The 17th edition of the Solo Maître CoQ started this Thursday at 01:15 pm, off Les Sables d’Olonne.
The 30 sailors in the running set off on a 340-mile course between Belle-Ile, Yeu and Ré, driven by a northwest wind blowing between 5 and 6 knots.
A promising start quickly died out to almost nothing during the leg to the first buoy, splitting the fleet.
Adrien Hardy (Ocean Attitude) and Gildas Mahé (Breizh Cola) two of the big favorites were too eager and had to return, with Xavier Macaire (SNEF Group) making the best start in the conditions.
Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) was the first to turn south towards the Ile de Ré, where the game could get tough again, as a small residual cloudy front is likely to further split the fleet, in the evening and first part of Thursday night.
Gently first then a little more tomorrow, with a possible finish with 20-25 knots of breeze.
The challenge for the next few hours is therefore not to miss the train at the risk of never being able to recover.
Leading positions at 18:15 rounding the Ile de Re:
1. Devenir – Violette DORANGE
2. La Chaine de l’Espoir – Benoît HOCHART
3. RL sailing – Kenneth RUMBALL (IRL)
21. OceansLab – Phil SHARP
22. Seacat services – Alan ROBERTS
23. Leyton – Sam GOODCHILD