Phil Sharp will start his first official Figaro 3 foiling one-design class race Thursday and there will be no room for complacency.
The Solo Maitre Coq will mark the start of the Figaro 3 season this year with 30 figarists eager for the battle ahead following three months of delay due to confinement.
Starting 25 June from Les Sables d’Olonne the course will take the skippers on a 340 mile solo journey around Belle-île, Île d’Yeu and Île de Ré: a life-size rehearsal of the circuit’s pinnacle event, the Solitaire du Figaro, of which Sharp hopes to compete in this September.
But first he must learn how to think like a figarist, “I am used to long ocean races with long-term strategies. This circuit is based on shorter, more intense coastal courses where fleet tactics, land effects and tides come heavily into play”, commented Sharp.
The forecast for the two-night course shows light and variable winds, of which tactical choices and shifty conditions will no doubt intensify this challenging race.
This year competition is high for Sharp.
Not only will he be pitting himself against a pool of multiple Figaro du Solitaire veterans including Yann Eliès, Xavier Macaire, and Vendée Globe winner Armel Le Cléac’h, he will also be competing against previous Class 40 teammates Adrien Hardy, Corentin Douguet, and Robin Marais.
Sharp will race under the colours of his OceansLab project, launched at the end of last year with the aim of accelerating clean innovations in the maritime sector by reducing emissions and improving the health of the oceans.
The Lab is close to completion of a marinised hydrogen fuel-cell that can help decarbonise the maritime sector.
His Figaro 3 uniquely uses a 100% biocide-free antifouling. The innovation consists of a silicone-based protective film bonded to the hull of the boat to preserve performance offering an optimal antifouling solution.
2020 Figaro Races:
Solo Maitre Coq (June)
Drheam Cup (July)
Solo Concarneau (August)
Solitaire du Figaro (September, TBC)