Antoine Koch, the youngest skipper in La Solitaire du Figaro race, has crossed the first leg finish line in first place
Antoine Koch, the youngest skipper in La Solitaire du Figaro race, crossed the first leg finish line in first place in the early hours of yesterday morning after taking over the lead the previous night. This is a huge morale boost for the young sailor who is already set compete in the Route du Rhum race on board an Open 60 (ex-FILA of Giovanni Soldini) later in the year.
After 290 miles of pure hard coastal regatta racing from Boulogne-sur-Mer to Crosshaven in Ireland, competitors experienced the worst of the weather in the last sprint for home, close-hauled for 150 miles. The first stretch of the route along the English contours failed to separate the fleet. Eric Drouglazet (David Olivier) led for a long time and although he finished 10th, he was only 34 minutes behind the front runner.
After 437 miles of intense racing, the figures are there and they clearly speak for themselves. The first three, Antoine Koch, Kito de Pavant and Jérémie Beyou came across the line all within 12 mins 05 secs of each other.
At the top of the rankings, there were no less than five skippers going for the star awards: Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) escaped in the Channel, Eric Drouglazet (David Olivier) was champion of all areas of the coastal category, Kito de Pavant (Malice) was very crafty and on the ball, Charles Caudrelier Benac (Bostik Findley) a firm candidate, and Antoine Koch (Saunier Duval) in particular, performed with sheer finesse and strength. At the height of his 24 years, Antoine carries all the strengths of the new wave of skippers.
The remaining legs of the race takes the fleet from Crosshaven to Les Sables d’Olonne, to Gijon (Spain) and Cherbourg.