British sailor Sam Davies aboard Skandia crossed the finish line of Leg three of the Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro in 10th place at 0903BST this morning

British sailor Sam Davies aboard Skandia crossed the finish line of Leg three of the Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro in 10th place at 0903BST this morning, scoring her best result of the event so far. After 456 miles, four days and four nights of racing Davies finished 49 minutes and 2 seconds behind winner Laurent Pellecuer, skipper of Cliptol Sport and only seconds from two other rivals for the 10th place spot:

“I’m pretty tired but it was a good race. It went how I wanted it to go this time. I had a bad start but I caught up really quickly. All my tactics worked really well and the boat was going really fast, and so it was easy – it was fun! Approaching the finish, Benoit [Petit] was in front of me as we were coming up to the line. The finish was under a little cliff just before Crosshaven, and he just sailed in to no wind and I drifted around him and finished in front. Normally it’s me that happens to! I’ve had my fair share of bad luck but this time it was my turn to get lucky! I apologised to him when I saw him after the finish because I know from previous races I’ve done how frustrating that is!”

Leg 3 from La Rochelle to Cork on the south coast of Ireland was pre-dominantly upwind race, with wet and windy conditions and full on sailing, until last night when the wind shifted allowing the fleet to finish with a downwind run on a direct route to Cork: “Skandia was really fast – she likes going upwind and she likes it when it’s windy as well. Last night was probably the hardest night though cause it was spinnakers all the time and I was really close to Romain (Attanasio) in fact who was just behind me. So it was probably the hardest night in terms of no sleep and being the last night makes it harder. The other nights I played my sleeping quite well, I managed to eat and sleep properly even when it was really rough. It wasn’t really windy, it was 25 gusting 30 maybe, but the waves were massive so it was quite difficult to live onboard but it was all ok in the end.”

Davies sailed managed to not drop below 11th position for the entirety of the 356 mile leg: “I’m happy with how I raced. I was just trying to see if I could stay up with the people who were there cause they’re really good. They were going the way I wanted to go myself, so I just said ok, I’m just going to see if I can keep up with them for as long as possible. I was really pleased because I managed to stay with them. It wasn’t like I started at the back and got lucky and ended up with a good result or vica versa – I actually stayed in the front pack for the whole race. I think it’s the first time I’ve done that so I’m really pleased.”

After sailing a good and consistent race, Davies’s confidence is not the only thing which has been boosted – Skandia has gained five places in the overall rankings. Her top ten position on this penultimate leg has elevated Davies from 23rd overall to 17th. With one leg to go Davies is lying 2 hours, 14 minutes and 26 seconds behind the new overall leader Laurent Pellecuer (Cliptol Sport).

With some of the race favourities having disappointing results on this leg, the overall pack has gone through a reshuffle. Gildas Morvan winner of Leg 1 and lying second overall after Leg 2, finished 16th in Leg 3 which now puts him in 11th overall. Armel Le Cleac’h (Foncia-TBS) who was sixth overall, finished Leg 3 in 30th position and is now 24th overall.

The fleet now have two days to rest and get ready for the longest leg of the Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro 2005, which leaves Cork on Tuesday 23rd August and will take the fleet 496 miles, back across the Celtic Sea via the Fastnet Rock and across the Bay of Biscay to the finish port of Port Bourgenay, France.

Results (leg 3)

1. PELLECUER Laurent / CLIPTOL SPORT finish time 87h57’47”


3. DE PAVANT Kito / GROUPE BEL 21’45”

4. TABARLY Erwan / THALES 26’19”

5. BEYOU Jérémie / DELTA DORE 26’20”

6. DUTHIL Frédéric / BROSSARD 32’11”

7. CAUDRELIER Charles / BOSTIK 34’34”

8. DESJOYEAUX Michel / GEANT 39’49”

9. D’ALI Pietro / NANNI DIESEL 42’52”

10. DAVIES Sam / SKANDIA 49’2″

Overall Results (after three legs)

1. PELLECUER Laurent / CLIPTOL SPORT 196h53’21”

2. D’ALI Pietro / NANNI DIESEL 9’39”

3. BEYOU Jérémie / DELTA DORE 10’32”

4. DUTHIL Frédéric / BROSSARD 12’51”

5. TABARLY Erwan / THALES 22’53”

6. DE PAVANT Kito / GROUPE BEL 24’46”

7. CAUDRELIER Charles / BOSTIK 26’34”

8. DESJOYEAUX Michel / GEANT 34’29”



17. DAVIES Sam / SKANDIA 2h14’26”