Sailing: the Solitaire du “Figaro”, “it has become a race for athletes”

The 52e edition of the Solitaire du Figaro sailing was marked by the harshness and length of the four stages, which ended on Thursday September 16 with the victory of Pierre Quiroga (Skipper-Macif 2019). The race shed light on the athletic requirement today necessary to withstand the discomfort of life on board, but also the advantage given to skippers from sectors of excellence, in particular from Finistère, sponsored by the Team Bretagne CMB teams. and Skipper Macif. These provide their respective skippers with technical trainers, coaches, weather experts as well as medical advisers.

Read also Sailing: Pierre Quiroga, a hegemonic course on the Solitaire

This 2021 edition also saw a rejuvenation of the profiles of the 34 “solo sailors” engaged, including twelve “plotters” among which the two youngest, Violette Dorange and Maël Garnier, are a little over 20 years old.

She especially fought for the third season aboard the Figaro-Bénéteau 3, a 10.85-meter monohull with foils – those appendages on the hull that allow the boat to “fly” – with a more substantial sail plan, favoring faster gaits but which in return requires a total physical commitment from the “solo sailors”.

Characteristics which make say to the dean of the edition, Gildas Mahé (Breizh Cola), 46 years old – who competed in his last race of the Figaro after nine participations -, like another figure of the circuit, Alexis Loison, “That this boat will remove the oldest from the circuit. We thus see a new generation advancing, more physical and better prepared ”. And to add: “Physically, it’s really hard”, confided the Brest skipper, his head under the pontoon tap, rinsing a face irritated by the salt during the second stage judged at Fécamp (Seine-Maritime).

“The boat crushes the sailors”

Elodie Bonafous, 25, skipper of CMB-Océane, is one of the five women involved. The Finistérienne, who is competing in her second “Solitaire”, recalls that “Our common culture is that of the weather and that of placing on the water”. “But here it is counterbalanced today by that of speed which requires a much more sporting commitment than three years ago. From where this new generation which arrives and which pushes hard ”, adds the young woman.

To listen to Eric Péron (French Touch), 40 years old and nine participations in Figaro, “The old Figaro 2 split the sea and left periods of respite ”. “Today the smallest chop electrifies your back. We are witnessing a decrease in the average age of “loners” [31 ans cette année] for two reasons: the ability to recover is not the same at 22-25 years old as at 40-45 years old. And then, learning is done more quickly, in particular thanks to the fields of excellence. Hence an increasingly efficient young guard ”, underlines the Bigouden skipper.

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