Exmouth sailor Matson is first Rookie over the Plymouth finish line in the 2014 Solitaire du Figaro

PUBLISHED: 00:33 12 June 2014 | UPDATED: 00:33 12 June 2014

Sam Matson on board his Artemis boat

Sam Matson on board his Artemis boat

Archant

Exmouth sailor Sam Matson finished the first leg of the 2014 Solitaire du Figaro 12th overall and first Rookie after three days, three hours and fifty two minutes and 39 seconds at sea and after 484 miles of racing aboard Artemis 21.

Sailing through the lock at Sutton Harbour, Plymouth, 23-year-old Sam’s smile was visible from the marina wall, as he sailed home to his University town of Plymouth to be welcomed by his family, friends and local Plymouth supporters. After showering the crowds with his first bottle of Pol Roger (and hopefully not the last) in celebration Sam announced:

“I am totally overwhelmed, I don’t know what to think right now! I wasn’t sure I’d done it or really where I was in the fleet until I crossed the finish line – I’m so happy. It was so exciting to be told I’d won the Rookie division, as it’s a class highly regarded within the race.”

“It was really tough out there, the conditions were totally up and down. We had shut downs and then too much breeze at times – rounding Wolf Rock yesterday evening when Yann Elies lost his rig was all pretty scary, you kind of just hope yours is going to stay upright when something like that happens.”

“I’m feeling pretty good right now, I’m sure I’ll start to feel it later, but right now I feel pretty good because I’ve just sprayed Pol Roger champagne all over my face!”

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to be sailing into Plymouth this afternoon. In fact for most of the leg of the race we were sailing along the south coast, which was where I learned to sail – so it was pretty special for me. I nearly had to tack off of Exmouth, (Ottery St Mary) where my parents live – but then I got a lift on the wind, and when I realised I was a little bit disappointed that I wasn’t going closer to home!”

“It was great to race along a coastline that I knew, and I think that really gave me confidence. Sailing into Plymouth Sound just now – I couldn’t keep the smile off of my face.”

Watch Sam’s entry into Sutton Harbour and his finishing interview online here. (From mobile)

Artemis Offshore Academy skipper Sam finished 12th overall and first of the seven boat Rookie division, behind French podium finishers; Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva) – the overall leg winner, Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) in second position and Jérémie Beyou (Maître Coq) in third.

Leg 1 of the 2014 mile Solitaire du Figaro saw the fleet race 484 miles from Deauville, France to Plymouth UK. The 38 strong Solitaire du Figaro fleet, which includes eight British sailors (the most the race has ever seen), will now rest and recuperate in Plymouth for two days ahead of the start of the 535 mile leg 2 – from Plymouth, UK to Roscoff – starting on Saturday 14th June.

You can track the British fleet on their next leg via the Artemis Offshore Academy and Solitaire du Figaro websites, as well as following us on Facebook and Twitter.

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