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On the night of September 15, the curtain fell in Piriac-sur-Mer on La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec in three stages. Three pieces of bravery for a cumulative 1,670 miles (3,092 km) which reward the race of Corentin Horeau, the most consistent skipper. This surprising 2023 vintage is also distinguished by the dramaturgy of its second act. Fatal for many candidates for places of honor, the Kinsale-Baie de Morlaix stage will remain inscribed in the annals of the race.

Here's what happened on the water, not on the green carpet. Despite the exclusion of Benoît Tuduri and the disqualification of Pierre Daniellot by the jury, sanctioning the behavior of these two rookies at the final finish, this 54th edition nonetheless remains that of the revelation of a new generation of loners.

May the races - on a regular basis - of Hugo Dhallenne, Julie Simon, or even Victor Le Pape, resolutely in the game from their first participation, be saluted in their due measure. Just like those of Tom Dolan, Basile Bourgnon and Jules Delpech, the three magnificent stage winners of this Solitaire of all the twists and turns.



1:02 p.m. Sunday September 27, the three shots of the 54th Solitaire du Figaro Paprec are given off Caen-Ouistreham. Gaston Morvan demonstrates from the outset that he has mastered the art of getting off to a great start. He has the privilege of being at the head of the fleet at the very first mark of this Solitaire 2023. The race is on. In front of the bows: a course which begins with a good pair of Channels, a round trip in the “English Channel”, via the Isle of Wight.

During this first section, several sailors stand out: Guillaume Pirouelle, first in the first Intermediate Sprint at the Needles Fairway mark, followed by Alexis Loison and Corentin Horeau. No doubt, the big favorites are there. But it was during the descent towards Héaux de Bréhat that a certain Benoît Tuduri began to make a name for himself on the map and the stretch of water. It stands out with an option to the east approaching the tip of Cotentin. It won't cost money, but it sets the tone: beware of this young rookie who isn't afraid to shoot in corners. We will later learn the real reasons for this way of sailing, which wrongly aroused much admiration.

At this stage of the race, however, we still have to turn up the Channel upwind towards Land's End. Time for a new battle of tacks, which smiles on Corentin Horeau. The skipper of Banque Populaire is in the lead as it approaches the Scilly in the Celtic Sea. It is at the detours of the numerous DST (traffic separation devices) surrounding the archipelago that this first stage will fall into the night. Irishman Tom Dolan chose to cross it in the middle, shifting to a course north in light winds towards the Fastnet. On this option, two rookies are also progressing: Benoît Tuduri who finishes first on the finish line and Julie Simon, as well as the Swiss Nils Palmieri. After passing the Fastnet rock, during the night and with strong winds, the head of the fleet reached Kinsale in the early morning. We know the rest: Tom Dolan, author of the superb race, is reclassified in the lead at home, in front of a pack of very grouped solo riders.


At the start of this “der des ders”, the anticyclonic regime threatens to make the progress of the fleet difficult. Once again, the race director, Yann Chateau, must solve a difficult equation: reduce this 3rd course with the Bay of Biscay as a strong marker. Its new route takes the fleet along the tip of Brittany across the English Channel and the Iroise Sea, before a shortened descent to the Intermediate Sprint mark, a waypoint positioned a few miles off Lacanau, in Gironde .

At the top, all the conditions are met to give rise to a rhythmic start to the race at the start of a stage, which everyone approaches with legitimate intentions: final victory or a place on the podium for the three leaders; the satisfaction of finishing on a good stage for everyone else. Corentin Horeau, first on the line and in the lead at the Paprec buoy, sets the tone. The Trinidad skipper, in ambush less than 9 minutes behind the provisional general leader, is aiming for the grail. On the water, all the conditions are met - well-established contrary flow, flat sea - to give rise to a battle of tacking close to the coast, in accordance with the rules of the art. In the dark night, the fleet, led by Guillaume Pirouelle, reached the Iroise Sea which it crossed between Fromeur and the Molène archipelago. A shot to you, a shot to me, Gaston Morvan, then Élodie Bonafous also take the lead.

