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
|CPV||Antonio Pedro DA CRUZ||LITTLE BLACK SHARK|
|FRA||Eric DROUGLAZET||CREDIT MARITIME - ZEROTWO|
|FRA||Jeanne GREGOIRE||BANQUE POPULAIRE|
|FRA||Yannig LIVORY||ENTREPRENDRE AU PAYS DE LORIENT|
|FRA||Gildas MORVAN||CERCLE VERT|
|FRA||David RAISON||not communicated|
|FRA||Dominic VITTET||ATAO AUDIO SYSTEM|
2005 Figaro Programme
Trophée BPE 2005 (St.Nazaire - Cienfuegos, Cuba)
La Generali Solo 2005
La Solitaire Afflelou Le Figaro 2005