Published on 06/09/2020
In at the deep end. Stage 2. Time in the boat, any boat, is always essential for any high level programme. Ireland’s Kenneth Rumball made the decision in January to do La Solitaire du Figaro for his first time ever. His rather compressed, limited programme was curtailed in terms on the water by the lockdown. His first ever stage proved a bit of a baptism of fire and he finished a bit behind the fleet but having learned plenty which he will be able to take into Stage 2, the 404 miles leg from the Baie de Saint Brieu to Dunkirk
Kenny Rumball (IRL) KL Sailing: “I have a bit of a speed deficiency, I got stuck in a hole in the English Channel and so I will be trying to avoid the holes and keep working on my speed. I will try to stick a bit more to the weather routing and to maybe keep the head out of the boat a bit more.
The result on Stage 1 was very disappointing but in saying that I have had no coaching in the boat, and very little training. I knew it would be a bit like this being thrown in at the deep end.
The leg looks a bit more like we will have wind all the way there. The main part of the Channel I have raced in a fair bit but the narrow part into Dunkirk where you are squeezed by the TSS that looks really interesting.
Upwind in the light is where I seem to have the biggest deficiency. I just need to keep playing with the sails, the twist and the trim I am enjoying it….to a point!
But probably the most compressed programme is that of Jack Bouttell (Gillot Fromagerie). At the start it was less than four weeks since the GBR/AUS Volvo Ocean Race winning crewmember decided to return to La Solitaire after a four years break since his three consecutive participations. Bouttell made a modest start to Stage 1, but showed promise in the middle of the course in midfleet, to finish 25th at 50 minutes behind Xavier Macaire, the race leader.
Jackson Bouttell (GBR/AUS): “I have had a good rest and am well recharged. This stage looks like one that if it is not exactly decided on the first night it will be not far. Once we are east of Start Point and the English coast it is downwind, straight line. It will be about tonight will be all about managing the shifts, the transitions, the light wind zones around Eddystone. I have a clear picture of the weather but really it is going to be about seeing what the actual reality is and then managing the fleet. I have only had the boat three weeks and probably only sailed it ten times so it is all so very new. I really struggle in the upwind, light wind conditions because the boat is really hard to get a grip on how to sail the boat well in these conditions. The first leg was a bit frustrating after the first night but where I am at something like 45 mins behind this is effectively a restart in my head.”
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