Published on 28/07/2020
British solo sailor Sam Goodchild turned quite a few heads in La Trinité-sur-Mer at the end of the Drheam Cup last week, taking victory ahead of the top-seeded Frenchmen Tom Laperche and Armel Le Cléach.
One month before La Solitaire du Figaro, the Drheam Cup proved a stiff test for the skippers who raced 400 miles from Cherbourg to La Trinité in the Figaro Beneteau 3. Goodchild’s victory is all the sweeter as it has been more than 20 years since a non-French competitor won a race on the Figaro circuit, when Irishman Damian Foxall won a leg of La Solitaire in 1998. In the discipline of solo sailing, which has been dominated by the French for years, Sam Goodchild (Leyton) has well and truly carved out a place for himself. He was an impressive 45 minutes ahead of Laperche (Bretagne CMB Espoir) and more than an hour ahead of Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire).
Goodchild explained: “It all happened between Shambles and Plymouth, I had good downwind speed and I jibed at the right time: when I crossed with the others after my jibe , I was 2 miles ahead of Pierre Quiroga and Tom Laperche, I then managed to keep my advantage until the end.
“I think the Class40 (the boat on which he raced in 2018 and 2019) is quite similar to the Figaro 3, the proof, Yoann Richomme won the Solitaire last year after having a year in Class40. Having sailed on big projects with big champions, especially with Team Sodebo, it also helps. You learn a lot from these experiences which can only help you when you find yourself on your small boat,” he said.
Goodchild’s career best on the Solitaire is 11th in 2013, and since then he has forged himself a diverse career, increasingly among the early picks for big multihull projects, IMOCA and Class 40 races. He finished the last Transat Jacques Vabre in second placed racing with Fabien Delahaye in the Class40 division, and his return to the Figaro class has been impressive. His victory at the Drheam Cup comes just one month after he took second place in the Solo Matre Coq, and now all eyes will be on him to see if he can continue this form in the Solo Guy Cotton at the start of August, and later this summer, in La Solitaire du Figaro.
“The Solo Guy Cotton will be important before La Solitaire. I need to find a balance between trust and the pressure of the result for the Figaro where there will be other strong competitors like Yann Elies, Anthony Marchand or Corentin Douguet,” Goodchild concluded.
Could this be the year a Brit challenges for victory in La Solitaire? Some might dare to dream…
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