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Ocean Safety 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Silver for Alan Roberts in the Solo Maître Coq

by Maria Stanley 27 Mar 16:12 GMT 27 March 2021
Alan Roberts finishes 2nd in the Solo Maître Coq © Thomas Deregnieaux Photography

Alan Roberts finishes second in the first 2021 Figaro race, the Solo Maître Coq, starting and finishing in the Bay Les Sables d'Olonne, France.

Talking from the dock at the end of the Race 3, the final race, he said "Pleasantly pleased with my result. Happy that it validates all the work I have put in this winter and a really good confidence boost at the start of the season."

Roberts was on joint points with Tom Laperche (FRA) heading into Race 3, a 340 mile coastal race, which started on Thursday 25th March. Roberts said at the finish "I am pretty happy all round with my result although I made a small mistake that maybe let Tom win the event."

All the competitors are suffering from sore eyes after the downwind leg from Belle Ile.

Roberts said "The blast back from Belle-ile was full on, doing 15-20 knots with the boat under water most of the time. No time for sleep or food and permanently sore eyes."

Alan Roberts (31), Hampshire offshore solo sailor has started his Figaro season as he means to go on after finishing second overall in the 18th Edition of Solo Maître Coq. Starting in the Bay of Les Sables d'Olonne, recently the scene of the Vendée Globe finish, Roberts completed two inshore races and a 340m offshore leg, with two nights at sea on Saturday, 27th March.

Roberts opened the 2021 Figaro season winning Race 1 of the Solo Maître Coq, a 32 mile coastal race between Les Sables d'Olonne, Bourgenay and Brem-sur-Mer on Monday, 22nd March. A course which turned out to be particularly tactical, the result of a very unstable north-easterly wind, both in force and in direction, which naturally revised the game on numerous occasions during the six hours of the race.

Roberts said, "I'm really happy with how I sailed today. In recent weeks, I have worked with the Pole Finistère Course au Large but also Nicolas Lunven (FRA) on speed. On this point in particular, I could see that I was comfortable on all angles. It also allowed me to use my speed to get out of certain situations, especially on the upwind leg."

Race 2 got under way after a general recall on Tuesday, 23rd March. The wind was particularly unstable and it decreased to the point that Race Management had to shorten the course from 34 to 22 miles, Roberts who took fourth in this race, reported: "I managed to sail as I wanted and make the right decisions, but overall I had speed. This Tuesday was a classic Figaro race where you could quickly lose a lot. Now, there is the big final race and it is this which will determine the overall winner. It is also the one that we are all waiting for to validate the time put in training this winter."

Race 3 was a classic Figaro offshore leg delivering both light erratic airs and strong winds. The extreme conditions which were particularly technical, bought the more experienced solo sailors to the front of the fleet. The first portion of the route - a 340 mile loop starting and finishing in Les Sables d'Olonne via Ré, Belle-Ile and Yeu - was to be crucial because the weather scenario promised very few opportunities to overtake later. Roberts managed his way through the light airs heading into the first night at sea and then leaving Ile de Ré in 8th. Once the break was made from Ile de Ré, the leaders extended, as the second half of the race on the Birvideaux side was a very different story. The skies opened and the speeds got fast, it was 'submarine' mode as the skippers managed the hellish pace, constantly battered by wind, rain & spray, they had no option but to stay firmly riveted to the helm until the end of the race. Pierre Quiroga (FRA) sailed impeccably in each of the key periods and won the leg. Roberts couldn't manage to fight off rival, Tom Laperche (FRA) during the leg and finished 5th in Race 3, leaving him 2nd overall. Roberts very much enjoyed the racing, "It was a really great edition of the Solo Maître CoQ, with some interesting choices to make and some great fights. It makes great promises for the future!"

After some rest and recuperation Roberts will be heading back out on the water for the double handed Sardinha Cup, starting on Wednesday, 7th April with co-skipper Violette D'Orange (FRA) also competing in the Solo Maître Coq her second year in the Figaro.

The duo also plan take on the double handed transatlantic race, from Conarneau, France to St. Barts starting on Sunday, 9th May.

Solo Maître Coq Overall Results: (top three, 3 races)

1. Tom Laperche - Bretagne CMB Performance
2. Alan Roberts - Seacat Services
3. Gildas Mahé - Breizh Cola

Find out more at www.alanrobertsracing.com

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