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Three skippers still in competition for the VIVI Trophy at La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro

by La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro 21 Jun 2019 15:51 BST 22 June 2019
Three skippers still in competition for the VIVI Trophy at La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro © Yvan Zedda

The start of the fourth and final leg of the 2019 Solitaire URGO Le Figaro will be given at 14:00 on Saturday 22 June in Roscoff, and all 47 entries who set out from Nantes almost a month ago will start the 500-mile leg to Dieppe. Amongst them are seven non-French skippers all competing for the Vivi Trophy, the prize awarded to the first 'international' skipper.

The race within a race, similar to the Rookie trophy for first timers, is judged the same way as the overall classification, that is to say on cumulative elapsed time over the event's four legs.

After three legs Will Harris (GBR) sailing Hive Energy has been the first non-French skipper to finish on two occasions (Leg 2 & Leg 3) but his result in the first leg, where he finished a long way behind his fellow non-French competitors, means he currently sits in third place on the Vivi Trophy rankings. Harris trails two boats and starts the last leg of the course with a three hour 43 minute and 37 second deficit over the leading non-French skipper Alan Roberts, (GBR) sailing Seacat Services. Between these two British skippers lies the Swiss Volvo Ocean Race winner Justine Mettraux sailing Teamwork, who is 1 hour 16 minutes and 3 seconds off the lead.

Although these gaps sound big and in 'normal' circumstances they would be considered insurmountable, the 2019 edition of the race is turning out to be anything but 'normal'. Huge gaps have developed between competitors across the board in one leg that are then almost completely reversed in the following legs. The weather has been particularly unstable this year, meaning that some groups of boats have been able to make big gains quickly by virtue of their positioning relative to clouds and other weather phenomena.

On top of that, the all-new Figaro Beneteau 3 has also proved to be an extremely interesting boat to race with the strategic and tactical options available to skippers being much wider than those offered by the previous class of boat used due to in part to its asymmetric off wind sail plan and its modern high-performance orientated hull design and systems.

The Vivi Trophy is a new perpetual trophy presented by Meagan and Marcus Hutchinson and Eliane and Bernard Lalanne for the first time in 2019. These four have worked tirelessly in the background over the past 20 years to support, encourage and mobilise non-French skippers to compete in the Figaro Beneteau Class. The intent of the trophy is two-fold.

Firstly to develop another angle on which to communicate the non-French presence in the race hence encouraging other non-French skippers to compete in the solo offshore racing world. And seconly, to drive the competition between these non-French skippers, rewarding them with the recognition they so badly deserve, and giving them an intermediate goal to aim for as the progress over the years within the highly competitive Figaro world.

The seven non-French skippers racing in the 2019 La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro are:

  • Will Harris (GBR)(Hive Energy)
  • Joan Mulloy (IRL)(Believe in Grace/Buisness Post.ie)
  • Justine Mettraux (SUI)(Teamwork)
  • Alan Roberts (GBR)(Seacat Services)
  • Tom Dolan (IRL)(Smurfit Kappa)
  • Alberto Bona (ITA)(Sebago)
  • Conrad Colman (NZL)(Ethical Power).

Follow the race on the event website: lasolitaire-urgo.com

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