Gentoo Sailing Team Skipper James Harayda had a solid first solo race in Lorient at the 48HR Défi Azimut. James finished a creditable 19th in a highly competitive fleet containing many of the best solo sailors in the world.

Ideal weather conditions over in France met the field on day one with clear skies and great downwind sailing, which saw Harayda keenly involved in the midfield battle. As the race headed into the first evening and marker point one, James had fought his way up into 10th place. 

Weather conditions were less favourable on day two, with strong headwinds affecting everyone's progress, as James battled the elements aboard his IMOCA 60. Passing marker point two the Brit remained in the heat of the midfield race in 15th. As the race progressed into the final stages James worked hard in the face of prevailing headwinds and choppy conditions to bring it home in 19th position, just two hours shy of a top-ten finishing time.

“I really enjoyed my, and the teams, first solo IMOCA 48hr race and I am beginning to feel at home in the class. Initially in the downwind legs I was competitive and it felt good to run as high as 10th at one point, but we need to learn how to get the best out of the boat upwind. The Defi is a great learning experience and 19th overall in such a competitive field is not a bad place to start.” - James Harayda, Gentoo Sailing Team Owner.

The Défi Azimut week was also an opportunity for the Gentoo Sailing Team Youth Program members Freya Skingley, Zac Blomeley, and Cameron Hook to get fully immersed in the team at their first IMOCA series race.  The youth programme members played a vital role in boat preparation and racing across the week long series of events and crewed Gentoo during the delivery sailing to and from Lorient. 

The team had a fantastic week and attention now moves to the main solo event of the season: the legendary Route Du Rhum, setting off from Saint-Malo in the North of France on 6th of November.