Exmouth sailor Matson all set for start of leg three of La Solitaire du Figaro

PUBLISHED: 11:38 22 June 2014

Sam Matson does some routine repairs

Sam Matson does some routine repairs

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Exmouth sailor Sam Matson will be on the start line for leg three of La Solitaire du Figaro when it departs Roscoff on Sunday (June 22) at 2pm.

The 505nm leg will see the 38 solo sailors race from Roscoff around the French coast to Les Sables d’Olonne, the port where the Vendee Globe race starts and finishes every four years.

Hoping to hold on to his top rookie spot is Exmouth’s Sam Matson on board Artemis 21 and he thinks the trip out across the Bay of Biscay to the Odas buoy will be one of the most important parts of the race in terms of tactics.

Matson said: “You’re literally arriving in the middle of no-where and turning around and coming back, there’s a lot of ocean, a lot of open water to potentially make gains or losses depending on how your speed looks. We know the rough area of it, I think it’s got a drifting circle of around six miles or so. The race boat will go ahead, pinpoint it and I think they then radio back to us where it is and they’ll sit roughly in that area so we can see it on AIS. It probably is like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s literally just one buoy in the middle of the Bay of Biscay, quite interesting!”

Another of the skippers, Ed Hill said: “The course is a good course, this Leg will be very interesting. A coastal race for the first 24-36 hours and then going a long way offshore to a buoy called Odas, it’s a weather buoy in the middle of the Atlantic, past the Atlantic shelf. We’re in 4,500metres of water so the buoy can move 4-5nm from where it says it is because it’s probably on a 12,000metre chain! We round that and then head to a buoy off Bordeaux and then it’s 50nm up the coast when we’re absolutely broken, back into inshore mode to arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne which I’m sure will be a really good welcome, knowing Les Sables d’Olonne and how much they love their solo sailing.”

Hoping to hold on to his top rookie spot is Exmouth’s Sam Matson on board Artemis 21 and he thinks the trip out across the Bay of Biscay to the Odas buoy will be one of the most important parts of the race in terms of tactics.

Matson said: “You’re literally arriving in the middle of no-where and turning around and coming back, there’s a lot of ocean, a lot of open water to potentially make gains or losses depending on how your speed looks. We know the rough area of it, I think it’s got a drifting circle of around six miles or so. The race boat will go ahead, pinpoint it and I think they then radio back to us where it is and they’ll sit roughly in that area so we can see it on AIS. It probably is like finding a needle in a haystack, it’s literally just one buoy in the middle of the Bay of Biscay, quite interesting!”

Fabien Delahaye on Macif 2012, is the current overall leader, but with 995nm still to race in this edition of the Solitaire and 11 sailors within an hour of him, the 29-year-old from Caen is taking nothing for granted.

He says: “I don’t feel under pressure, I do not really look at the standings. 11 boats are still in the game, we could arrive in Les Sables d’Olonne in no wind. We are never away from anything on the Solitaire. The third Leg will be different. It will be open, there will be very different paces, offshore, coastal, it may be a great Leg. I feel good, I do an hour of physio every day, I repaired my hands”.

The wind in Roscoff has been gusting 40km/h NE’ly today. This is expected to drop to 10-14kn of NE’ly by the time the race starts on Sunday afternoon. The fleet is expected to arrive in Les Sables next Tuesday or Wednesday.

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