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24 March 2005, 04:59 pm
DAVIES Prepares
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Trophée BPE
Port La Forêt, France

In less than ten days time, on 3 April 1300 hours (BST) Sam DAVIES (GBR) will be on the start line of the Trophée BPE ready for her first solo transatlantic race onboard SKANDIA Figaro.
Last week, Sam completed her last training race with her preparateur Erwan LEMEILLEUR, and has been making last minute repairs and final preparations. At the end of this week, they will be leaving their base at Port La Forêt, for the delivery trip to St.Nazaire, 60 miles to the south.

Of the twelve competitors, Sam is the only British sailor taking part, and will be up against former Figaro winner Eric DROUGLAZET (FRA) as well as Charles CAUDRELIER (FRA), winner of La Solitaire du Figaro last year. Sam's teammate in last year's 2-up Transat AG2R, Jeanne GREGOIRE (FRA) will be one of her biggest rivals this time around.

Despite the competition Sam is raring to go: 'It seems strange that our training is nearly over - time passes so quickly. I feel like I could do a year of this training and still have loads left to learn. At the same time, I have learnt a lot in the last two months. I am impatient to start the BPE. It feels like ages that I have not raced properly! And having watched my teammates race around the world this winter I have extremely itchy feet! It is good that the first race is a Transat because I need to do a long one!!'

The course is an interesting one, with the great circle route taking the boats very far north - potentially an upwind race, before the descent towards Cuba. It promises to be a very tactical race, without the prospect of the downwind surfing conditions usually experienced in transatlantic races that head towards the Caribbean.

Sam describes the key weather systems she will be facing:

'The big picture is three main systems:

1. From start to Azores - the fleet is in the range of North Atlantic low pressure systems. Expect southwest to northwest wind medium to strong, and quickly changing weather. Aggressive strategy is needed to try to make a break before the Azores.

2. From Azores to West Indies - the question is how deep to go to the south to get the Trade Winds. Heading directly to the south will ensure steady downwind conditions at the cost of a longer course. Sailing a more direct course will ensure short distance at the price of more difficult weather patterns, and the threat of being trapped in the Azores high pressure system with it's infamous light winds.

3. The Caribbean sea is normally the domain of steady northeast trade winds. Some trade winds failure related to US coast cold fronts may put some spice in the game.'

This transatlantic race is the first of three events for Sam in the Figaro circuit this year - with the Generali Soli in the Med in June and the big one, La Solitaire, in August.

To download the Trophée BPE Course Map (St.Nazaire - Cuba) go here.

Trophee BPE Entry List

Nation Skipper Boat
FRA Yannick BESTAVEN AQUARELLE.COM
FRA Charles CAUDRELIER BOSTIK
CPV Antonio Pedro DA CRUZ LITTLE BLACK SHARK
GBR Samantha DAVIES SKANDIA
FRA Eric DROUGLAZET CREDIT MARITIME - ZEROTWO
FRA Marc EMIG TOTAL
FRA Jeanne GREGOIRE BANQUE POPULAIRE
FRA Yannig LIVORY ENTREPRENDRE AU PAYS DE LORIENT
FRA Gildas MORVAN CERCLE VERT
FRA David RAISON not communicated
FRA Armel TRIPON GEDIMAT
FRA Dominic VITTET ATAO AUDIO SYSTEM

2005 Figaro Programme

3 April
Trophée BPE 2005 (St.Nazaire - Cienfuegos, Cuba)

6-25 June
La Generali Solo 2005

1-28 August
La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro 2005

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Skandia In Training:© Benoit Stichelbaut / DPPI
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