Please select your home edition
2024 fill-in (top)

Team The Magenta Project at Spi Ouest-France - Banque Populaire Grand Ouest French Figaro Nationals

by Cat Hunt 18 Oct 2021 17:29 BST
Team The Magenta Project at Spi Ouest © James Tomlinson

I am sat reflecting on the events of the past two weeks, and by coincidence my phone has reminded me that it is exactly one year ago since myself and Pamela Lee set out from Dun Laoghaire to break the Double Handed Round Ireland Record.

Looking back at the photos from that record attempt of two very nervous and apprehensive women, don't get me wrong, also 2 very excited women, has made me feel proud of Pam and our also for myself for how far we have come in the past year, and where we are both headed, and also laugh at how little we knew just a year ago!

Skippering my first Classe Figaro Bénéteau race this week has been pretty special, with the thought of my own Figaro to race, my own campaign to manage and own project to run always being my goal, for it to be a reality is still pretty cool for me!

This 'Figaro Nationals' was combined with the annual Spi Ouest Regatta from La Trinité-sur-Mer, which is I guess the French equivalent of Cowes Week, with over 400 boats out on the water racing across over 25 different fleets- which made the morning commute/traffic jam of 400 boats, out the river pretty fun!

Although the event was a very different format to any Figaro racing - with 4 sailors per boat, rather than 1 or 2 per boat, and instead short windward leeward style inshore races, there wasn't a lack of valuable learning to take into the short-handed offshore racing next season.

  1. Driving at the back of the boat gave me a great chance to watch the manoeuvres as a bit of an onlooker (sorry girls!), find the efficiencies and inefficiencies within manoeuvres, and bring this into my own solo hoists/drops/gybes where saving time and effort is key!

  2. Short races and lots of them meant more manoeuvres and more manoeuvres intensely! Lots of chance to practice and practice and practice.

The first 2 days were light and shifty, and the first time myself and the Gardens of Eden Figaro have lined up with other Figaros. Although a great starting place, wee have been a little in the dark in the UK racing under IRC handicap with Royal Ocean Racing Club, so it was great to finally have some comparison!

Speed is key - these boats lose momentum like nothing else, and we learnt the hard way, particularly in the light winds,of the first two days the losses that it incurs!

A reset with each new race allowed us to steadily improve with our boat speed, and particularly downwind we were making some credible gains, especially when you look at the calibre and experience of this fleet... sailors like Pierre Quiogra, this year's La Solitaire du Figaro Winner, and Armel L'Cleach, past Solitaire Champion and Vendee Globe winner, with decades more experience in just the Figaro alone.

Day 3 we saw a bit more consistency and strength in breeze; just a bit more time together as a team was beginning to pay off, and Id like to think where we will be at in another year's time, with hours and hours more Figaro racing experience under our belts.

A huge thank you for the girls Leah Sweet, Aina Bauza and Pam Lee for their efforts on the boat both on and off the water - its always a gamble to hop into an event with a freshly formed team, but I don't think we could have gelled together better, and it was a great opportunity to fly the flag for The Magenta Project again.

A big thank you to the continued support of my sponsor Gardens of Eden and Ross Farrow for the continued adventure with this all...the event has left me with a new hunger to make the most of the winter, train and work hard on tuning Figaro 66 ahead of the 2022 season.

Beneteau Figaro 3 - UK
Ancasta International Boat Sales
RORC Under 35s Official

Related Articles

The path to progress: Women in the lead
Launch of Magenta x IMOCA Female Leadership Development Programme The Magenta Project, IMOCA, and 11th Hour Racing announce the launch of the Magenta x IMOCA Female Leadership Development Programme, a joint-initiative aimed at fostering female talent in elite ocean racing. Posted on 27 May
The Magenta Project - DAME Charity of the Year
Honoured in Netherlands, plus in Spain at the World Sailing Awards The Magenta Project was selected by METSTRADE as the DAME Charity of the Year, recognising the charity as an industry leader in equity and inclusion, and was awarded an impactful donation courtesy of the DAME award proceeds. Posted on 16 Nov 2023
Magenta Mentoring Programme expands
With new mentor training curriculum Over 30 women from 15 countries around the world have been shortlisted as Mentee candidates for the 2023/24 Magenta Mentoring Programme, which starts its sixth annual programme in October. Posted on 22 Sep 2023
The Magenta Project Mentoring Programme 2023/24
Applications are open for the 2023/24 Cohort The 6th annual Magenta Mentoring Programme, the first worldwide mentoring programme in sailing, is now open to applications for its 2023/24 cohort. Posted on 5 Aug 2023
Ruled out: Parental protection policies proposed
The Magenta Project aims to drive policy change On 2 February, professional offshore IMOCA sailor Clarisse Crémer announced on her personal social media accounts that her established sponsor for the 2024 Vendée Globe Race, Banque Populaire, had "left her at the dock". Posted on 19 Feb 2023
The Magenta Project & IMOCA rock the Route du Rhum
Seven women from TMP's worldwide network have been matched with 7 different IMOCA60 teams The IMOCA60 class and The Magenta Project - an equity and inclusion in sailing charity - have created an exclusive opportunity for women to work with IMOCA60 teams preparing for the Route du Rhum Race. Posted on 5 Nov 2022
Jonquil Hackenberg joins The Magenta Project
Appointed as the new Chair with effect from April 2021 Jonquil Hackenberg has been appointed as the new Chair of The Magenta Project with effect from April 2021. Posted on 25 Apr 2021
The Magenta Project partners with Leyton
To support new initiative for women in offshore multihulls The Leyton x Magenta three-day clinics will include an opportunity to sail offshore overnight with Sam Goodchild, Leyton Sailing Team skipper and his crew onboard the Multi50, as well as a series of workshops and seminars with guest speakers. Posted on 11 Mar 2021
Double Handed Round Ireland Record Broken
Iarracht Maigeanta Round Ireland record attempt a success All-female sailing team breaks double-handed sailing record in circumnavigation of Ireland Pamela Lee and Catherine Hunt set off to circumnavigate Ireland on the morning of Tuesday 14 October and finished just before 3am on Saturday 17 October. Posted on 6 Nov 2020
Iarracht Maigeanta (Éire)
First all-female, doublehanded 'Round Ireland' record attempt This October, British skipper Cat Hunt and Pamela Lee, skipper of Irish RL Sailing Team will be sailing a Figaro Bénéteau III racing yacht around Ireland, in an attempt to set a first record for an all-female, doublehanded sailing circumnavigation. Posted on 7 Oct 2020