Delta Dore leads the overall rankings, followed by Michel DESJOYEAUX and Kito DE PAVANT (Groupe Bel), who move into second and third place respectively.
Jérémie BEYOU, from the Loctudy region in France, sailed his Delta Dore to a win in the Figaro for the first time after nine attempts - both in the leg and the overall first place of the 36th edition of La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro race for 2005. The raw emotion was evident for the 29 year old, who announced upon arrival that 'I have never put so much of myself into something like I have done over the past two days'. The strain and exhaustion of the past weeks and particularly last days are clearly etched on his face, wet with tears of joy. 'This moment is magical; you can't imagine you will get there. It was so tough this morning; there was no wind and we had to fight for every inch gained to the finish' adds the 2005 Solitaire champion. The tough conditions from the outset of the fourth leg from Ireland to the Vendée have put the 43 skippers under considerable pressure: strong currents, rough and crossed seas, 30 knots of wind gusting to 45, cold and wet with busy cargo traffic are but a few of the issues they have had to contend with. That includes a collision at sea with a cargo ship for Marc LEPESQUEX and the forced retirement of his Maisons Pierre.
Overnight an approaching cold weather front provided the leading Figaro sailors with a chance of clocking near on 10 knots of average speed. Jeremie opted for a more easterly option to get a better wind angle to fly his kite, and the gamble paid off. The trailing boats missed the shift and spread out over 70 miles behind the first to finish. Michel DESJOYEAUX on Géant and Oliver Krauss on Espoir Crédit Agricole battled it out for second and third place respectively to the finish line just outside Port Bourgenay. Michel crossed the line 54 minutes and 27 seconds after the leader, followed by Oliver Kraus 14 minutes and 54 seconds later.
The sun finally came out after the storm to welcome the winning boats to the little port town of Talmont Saint Hilaire. 1,462 miles have been covered (428 on the last leg) over a ruthless race between France, Spain and Ireland, since the start of the race on the 7 August. A race calculated on accumulative time; the person who covers the distance between each port in the fastest total times wins. Pending any jury decisions, the first three to lead the overall rankings are: Jérémie BEYOU (Delta Dore), Michel DESJOYEAUX (Geant) and Kito DE PAVANT (Group Bel).
Jeanne GRÉGOIRE on Banque Populaire, one of three women to be competing, finishes in 8th place and 2 hours 1 minute and 49 seconds behind the winner. Italian skipper Pietro D'ALÍ (Nanni Diesel) in 16 place, is the first rookie to arrive in Port Bourgenay and moves to eighth position in the overall ranking (subject to jury).
Hublot Record - 4th leg
Jérémie BEYOU on Delta Dore wins the coveted Hublot prize for the most distance covered over a 24 hour period on the fourth leg of La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro race. Jérémie covers 226 nautical miles at an average speed of 9.42 knots.