Meanwhile, at the Solitaire de Figaro, I am not in the least surprised to see Fredric Duthil quietly laying the groundwork to assume the overall lead in the race. While Yann Eliés and Armel Le Cléac'h have fallen 2-4 miles to the back of the fleet, Duthil is currently up in third position, within sight of the two leaders. He was my favorite when the event began, and I have not been disappointed.
Of course, as we learned from the last leg, when it appeared for some time that Gildas Morvan would run away with the win, the wind gods smile on whoever they like, and coming into Giron that "whoever" turned out to be Le Cléac'h. The Solitaire is such a technical race precisely because it is a "near" offshore event, which means that geography plays a much bigger part in affecting the wind conditions at any given instant, not to mention the strong currents to negotiate. Yes, this is an event that grooms future IMOCA champions for sure, but I think it is pretty challenging in its own right. And just because your name is engraved on the trophy from the past, doesn't mean you will dominate in the present.
I hope everyone was paying attention to the Trophée Marie-Agnes Péron Mini 6.50 race, which just concluded a couple hours ago. It gave us a preview of what I think we will see on the 2013 Transat proper. Indeed, it actually gave us a reminder of the 2011 Transat, as Giancarlo Pedote sailed David Raison's famous 747 scow mini - winner of the 2011 Transat - to victory in the 2013 Trophée MAP, besting Gwénolé Gahinet, sailing Antoine Rioux's 800 (which finished 3rd in the 2011 Transat) by 27 minutes. Oh, by the way, Gahinet finished first in the Series class in the 2011 Transat.
In third place was Bertrand Delesne (754), who also finished 3rd overall in the 2011 Transat in that boat. Right behind Delesne we find Joerg Riechers, 5th place finisher in the 2011 Transat, in his 753.
I also want to note that Sébastien Picault sailed his "antique" 198 to seventh in the Trophée MAP - the same boat he sailed to a 12th (out of 36) place finish in the 2011 Transat! That is some amazing sailing and a lot of confidence in your boat; one can imagine him being a major contender in a newer boat, but sometimes you sail what you love.
Really looking forward to the 2013 Transat later in the year. I think it is going to be an epic race, finishing in a new destination - Martinique rather than Brazil. Just wish I was doing it.