Sam Davies the sole British competitor a the Solitaire Figaro has finished a creditable sixth on the first leg to Portsmouth

At 20:15:56 (BST) yesterday evening Skandia, the turquoise boat of Sam Davies crossed the finish line of the first leg of the Solitaire Figaro. Davies, the sole British competitor, finished just 3 minutes 14 seconds behind the winner of this first leg, Yann Eliesm who’s sailing Groupe Generali Assurances. The 156 mile leg from Caen to Portsmouth which started on Tuesday took Davies a total of 32 hours, 46 minutes and 46 seconds.

Sam’s ranking of 6th in the fleet of 52 is a personal best for Sam in her Solitaire Figaro career to date (previously her best result was 7th in the 4th leg of last year’s event). Commenting from the boat she said: “The first night was the most difficult. I was tired and the wind was changing all the time, I had to work hard to maintain my position in the fleet. I was close behind Jeremy Beyou so my focus and attention was set on getting past him. But it was worth the effort – at one stage I closed my eyes to try and get some rest and when I looked up again Jeremy was right at my bow, I never let him pull away from me again.”

Beyou, finished the leg in third position, just minutes in front of Davies. Chatting about the race, how’s she’s feeling, and her tactics she said: “I am mentally pretty tired but the light winds mean I am physically in good shape. We never had more than 11 knots of wind throughout the leg. I have been working on the boat throughout so I have slept a minimal amount and have eaten almost nothing. I did keep drinking though, water, coke, yoghurt drinks – there was a lot of talk on the radio between the skippers about guys getting sore heads from the dehydration but, I think I had enough fluids, I physically feel fine.

“The best moment was this morning, when I made a good tactical decision and progressed into the leader pack. That, and then managing to stay with them until the finish line!

“I am really pleased with my position, I would love to head out and celebrate but this is just the first of a four stage event so, as soon as the boat is safe I am heading to get some sleep and then work on the weather and strategy for Friday start of leg two.”

The Figaro fleet is moored at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth. The second leg of the race, 463 miles from Portsmouth à Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie, starts tomorrow (Friday 30 July) at 1030BST with boats leaving Gunwharf between 0830-0900hrs BST.

Positions (leg 1)

1 ELIES Yann Groupe Generali Assurances 21:13:32

2 KOCH Antoine Nobody 1’00”

3 BEYOU Jérémie Delta Dore 1’10”

4 PETIT Benoit Défi Santé Voile 1’54”

5 CHABAGNY ThierryLe Caennais B’M 2’18”

6 DAVIES Samantha Skandia 3’14”

7 LE CLEAC’H ArmelFoncia – TBS 3’26”

8 TABARLY Erwan Thalès 4’03”

9 NELIAS Jean-Luc Chauss-Europ 7’17”

10 ATTANASIO RomainPort Trebeurden 8’48”