British solo sailor Will Harris takes the Rookie title
After an intense battle over almost 1,500 nautical miles of tough solo coastal racing, 22-year-old Will Harris today became the third Artemis Offshore Academy skipper in four years to win the coveted Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro Rookie title.
This is a prize that spotlights young and talented solo sailors as the ones to watch for the future.
Completing the final 130-mile stage, from La Rochelle to the Ile de Yeu and back, in an impressive eighth place, the skipper crossed the finish line in a time of 20 hours, 52 minutes and 17 seconds.
Harris’ closest rival, Pierre Quiroga on pushed the young Englishman all the way and, during the final leg, was never more than a mile behind him for almost 24 hours.
But in the end, Harris’s sheer determination and gusto prevailed. Pushing himself and his boat, he finished leg 4 two minutes ahead of Quiroga, securing the Rookie division by 13 minutes and 7 seconds – an indicator of just how tight the race was.
In the overall fleet ranking Harris placed 17th, just over an hour behind top British finisher Alan Roberts in 16th. Harris’s total cumulative time for the four stages was 10 days, 21m and 41 seconds.
Following in the footsteps of British teammates Jack Bouttell (2013) and Robin Elsey (2015), Harris celebrated becoming the third British sailor to win the Rookie title.
Supported on the dock by his friends, family and fellow competitors and a magnum of chilled Pol Roger Champagne, the bubbles were a welcome treat after 20 hours of hard racing under the scorching French sun.
he said. (Harris and Quiroga) (Richomme, overall winner)
he continued, elated on the dock.
Harris concluded. The young racer is now looking forward to some food and a sleep ahead of this evening’s celebrations.
Quiroga was magnanimous in defeat, but said he had enjoyed every minute of his battle with Harris. “. said Quiroga at the finish.
Elsewhere in the British camp, Nick Cherry, the skipper, was next over the line after Harris in 12th, leaving him 18th overall. skipper Sam Matson finished Leg 4 in 18th place, making him 21st overall. skipper Andrew Baker finished 24th and was 24th overall. Then came the other two British rookies. Mary Rook sailing was 29th in the final stage and finished 27th overall, while Hugh Brayshaw on finished 30th and 29th overall.
More news on the British skippers to follow.