Well, sometimes things just don't go your way, at least if you're Frédéric Duthil in the Solitaire de Figaro. All he had to do was keep up near the front of the fleet for the final leg to Dieppe, but ended up buried deep, while Yann Eliés managed to pull off a huge turn-around and claw his way to the top, for the overall victory. Duthil finished 6th overall, just ahead of Michel Desjoyeux and Armel Le Cléac'h - I suppose that's nothing to sneeze at, unless you just missed winning the whole thing by 1h 26m.
I'm looking forward to Duthil's recap of what went wrong in the leg, because he started dropping to the back very early in the race and never recovered, even when the fleet encountered the 30-40 knot breeze in which he usually does pretty well, particularly off the wind. Not this time.
That wraps up a very exciting 2013 Solitaire. Next up, in 5 days, the Tour de France a la Voile
, which is always exciting, even if it lacks the drama of singlehanding. However, plenty of big guns in the hunt this year, including Franck Cammas, Thomas Coville, Vincent Riou, and Daniel Souben (two-time winner of this race). Says a lot about the competitiveness of these skippers that they would invest the time in such a long, grueling event. On the other hand, it gets considerable press coverage which their sponsors love (Groupama, Sodebo, etc.), which means more money flowing into their major offshore multihull programs.
Really encourage everyone to follow the race. The Archambault M34 is a boat that Paulo has covered in the recent past, and watching these guys blazing along under asymmetrical kites in big breeze is not to be missed.
Competition should be make this one too close to call.
Here's the highlight reel from 2012.