Italian rookie Pietro D'ali wins leg 2 and takes the lead of the Solitaire du Figaro while British Sam Davies finishes 23rd
Italian newcomer Pietro D’Ali, skipper of Nanni Diesel, crossed the finish line of Leg 2 of the Solitaire du Figaro in first place off La Rochelle on Sunday night, after 2 days, 12 hours, 21 minutes and 20 seconds at sea. In a match race to the finish, Fred Duthil (Brossard) crossed the line just 50 seconds later.
On their final approach to the finish line, the leading pack had a surprise visit by the name of Armel Le Cleac’h (Foncia-TBS) who climbed up the fleet and finished in third place, 10 minutes after Pietro D’Ali. Charles Caudrelier (Bostik) took fourth place ( 12mins) with Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) finishing in fifth ( 14mins).
After a superb start to Leg two, Skandia entered the Bay of Biscay in second place and Skandia skipper, Sam Davies kept in contact with the leading pack holding a top 10 place for the first 24 hours of the race. In a highly competitive fleet, the British sailor had a real fight on her hands but one wrong decision saw her tumble down the rankings to finish in 23rd place, 1 hour and 21 minutes behind winner Pietro D’Ali.
Davies commented: “I sailed really well at the start, and I even managed to overtake Erwan Tabarly on Thales and round the Radio France buoy in second. I didn’t want to take any risks and I was probably keeping an eye on the others too much and watching to see what the rest of the fleet were doing. I had planned to sail up the Bay of Biscay in two tacks, but the wind change I was expecting never happened. So I did what everyone else did – one tack – but it was too late. At one point I was leading the group I was sailing in. I didn’t get caught out with sleep – I slept but not too much. At the Birviedeux lighthouse, I rounded the race mark with Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel) Skandia was going really fast but unfortunately I didn’t sail her in the right direction – I decided to go left when all the gains were one the right. Kito de Pavant went right and finished 16th, I went left and finished 23rd. I just made the wrong decision!”
Davies was not alone mid-fleet and finished just four minutes behind one of the race favourite Yann Elies (Groupe Generali Assurances) who finished 22nd. Other race favourites Jeremie Beyou (Delta Dore) took 10th place ( 27mins) closely followed by Michel Desjoyeaux in 11th ( 31mins).
Pietro D’Ali, skipper of Nanni Diesel, is now the overall leader in the Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro 2005 rankings [the first time in the Solitaire’s history that a non-French skipper has led the event overall], 2 minutes and 26 seconds ahead of Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) in second. The leading two boats have created a gap of over 10 minutes between them and the rest of the fleet. Skandia is positioned 23rd overall, 2 hours 3 minutes and 37 seconds behind Nanni Diesel.
The next leg starts tomorrow – Wednesday 17 August. This will be the longest leg – 496 miles from La Rochelle, rounding the Fastnet Rock and finishing in Crosshaven (Cork) in Ireland.
LEG 2 POSITIONS – GEXTO-BILBAO TO LA ROCHELLE
1. D’ALI Pietro / NANNI DIESEL finish time 60h 21’20”
2. DUTHIL Frédéric / BROSSARD 0’50”
3. LE CLEAC’H Armel / FONCIA-TBS 11’16”
4. CAUDRELIER Charles / BOSTIK 12’26”
5. MORVAN Gildas / CERCLE VERT 14’3″
6. TABARLY Erwan / THALES 15’12”
7. CHABAGNY Thierry / LEBRE BERMUDES 23’19”
8. ROGNON Cyrille / ENO & NAVI LINE 23’42”
9. ATTANASIO Romain / MR.BOOKMAKER.COM 25’39”
10. BEYOU Jérémie / DELTA DORE 27’5″
23. DAVIES Sam / SKANDIA 1h21’18”
OVERALL POSITIONS AFTER TWO LEGS
1. D’ALI Pietro / NANNI DIESEL 108h22’21”
2. MORVAN Gildas / CERCLE VERT 2’36”
3. DUTHIL Frédéric / BROSSARD 13’53”
4. BEYOU Jérémie / DELTA DORE 17’25”
5. CHABAGNY Thierry / LEBRE BERMUDES 22’29”
6. LE CLEAC’H Armel / FONCIA-TBS 23’13”
7. CAUDRELIER Charles / BOSTIK 25’13”
8. DESJOYEAUX Michel / GEANT 27’53”
9. PELLECUER Laurent / CLIPTOL SPORT 28’13”
10. TABARLY Erwan / THALES 29’47”
23. DAVIES Sam / SKANDIA 2h3’27”