The fourth and final Solitaire du Figaro leg begins with everything to play for

The start of the fourth and final leg of this year’s Solitaire du Figaro got off to a promising start with wind settling to moderate16 – 17 knots by the scheduled 1200 (local time) start. After a general recall at the first attempt, the 52 boat fleet got away cleanly, and are now flying down the Irish coast on their way to the next mark of the course – the Fastnet Rock.

With 511 miles of racing in front of them before the finish line in Dieppe, such negligible time differences leave the field very much open for the eventual victor. For Yann Elies (Generali), second place overall, only 5 minutes and 59 seconds behind current leader Nicholas Lunven (CGPI), this is not the time to ease off: “I’m in the state of mind of a predator, hungry for prey – ultra-motivated. It’s just a case of giving it everything until the finish, keeping a bit of lucidity for the end even if physically you’re all in. That’s just the way it goes on the last leg of La Solitaire.”

Michel Desjoyeaux (Foncia), in 8th place and nearly half an hour adrift gave even more dramatic comments: “This is going to be a leg for the butchers! There will be blood with so many skippers so close. Those of us a bit behind have everything to play for. The leaders have everything to lose.”

The first eight boats are all within a mile of each other, with Britain’s Nigel King in 11th position after a very strong start. The leading boats are now under spinnaker as they stream down towards the Fastnet Rock, nearly all the fleet making in excess of 7.5 knots of boat speed.

Positions on Monday 17 August 08:30:

1. Frederic Duthil – Bbox Bouygues Telecom
2. Michel Desjoyeaux – Foncia
3. Francois Gabart – Espoir Region Bretagne
4. Gildas Mahe – Banque Populaire
5. Aymeric Belloir – Cap 56
6. Charles Caudrelier Benac – Bostik
7. Thomas Rouxel – Defi Mousquetaire
8. Armel Le Cleac’h – Brit Air
9. Thierry Chabagny – Suzuki Automobiles
10. Yann Elies – Generali

For a full list of positions, and to follow the fleet, visit .