Northern Irish sailor Andrew Baker starts his second race of the season.
The Solo Maître Coq starts Monday 20th April in Les Sables d’Olonne for the Artemis Offshore Academy sailors. Now in its fifth year, the race is back and is even bigger and better, offering a week of fierce Figaro competition in the iconic home of the Vendée Globe. Taking place between 20th and 26th April, the event starts with a series of short coastal races (20th/21st April), before culminating in a more traditional 350-mile offshore race around Ile de Ré, Ile d’Yeu and Belle Île starting on Thursday 23rd April.
Scored on a co-efficient point system weighted towards the offshore race, the winner of the Solo Maître Coq will be the skipper with the least points accumulated over the week, all races to count. An impressive line up of 42 skippers have signed up to take part in this unique Figaro racing regatta, including 12 Rookies, four 2016 Vendée Globe competitors, one Vendée Globe winner (1992/93), two past winners of the Solo Maître Coq, two multiple Solitaire du Figaro winners, three female skippers, eight Academy Brits, the Classe Figaro Bénéteau’s first Turkish skipper and a boat load of Figaro talent to boot. Boasting a competitive fleet worthy of the Solitaire du Figaro start line, the Academy Brits are all set to go head to head in a game of Figaro ‘chicken’ with the best in the Solo Maître Coq.
“This venue is definitely well-known in sailing, there’s banners everywhere for this race and lots of local support – it makes you realise just what a big deal this is, it makes it all worth-while. It’s just going to be an amazing experience for me.” Andrew continues, “I would love to be the first rookie back in this race, and if I can get close to the top half of the fleet overall, I’ll be really happy!”
Andrew and his fellow British Rookies Robin Elsey and Rob Bunce had their first taste of competitive solo Figaro racing back in March. Thrown in at the deep end with a last minute change in the 200-mile course through a chicane of rocks, big waves and high winds, the Solo Basse Normandie was something of a baptism of fire for the British Figaro newbies. Now armed with a barrage of new lessons learned only through experience out in the field, the British ‘Bizuth’ trio is primed and ready for the new challenges and challengers bought about by the Solo Maître Coq – their second race this season. Part of a 12-boat Rookie division, Andrew, Rob and Robin are about to have the strength of their metal truly measured amongst the full fleet of this year’s new comers.
The Solo Maître Coq starts Monday 20th April with coastal racing, which continues on Tuesday 21st April (courses and start times to be confirmed). The Solo Maître Coq offshore race starts Thursday 23rd April (start time and final course to be confirmed). The race is set to conclude Saturday 25th April, with an overall prize giving on Sunday 26th April.