The 2004 La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro got under way yesterday after a delayed start

The 2004 La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro got under way 30 minutes later than planned at 1230hrs local time yesterday from Caen. The delay was required in order for the wind to settle down in both strength and direction. The first mark of the course – The Radio France Buoy was rounded first by Gildas Morvan on Cercle Vert followed by Kito de Pavant (Navy Lest) and Fred Duthil (All Mer), Sam Davies rounded in 15th place in the 52-boat fleet. Overnight however, de Pavant has taken the lead with Ronan Guerin in second. Movan, who led the fleet from the start is now in 19th just behind Davies.

The boats must now sail a 156nm course (the middle distance chosen by the race committee out of a possible three variations) via Royal Sovereign Lighthouse off Eastbourne then west along the south coast of England via the Owers, Pullar and Dean Tail buoys to a finish line laid off the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour – at Horse Sand Fort.

The Figaro fleet is due to arrive at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth this evening. The second leg of the race will leave Portsmouth on Friday 30 July.

La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro

1st Stage

Tuesday 27 July – Caen to Portsmouth (160 miles)

2nd Stage

Wednesday 30 July – Portsmouth, UK to Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie (463 miles)

3rd Stage

Thursday 5th July – Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie to Gijon, Spain (434 miles)

4th Stage

Wednesday 11th August – Gijon to Quiberon (316 miles)