It’s the big time back to school. In this case of a single class, that of the Figaro Bénéteau boats. Ready this Monday morning in Concarneau for the 48th edition of the Solo Guy Cotten. And for this first meeting of the Figaro season which will end in August with the Solitaire du Figaro (August 25-September 12 with a departure from Rouen, announcement of the complete route on March 29), no less than 36 sailors will are gathered in front of the legendary walled city.

A nice score which can announce another one for the Solitaire this summer, and which promises a great fight on the water until the end of the week. The (more or less) young people sharpened their pencils during winter training and are clearly eager to return to competition. To fight it out. Like Basile Bourgnon (Edenred), 2nd in the last Solitaire: “I dream of a victory in La Solitaire du Figaro. It’s the holy grail for us offshore racers. I missed it by just ten minutes last year but I savored my great second place. I now know that it is an accessible dream and I am just as aware that disillusionment quickly set in for Figaro. The objective of this first event in Concarneau is to gauge the competitors to identify new areas of work for the rest of the season.

Loïs Berrehar (Skipper Macif 2022), 3rd in the last Solitaire behind Corentin Horeau (absent in Concarneau) is in the same state of mind: “The Solo Guy Cotten is a racing format that I know well and that I appreciate. This is ideal for starting the season with coastal courses (Monday and Tuesday) and a big 48-hour race (Wednesday to Thursday). I really hope to do better this year because last year I lost time following a buoy collision and the final ranking was disappointing. This is the opportunity to take my revenge and it will also be the moment to observe the forces present in this 2024 season.”

Starting off at full speed to gain confidence and make an impression on the competition is something every top performer dreams of. Like Charlotte Yven (Skipper Macif 2023): “This race is a good opportunity to gauge yourself, to put everything back in place, to resume your little routines, your weather preparation. The weather forecast for next week does not seem to predict any big gales, it will be good conditions.” Ideal therefore with these short courses along the Breton coast, before going to play further afield, undoubtedly near the Raz de Sein, the Pierres-Vertes and the Rochebonne plateau.

Alexis Loison (Groupe Réel), 14th participation on the clock, is impatient to do battle: “I really want to see where I am, to judge the competition, I’ve been waiting for that for a while. » Gaston Morvan (Brittany Region -CMB Performance), another contender for final victory, will play at home: “It’s in the bay of Port La Forêt which we know very well. We’re all a little upset. We want to attack, race, show our progress. It would be great to start with a good place in this race to make an impression and show that I will have to be counted on this season. » Another “son of”, Victor Le Pape (Région Bretagne – CMB Espoir) has the ambition to gain ground for his second season on the Figariste circuit: “I want to have fun and try a little more than the year last one where I was a bit of a player sometimes because I was discovering the circuit. This year, I want to assert myself a little more.”

Among the 16 rookies announced on the starting line of the first round, this Monday off the coast of Concarneau, Quentin Vlamynck (Les Etoiles Filantes) will make his big debut in the Figaro Bénéteau after having shone in the Ocean Fifty trimaran and he will try to make a place in a class full of young talents: “I’m putting all the cards back on the table by committing to this new circuit. Discipline, rigor, surpassing oneself are values ​​that I come to find in this Figaro class. By confronting this category of skippers, I will emerge from this adventure grown, that’s for sure.”

Another novice, Louise Acker (Brittany Region CMB – Océane), will discover the joys (and sorrows) of the solo regatta: “My objective is first of all discovery because this will be my first solo offshore race. I want to check the boxes that I identified during training. And then I want to clear out the biggest areas of work to work harder behind and be able to gain strength as the season progresses. I don’t know where to place myself yet so I hope to be among the rookies and above all to have fun. » Ah pleasure, this essential ingredient to perform in sport (and not only that)… The 5 races of the 2024 French Elite Offshore Racing Championship

Solo Guy Cotten Concarneau: March 11-16Solo Maître CoQ: April 28-May 5 BPGO Trophy: May 15-25 Le Havre Allmer Cup: June 1-8 Solitaire du Figaro Paprec: August 19-September 15