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Shorter course set for showdown Stage 3 of La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec.

After what, for many of the 32 solo skippers, proved to a be a painfully frustrating, slow finish into Roscoff on the Bay of Morlaix Thursday night into Friday Stage 3 of the 54th La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec has already been shortened due to the forecast for continued very light winds. Instead of a course of over 600 miles across the Bay of Biscay to a final finish line off Piriac-sur-Mer, the course has been adapted to be around 470 nautical miles.

Some unlucky racers took 12 to 16 hours to make the final handful of miles to the Roscoff finish line, a situation which now sees big time differences through sections of the fleet and means many of the pre-race favourites consider that their hopes of overall victory are all but dashed.

“I have adapted the course to try and ensure we have a finish early afternoon Thursday into Piriac-sur-Mer whilst staying in something close to acceptable weather conditions.” Affirmed Race Director Yann Chateau this morning in Roscoff.

The course will now take the fleet round the NW tip of Brittany towards a Solitaire du Figaro Paprec buoy, specially moored between the Arcachon basin and the entrance to the Gironde just north of Bordeaux. This turn will form the passing line for the third Intermediate Sprint of this 2023 edition (offering a time bonus for the first three skippers to pass). From there they should sail direct to the finish line.

“Last year this stage was very windy this year it is the opposite and so we always have to adapt to what we have.” Says Chateau who confirms he expects periods of calm and several transitions on thi decisive leg. The section round the Brittany coast offers the chance to go through either the Chenal du Four or Fromveur or even sheltering from the current in the little mouse holes in the rocky Molène islets might come into play before the leg opens to the turning mark

Sunday’s start at 1400hrs local time off Roscoff should see 7-8kts of WNW wind for a short round the buoys circuit in the Bay of Morlaix before heading west down the Channel.

At the top of the General Classification Basil Bourgnon, the 22 year old skipper of EDENRED heads into the final stage with a lead of 8 minutes and 55 seconds over Corentin Horeau (Banque Populaire) who has a fighting chance now to improve on his best ever La Solitaire du Figaro result of second in 2014.

In turn Horeau is 23 minutes and 47 seconds up on Lois Berrehar (Skipper MACIF 2022). But, with a gap of over two hours to fourth placed Alexis Thomas (Charente Maritime) on any other edition of La Solitaire du Figaro that cushion might suggest each of the top three have a podium position all but secured. But after that finish into Roscoff this is very much an atypical edition and anything can still happen.

Basile Bourgnon (Edenred), 1st in the provisional general classification: “It is more I than hoped to be at the top of the general classification before the last stage. It wasn't really my main goal this year, that was to win a Solitaire stage. Having won the second stage fulfils my main dream. Now, I will have to have higher ambitions and fight hard, but without pressure. That mean without wind pressure, and without mental pressure.! I will approach this stage like the other courses, in my own way, without trying to control too much because I am not sure I know how to do it and that would put pressure that I do not need to have. »

Corentin Horeau (Banque Populaire), 2nd in the provisional general classification: “I’m second on the general classification, it’s great! This is where I wanted to be. I would have taken this any time if you offered me it before the race started two weeks ago. Obviously this adds a little pressure. The stress rises a little bit but that's what we're here for, it's good stress. There is one leg left. I just want to enjoy because it will go quickly in the end. I already have the feeling that we were only in Caen yesterday and already here we are on the eve of the last stage.”

David Paul GBR ( A Drop), 27th in the provisional general classification: “I think this stage is going to be a typical Figaro leg: difficult. It will be very much like the end of the second stage, except that it will be like that almost the whole time. Mental strength will be important. I think there will be a lot of opportunities, but everything can change until the finish line. I think I can handle the tough mental moments now well. I have put in place a process that I repeat in these cases. I revert to asking if I'm going in the right direction, what I need to do to keep the boat moving quickly, and am I taking car care of myself…. Otherwise, my ankle is better (David Paul was injured on the 2nd stage when he hit a UFO). I had an x-ray this morning. It's not broken. The doctor bandaged it up and I am good to go."