Thursday, May 15, 2014
Exmouth sailor Sam Matson Sam has claimed a starting berth in the world renowned race ‘2014 Solitaire du Figaro’, writes Stephen Birley.
Matson, a member of the Artemis Offshore Academy has proven himself more than capable on and off the sea and he and his fellow British rookies, Rich Mason and Alan Roberts, will make up a total of eight British helmsmen to take part in the race – the most the famous event has seen in its 45-year history.
Twenty-three year old Matson has certainly made a flying start to the new season and recently he took part in the 340-mile Solo Concarneau.
Holding no significant position on the starting line the youngster managed to sail his way up through the fleet during the first night moving from low 20’s to fifth position where he remained amongst some of the best solo sailors in the world, including Alain Gautier, a former Vendée Globe winner!
As would be expected of a rookie racing only his second solo offshore race, Matson conceded a couple of positions on the final leg into the finish through tiredness and confused conditions.
However, he finished an amazing 11th overall way above French and British sailors who have sailed multiple Solitaire du Figaros and won the runner up Rookie position! It was his performance in this event that rubber-stamped his place in the 2014 Solitaire du Figaro.
After a build-up week starting on May 29, and a Prologue race on May 31, the race will set sail from Deauville on the north coast of France on June 8.
The race, which sees the competitors race in identical 33ft boats, is considered to be the world championships for single-handed yachtsmen and women, one of the main training grounds for the famous Vendee Globe race.
The fleet will make its first stop in British waters, arriving in Sutton harbour, Plymouth on Wednesday, June 11.
From Plymouth the fleet will race to Roscoff, then make their way down the West coast of France to Les Sables d’Olonne in the Vendee region before finishing in Cherbourg.
Thousands of people are expected to line Plymouth’s waterfront when the Solitaire fleet leaves on Saturday, June 14.
The sailors will begin Leg TWO with a race inside the breakwater, an incredible spectacle with 45-boats racing between Jennycliff, Mount Edgecumbe and the Hoe.