Exmouth sailor Sam Matson and British Solitaire du Figaro competitors hit Plymouth

10:34 08 April 2014

Sam Matson on board and setting his course

Sam Matson on board and setting his course

Tom Gruitt

As the sun in set in Plymouth last Wednesday, six British, one Irish and five French solo offshore sailors and their fleet of 12 identical Figaro Bénéteau IIs sailed into Sutton Harbour, Plymouth, as part of a 400-mile Solitaire du Figaro training exercise.

Sailing from Lorient, France to Plymouth via Cherbourg, British skippers Alan Roberts, Rich Mason, Jack Bouttell, Ed Hill, Phil Sharp and Exmouth-based, Plymouth University graduate Sam Matson, spent two days familiarizing themselves with the stretch of water separating the UK and northern France in preparation for the 2014 mile solo ‘Solitaire du Figaro’, which, for the first time in it’s 45 year history, stops in Plymouth.

Plymouth’s inclusion in the course marks the first UK Solitaire stop over in 11 years.

Making the most of their time in Britain’s Ocean City, Britain’s next generation of solo ocean racers and their French counterparts braved the English rain and headed out into the Sound for a solo training session.

Getting to grips with the tides, conditions and features of the south-west coastline, the fleet of 12 Figaros were an impressive sight as they lined up against Plymouth’s coastal land marks. The most Figaros Plymouth will have seen since the finish of the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race, the training group treated the sail to and from Plymouth as a valuable familiarization session, preparing both first timers like Artemis Offshore Academy Rookies Sam, Alan and Rich and French Figaro veterans alike for what lies ahead out on the 2014 Solitaire du Figaro course this June.

Kicking off from the historic French port of Deauville, France on June 8, the iconic French race will take 45 skippers and their 33ft keelboats (differing only in cosmetic design and the ability of the skipper) 484 nautical miles to Sutton Harbour, Plymouth. Here the fleet will rest, recover and make any repairs to the boats between the June 11 and 14, in preparation for the 535 mile leg two Roscoff, France.

In 2014, there are a total of nine British sailors expected on the Solitaire du Figaro start line, all born and bred of the Artemis Offshore Academy – the UK’s only solo offshore training school.

From ‘Team Plymouth’s’ Sam Goodchild going into his fourth year on the Figaro circuit, to Plymouth University graduate and Artemis sailor Sam Matson making his debut - 2014 is set to be a big year for Britain and it’s growing number of budding solo offshore sailors.


Other Sport Stories

Yesterday, 11:29

Tipton St John race ace Harry Tincknell has won the European Le Mans Series Driver’s title after suffering heartache in the same sportscar championship for the previous two years.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:13

Newton Poppleford Reserves were far too strong for hosts Bradninch, beating the Mid Devon side 9-0 in a Macron League Division Eight match.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:17

Sidmouth ladies played for the last County Prize of the series.

Read more
Wed, 17:43

Sidmouth’s Under-15 indoor team have made a flying start to a new competition being held at the Devon Cricket Centre.

Read more
Wed, 11:46

Sidmouth Cricket Club are looking for anyone interested in becoming an umpire or scorer for the club we have many midweek games that need filling for both umpiring and scoring and the occasional Saturday/Sunday fixture, writes Anthony Griffiths.

Read more
Wed, 11:01

Beer Albion were no match for Topsham Town on Saturday as they went down 3-1 to the current champions at the Furzebrake on Saturday, writes Richard Honnor.

Read more
Wed, 11:01

East Budleigh Chess Club has entered three team competitions for the coming season, writes, Brian Gosling.

Read more
Tue, 18:30

Budleigh Salterton Games Club is holding an open day on Saturday, November 5.

Read more
Mon, 13:09

Lyme Regis Gig Club held their AGM at which they looked back on a hugely successful year, in which new records were set in what was their best season to date, writes Tony Ford.

Read more
Friday, October 21, 2016

The Cabbage Patch 10 is a highly professional race, writes Terry Bewes.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 13°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read Sport

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications