Saturday, 25 May 2013

Solitaire du Figaro : Jean-Marie Nicol Staking Everything on La Solitaire

Jean-Pierre Nicol - Bernard Controls. Image copyright Alexis Courcoux/Bernard Controls

by Alexandra Fontaine

After pulling off some brilliant surprises in La Solitaire du Figaro, with in particular ending up on the podium after two legs, the skipper of BERNARD CONTROLS, named after the company which is backing him once again in 2013, is staking everything this year on the prestigious classic. He has perfected his training methods in order to improve his results and hopes to be there at the top of the rankings.

On 2nd June, Jean-Pierre Nicol will be competing in his seventh Solitaire du Figaro. After preparing through the winter at the CEM, the Mediterranean training centre in la Grande Motte and competing in the preparatory events, the ICOM Cup, the Solo Arrimer and the Solo Concarneau, a relaxed Jean-Pierre feels he is ready, particularly as this year he has improved his preparation with a coach and physical trainer.

Bernard Controls. Image copyright Alexis Courcoux/Bernard Controls

A top class line-up for La Solitaire 2013

Sailors with a huge amount of experience will be competing in La Solitaire 2013. Michel Desjoyeaux, Armel Le Cléac'h, Jérémie Beyou, Yann Eliès... Sailors not just with experience, but also with a lot of achievements who are all likely to be well-placed at the finish. There is also the younger generation with sailors like Morgan Lagravière, Nicolas Lunven and Fabien Delahaye, who are also used to finding themselves up with the winners. So, the fight is on if you want to end up in the first half of the 2013 rankings. This will require a good performance, but also consistency.

As for the race course, La Solitaire 2013 offers a mixture of coastal courses and offshore racing. The start from Bordeaux should be spectacular, but is likely to be complicated with the currents in the Estuary. After the start, the racers will have to round Cape Finisterre, first as they head down to Porto (1st leg), then, as they make their way back up to Gijon (2nd leg). The third leg will take the fleet to Roscoff, before the final leg which ends in Dieppe (the finish).

Jean-Pierre Nicol. Image copyright Alexis Courcoux/Bernard Controls


Jean-Pierre Nicol: "I have already made it to the podium after two legs in La Solitaire, in Ireland and in Caen. But this year I would like to be more consistent in my performance, by improving in every area. In that way, I can hope to end up very well placed in the overall rankings. I have prepared well and am staking everything on La Solitaire, so it’s now down to me to show what I can do. I’m an outsider, but that’s a nice place to be."

Etienne Bernard, President of BERNARD CONTROLS: "When we met up with Jean-Pierre, it was a meeting between a business leader, who enjoys sailing and a determined youngster, who has shown he shares a certain number of values and is ready to fight. Jean-Pierre has had a few fine successes already and has trained hard to do even better this year. We are aiming high this year and would like to make it to the podium..."

JP Nicol