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Alan Roberts is top international skipper after Leg 3 of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro

by Maria Stanley 20 Jun 2019 08:35 BST
La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro © Alexis Courcoux

"I was pretty sure this was shaping up to be the hardest leg so far - I mean, they've all been hard legs so far but it was."

Overcoming tidal gates, rocks and copious amounts of seaweed Alan Roberts takes poll position for the VIVI Trophy as top international, non French Sailor lying 14th in the overall rankings after completing Leg 3, Roscoff to Roscoff, of the La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro

The leg was dominated by three sailors, Anthony Marchand (Groupe Royer-Secours Populaire), Gildas Mahé (Breizhe Cola-Equithé) and Alexis Loison (Region Normandie) who made their break off the north eastern tip of Alderney and the Channel Islands, getting through a key tidal gate which closed behind them leaving the rest of the fleet behind fighting a running tide, Roberts is aware this is all part of the fun of off shore racing, "The guys getting away at Alderney, that's just part of the game isn't it, it happens and when it happens to you it smells of roses and when it doesn't and everyone comes into the back of you it smells the opposite."

Following the escape by the trio the rest of the fleet split North and South around the DST zone, Roberts's decision to go North was made for him as he was unable to anchor in the rushing tide, "The way I made the decision was I tried to get to the land to anchor up and I couldn't get there so I knew the wind was going to go around to the North, North East so to keep moving in that direction it kind of made sense to get there and try and get into the new breeze before the people who were anchored otherwise I was going to be in Cherbourg so I took the option to go North and I found out in the radio 'vacation' that we'd paid pretty dear, it's neither here nor there I think it could have come out either way, I don't know what happened to the guys in the South but they could easily have stayed there with no wind and it could have been a different story."

On the pontoon Roberts is exhausted but in good spirits having left his frustrations out on the water, "At the end of this leg in particular, probably here on the pontoon it's exhaustion that you're seeing because I think that the frustration has already come out in the last 24 hours that we've been at sea, you know we had quite a long time to come to reality of what happened, I don't know how it affects the top of the leader board, how it affects the leader board at all with the first guys getting away and the second split getting away. It's frustrating when you loose half a mile, when you loose 15 miles, it's very frustrating when you loose 80 miles you've got to laugh.''

There is little time to recover before the final 500nm leg departs at 1600 local time on Saturday 22 June from Roscoff to Dieppe, France.

The overall leader is Yoann Richomme on 10days 5hrs 58mins 34secs followed by leg 3 winner Gildhas Mahé on 10days 7hrs 24mins 48sec and Alexis Loison sits in third on 10days 8hrs 20mins 46secs.

For more updates follow Alan Roberts on his journey in La Solitaire....visit our website; find us on Facebook; follow us on Twitter; see us on Instagram

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