Matson 12th in warm-up for Solitaire

PUBLISHED: 07:51 04 April 2015 | UPDATED: 07:51 04 April 2015

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EXMOUTH Sailing Club's Sam Matson stormed through the fleet on day two to finish 12th in the 188-mile Solo Basse Normandie race.

Matson, whose home is in Ottery St Mary when he is not sailing with the Artemis Offshore Academy, was competing in his a 33ft Figaro during the first race of the season.

Through grit, determination and by maintaining consistent boat speed while the rest of the skippers flagged or slept, Matson climbed 12 places in 12 hours to finish an 12th overall.

The course took 24 skippers from Granville in Normandy to Roche Gautier, around Jersey and to a mark just north of St Malo before finishing back in Granville.

Some late course changes were made to avoid notoriously tidal and rocky areas around Alderney, shaving 12 miles off the route.

Although 30-40 knot winds were predicted to be a problem round the Channel Islands, there wasn’t a lot of breeze on day one.

Sitting 24th as the fleet sailed into the first cold night in the Atlantic, Matson made use of the building wind and began to climb through the ranks:

“I didn’t have a very good start or first leg, which is a bit of a shame,” said Matson.

“ I’d planned everything that I wanted to do on the start and on that first stretch, and I ended up being forced to do completely the opposite, which was pretty disappointing.

“I spent the next 24 hours working my way back up through the fleet, which was rewarding.

It was pretty windy around Jersey, which I was pretty prepared for and made a lot of gains there. Generally it was all pretty good, especially after the first leg when I was on the way up.”

Matson has two more races before the showpiece Solitaire du Figaro, the grueling 2,000-mile race for the class considered its world championship.

Racers sail from Bordeaux to Dieppe via Spain Brittany, the Irish Republic and Torquay between May 31 and June 22.

Matson knows he has plenty of work to do ahead of the Solitaire.

He said: “I’ve got to write up my notes on it all and see where I can improve and know what to work on.@”

Matson next race is the Solo Mâitre Coq mid-April.

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