AFLOAT: Figaro bid for rookie Mason

Dorset Echo: HEADING TO THE HARBOUR: Richard Mason HEADING TO THE HARBOUR: Richard Mason

RICHARD Mason is preparing for his second major offshore race.

The Solitaire du Figaro will start on June 8 and the Artemis Academy have decided that Mason and his fellow British rookies, Alan Roberts and Sam Matson, have proved themselves on and off the water.

They will be taking part to bring the British team numbers for the race up to eight in total.

This is the largest representation that Britain has had in this prestigious event in its 45-year history. Mason has been training hard for the event taking part in the Solo Concarneau.

Yet again, he put in a good, solid performance.

Unfortunately, he did have a breakage with his propeller seal, which incurred him a 20-minute penalty to his elapsed time.

This moved him down the overall fleet but he still managed to finish 25th overall and fifth rookie.

He was disappointed to find he had broken the seal after crossing the finish line, but it was a good experience and better to happen now than during the Solitaire.

On May 18, he completed his final practice race, the Solo Basse Normandie.

He said: “This event marked time running out for the training phase of my Figaro campaign.

“In less than two weeks, I cast off for a 2,000-mile race with some of the world’s top sailors, most of whom have more than 10 years more offshore experience than I do.

“That is a lot of hours.”

However, the Solo Basse Normandie was encouraging despite a tactical error on the first upwind leg, having to contend with light and fickle winds and staying awake for nearly 32 hours, Mason managed to catch the rest of the fleet.

He finished 11th overall and second rookie, his best podium finish so far.

Mason added: “I have genuinely never felt better about my Figaro sailing, which is great because I think ‘backing yourself’ is halfway to achieving, especially in offshore sailing where a difference in tactical opinion between sailors could easily lead to a 10-mile split.”

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