Crossing the finish line of the third and final stage, a 470 miles leg from Roscoff, in sixth place at 03:44:27hrs (local time) this morning off Piriac-sur-Mer, Corentin Horeau (Banque Populaire) is the overall winner of the 54th La Solitaire du Figaro Paprec (subject to jury).
The 34 year old from La Trinité sur Mer, racing his seventh La Solitaire du Figaro, passed his nearest title rival Basile Bourgnon (Edenred) during Wednesday afternoon on the downwind section to the southernmost turn of the course.
Horeau was then able to extend far enough ahead on the long beat back up the Vendée coast today to make good on the 8 mins 55 seconds deficit he was behind 22 year old Bourgnon when the final stage started Sunday. After all three stages, totalling eleven and a half days of racing, Horeau’s winning margin over Bourgnon is 10 mins 52 secs. Third overall is Lois Berrehar (Skipper MACIF 2022) 27 minutes and 11 seconds behind Horeau.
After finishing 15th into Kinsale at 20 minutes and 49 seconds after Stage 1 winner Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan), Horeau really laid the foundations of his overall triumph when he ghosted into Roscoff some 3 minutes and 24 seconds behind Basile Bourgnon, the stage winner. With Berrehar third another 27 mins and 06 secs behind him, the top trio immediately gained more than two hours on the next finisher when the wind died. As the tidal current built, big gaps were driven through the fleet, some top seeds losing 12-14 hours on the top three in a painfully slow finish which will go down in Solitaire du Figaro history.
Horeau finished second overall in 2014 when the pinnacle annual solo offshore race was still raced in the Figaro Beneteau 2. He took a five years break from La Solitaire du Figaro between 2016 and 2021 to experience other classes and area of the sport, notably a Trophée Jules Verne attempt with Spindrift, sailing on Sodeb’o Ultim with Thomas Coville as well as racing the Tour Voile in the Diam 24.
Coming back into the Figaro Beneteau 3 he finished eighth and then 13th last year. After losing his sponsor in the middle of this season he was snapped up by Banque Populaire whose support added an extra level of confidence as well as the technical and logistical support of a program which last won the race in 2020 when Armel Le Cléac’h triumphed for the third time.
“With the support of Banque Populaire at the last minute that added a dose of confidence. They are the sponsors in sailing. I sailed to be consistent and take the minimum of risks, to stay with the fleet. That is not the way I normally sail but that is way you sail to win La Solitaire.” Said a delighted Horeau in the glare of the spotlights on the winner’s dock in the small hours of this morning in Piriac-sur-Mer.