Returning to the Figaro class for the first time in 2017 following his impressive debut season in 2016, Will Harris will take over the reins of The Offshore Academy for the Solo Maitre Coq, from Hugh Brayshaw who sits this one out to finalise his funding for June’s Solitaire URGO Le Figaro. Posting some impressive results from the outset of the 2016 season Harris won the Rookie prize for the Solo Concarneau and Solo Maitre Coq going on to be the overall Rookie Champion for the 2016 Solitaire du Figaro.
Harris is looking forward to the challenge, that returning to the class presents. “I had a really great season last year finishing top rookie in all races bar one – unfortunately this year I won’t be judged as a rookie so will be in the mix with some of the world’s greatest solo sailors but I’m relishing the opportunity to line up with them again, I’m light on training time, but full of enthusiasm.”
Joining Harris on the start line on Monday, British solo sailors: Mary Rook, Inspire + and Alan Roberts, Seacat Services will battle out two days of inshore racing followed by a 320 mile offshore race. Based in Les Sables d’Olonne, the iconic home of the Vendée Globe, the 41 boat Maitre Coq fleet will pass down the channel that all Figaro sailors aspire to one day go through on their way to a Vendee Globe start. The Solo Maitre Coq will be the last chance for sailors to line up and test themselves ahead of the Solitaire URGO Le Figaro, the season’s major race, which starts in a month’s time from Bordeaux.
Mary Rook, Inspire + looks ahead to the racing “The Solo Maitre Coq will be the longest and quite possibly the most intense competition pre-solitaire – it’ll be a good test of my physical and mental strength but it’s for sure going to test my endurance, trying to push performance whilst managing and overcoming fatigue will be key. This will be my last test event before the big one (La Solitaire URGO le Figaro) but this event is about as close to a Solitaire dress rehearsal as you can get so I’m hoping to continue my learning and post a respectable result”
Will Harris has spent his off season focusing on the hunt for funding whilst building experience in the IMOCA 60 class where he hopes to compete in this October’s Transat Jaques Vabre “Whilst I haven’t actually sailed a Figaro for some 6 months now competing in the Solo Maitre Coq will be a good opportunity to check in with the fleet and test my skills. I have been developing my single handed sailing skills on the IMOCA 60 class and I think my training and planning for manoeuvres etc. will set me in good stead for this demanding event.”
The Solo Maitre Coq will offer the 41 entrants the opportunity to test boat handling and speed in the back to back inshore races taking place on Monday and Tuesday culminating to the offshore race start on Thursday 27th April - follow the race tracking via the Offshore Academy website.