From crossing the Chaussée de Sein and its stones in the mist for some, through a detour to the Bay of Audierne on the road to Penmarc'h for some, this third stage never ends. offering its share of beautiful images at the detours of emblematic brands and lighthouses. At nightfall, the time to open the sails and shock the sheets has finally come. Make way for the descent of the Bay of Biscay for a final twist. The bulk of the troops are progressing under spinnaker in mild conditions. The gaps are tiny at the front on a western route. But two loners will try to save themselves on a trajectory that takes them across the body of water, heading all the way to the east, as close as possible to the island of Yeu. These two reckless riders, Benoît Tuduri and Jules Delpech, took control at the dawn of the grand finale to head back towards Piriac.

In the tight ranks of the fleet, the race increases in intensity, especially as the wind, which is very unstable in strength and direction, confuses the cards, particularly on the side of the menage a trois formed by the contenders for the supreme title, who are bickering still within a handful of miles approaching the Loire coast. The verdict falls in the dark of night. The first on the line at Piriac-sur-Mer, who signs a trajectory too perfect to be honest, ends up betraying himself. His obvious exclusion shakes up all the rankings. Starting with that of this 3rd and final stage, the victory of which rightfully belongs to Jules Delpech, who had the talent to trust only his good intuition to catch the winds of success in his sails. He is the big winner of this course across the Bay of Biscay. In cumulative time, it was ultimately Corentin Horeau who won ahead of his two toughest opponents. His unfailing combativeness ends up paying off and allows him to register, at the end of his 7th participation, his name on the list of winners of this major solo race which crowns the greatest talents of the ocean.



Throughout its 570-mile journey which first consists of a copious coastal stretch in the Irish and Celtic Seas, this second stage gives rise to impressive turnarounds. Enough to delight map addicts who, on several occasions, will see the fleet make large gaps. In the rankings which follow one another and are not alike, the competitors successively experience glory and despair. And vice versa.

First, at the South Arklow mark in the churning waters of the St Georges Canal. Honor to the rookie Hugo Dhallenne, the leader of a small group who relied on the current rather than the wind to follow the coasts of gentle Ireland when out of air. Good luck to him, since he takes the lead in this Intermediate Sprint; and leads the way in the ascent of the Irish Sea.

The Dhallenne-Loison-Hubert trio rolled up the Chicken Rock mark first, in the middle of the following night. At 54° North, in the southwest of the Isle of Man, the passage of this lighthouse offers, in the early morning, sublime images, the beauty of which also reveals the terrible gaps that have widened since the start. Basile Bourgnon, who rolled it up at dawn, was already more than 3 hours behind the first who greeted it in the dark night.

But this is without taking into account the general tightening which is looming on the horizon of the English coasts in winds which will ease ahead. Enough to give heart to the work to the loners at the rear, who don't give up. At the gates of the Celtic Sea, a new major shift will take place as the long DST passes off the coast of Wales, giving rise to a separation of the fleet between the first - Alexis Loison in the lead - who come up against the current . They will make the grand tour from the outside, while those at the rear, led by Gaston Morvan, will follow it from the inside as close as possible to the British coast. At Pointe Saint-David, repeat: the latecomers from the day before are the new leaders of the day. And that's without taking into account the storms raging during the night as they pass Land's End which will once again sow discord in the top lines of the ranking. Once again, it pays off for those who favor the coast.

100 miles further, after the descent of the Channel, it is at the gates of the Bay of Morlaix that the outcome of this cruel stage plays out. Basile Bourgnon and Corentin Horeau are progressing in the lead at a pace of two, stuck together under spinnaker in increasingly evanescent light airs. And it is in slow motion match racing mode, stoking the suspense until the end, that they close this crazy stage. The youngest wins by three minutes at around 6 p.m.

Behind these duettists, Loïs Berrehar manages to sneak onto the line, before Éole definitively cuts off the fans, leaving their pursuers totally helpless as they approach the finish. One night later, the fleet wakes up stunned. Strong favorites, like Alexis Loison and Guillaume Pirouelle, face gaps equivalent to two or three tides. Unheard of, or almost, at the end of this historic stage.

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