La Solitaire du Figaro King is crowned

Jérémie Beyou celebrates his Leg 4 victory - La Solitaire du Figaro 2011
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La Solitaire du Figaro sailor Jérémie Beyou has crossed the finish before anyone else to win the fourth and final leg from Les Sables d’Olonne to Dieppe. By finishing in Dieppe ahead of the rest of the fleet and scoring his third consecutive victory, the BPI skipper was crowned overall winner of the 2011 Solitaire du Figaro, an edition he dominated from the outset. This win means he joins the exclusive club of double winners of the event.

The BPI skipper covered the 437 miles in 72 hours, 37 minutes and one second. It was one of the closest finishes ever for the race, with four boats flying past the line in a little more than 30 seconds. Second place went to Paul Meilhat (Macif 2011) just 12 seconds later, third to Fabien Delahaye (Port de Caen Ouistreham) 28 seconds after the winner and fourth to Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat) at within 35 seconds.

At 35 and on his 12th participation in La Solitaire du Figaro, Jérémie Beyou secures his second victory following that obtained in 2005. He joins the very exclusive club of winners to have won the event twice; Armel Le Cléac’h (2003-2010), Nicolas Troussel (2006-2008), Jean-Marie Vidal (1972-1987), Gilles Gahinet (1977-1980), Guy Cornou (1975-1976) and Gilles le Baud (1973-1978). Only Philippe Poupon (1982-1985-1995), Jean Le Cam (1994-1996-1999) and Michel Desjoyeaux (1992-1998-2007) managed to do better with three wins each…

Beyou’s domination over the four legs was rarely challenged: on the first stage between Perros-Guirec and Caen, he ruled the game together with Thomas Rouxel and Nicolas Lunven in the light airs up to twenty miles from the finish, only to be caught out in an bubble with no wind which saw hi loose the leadership. He then went on to set the pace and lead on the breezy second leg that was 470 miles long, mainly upwind from up Caen to Dùn Laoghaire, and put his trademark on the third to Les Sables d’Olonne, also setting the pace and leading in the medium and light airs.

Never giving up, Beyou built his lead and then final triumph on the fourth leg, carefully fencing off all of his adversaries’ attacks. And, even more impressive, Jérémie Beyou won all the four GMF Trophy prizes, that is to say the turning point of each leg!

By finishing in third on the final leg and second overall, Fabien Delahaye (Port de Caen-Ouistreham) becomes to be the rising star and future talent to watch out for in the Bénéteau Figaro class. The young sailor from Caen, who won the first leg on home waters, showed an impressive consistency finishing seventh, second and third in the following legs and only 35 minutes separates him in the overall ranking from the winner.

Erwan Tabarly (Nacarat), who finished fourth in Dieppe, had to wait until his closest rivals in the overall time accumulated rankings finished, to find out that he had the third place this season. Both Nicolas Lunven (Generali) and Thomas Rouxel (Bretagne Crédit Mutuel Performance) finished their Solitaire du Figaro 2011 participation with average performance, 24th and 22nd respectively to relinquish the third spot to a deserving Tabarly. Erwan Tabarly concludes with a mere five minutes lead on Lunven and Rouxel.

This 42nd edition of la Solitaire du Figaro was also marked by the presence in the top part of the scoreboard of a number of newcomers to the race: rookies such as Xavier Macarie (Starter Active Bridge) finished fourth in Caen, Morgan Lagravière (Vendée) 12th in Dun Laoghaire, ninth in Les Sables d’Olonne, seventh in Dieppe.

An impressive performance that rewarded the 24-years-old skipper from the Vendée region, not only with the overall victory in the rookie class, but also with a remarkable eighth place in the general ranking. Second place goes to Xavier Macaire (Sterter Active Bridge), eight minutes and 33 seconds behind while Jersey based Phil Sharp (The Spirit of Independence) managed to finish in third overall by only four seconds after more than 260 hours at sea!

La Solitaire du Figaro website