack the tactical and strategic part. With each change of current, it all compacts up again, it does not help to get excited so I slept a lot, I am in good shape and ready for the battle because the next few days we are not going to sleep much! “

Martin Le Pape (Gardons La Vue): “It’s going pretty well, it’s been a gybing battle but the sea is flat that’s nice! I did a gybe ten minutes ago and Fabien (Delahaye) hadn’t seen that. I was on starboard tack so I hailed him because he couldn’t see me and we could have touched each other. It’s close, there’s really a battle I’m happy with my start to the race. We will now manage the last English point before changing sails to go up to Lundy Island. We won’t be downwind, we will be on the wind. It’s not clear what to expect. We don’t know that area very well, there won’t necessarily be a lot of sea, but there will be rocks. I slept yesterday and tonight I’m in great shape. We have to be vigilant, because we are very close to the coast, there are fishing boats and a lot of traffic. “

Gaston Morvan (Bretagne-CMB Espoir) : “I put in a lot of energy the first night so I tried to take some naps. The wind is building slowly as we approach Land’s End we are going upwind to turn right towards Lundy. We had perfect conditions yesterday, it was really nice. We were able to rest, but it will be tougher for the next few hours. I’m in the little group not far from the head of the fleet, we cross each other all the time, it’s an interesting game. I had a good start, I was in the top 5 at the Isle of Wight’s first mark. Now we have to stay in this pack! I don’t know these places well, I’m discovering them, and haven’t seen much of the English coast before. It’s busy on this bit of water Tanguy (Le Turquais) has joined us, there is also Achille (Nebout), Martin (Le Pape). There are lots of mates around here. And the first night was magical the first night: I saw shooting stars ... “

Order at Carn Base

1- Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) : 7h24

2- Tom Laperche (Bretagne - CMB Performance) : 7h41

3- Pierre Leboucher (GUYOT Environnement - Ruban Rose) : 7h43

4- Alexis Loison (Région Normandie) : 7h43


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