Displaying items by tag: La Solitaire du Figaro
#fullrish – Solo Irish sailor David Kenefick sends Afloat.ie this update from Leg three of the La Solitaire Du Figaro race
That was tough, frustrating and it seemed to be long but in fact it wasn't excessive. I started nicely at the pin end and sailed a good inshore part of the course and enjoyed the fight. I find that its so much easier to start the at the pin end and make your way safely to the left of the course before the approach to the top of the course. If the line is biased to the left it works really well, if the line is neutral or tot the right there is plenty of room and you totally stay out of trouble and the worst position you'll have at the top mark is in the teens.
The first legs are always long, over two miles and I like to get settled into sailing fast upwind straight away and not being compromised by too many boats around me. But alas the Figaro is not about being well placed after an hour, its about being well placed after 72-100 hours. To be well placed though it helps to be in the front pack at the beginning because it is rare that the back-markers get all the way back to the front. I'm in fifth place overall for the inshore prize. Once in the front pack then it is all about two things, risk management and boatspeed. Boatspeed doesn't always come easily in a One Design class like this, there simply is no shortage of experience which I'm still looking to accumulate.
Risk management is a nice way of saying don't lose touch by going away from the group you are with. The race is about attrition. Over the days and nights the fleet gets spread out, its natural and its because you miss things or you are tired and not sailing at your best. If you manage to stay with the pack and sleep and stay sharp you will manage to last longer in the pack. Its taken me a while to work all this out, two years now and Leg 3 was going well for the first 24 hours. It got pretty complicated at Belle Ile where there was an almighty park up but I managed to get away in about the same place that I came into it.
The run offshore to ODAS was going well for me too but at around eight the next morning the boats just a few hundred metres ahead of us seemed to just get something first and started to sail away from everybody else. Very quickly this was a break and our group, the bulk of the fleet got left behind. It was terrible because there was nothing we could do except be philosophical about it.
At one stage the leading group was more than five hours ahead of us. 24 hours later and we had an opportunity to close the gap down when the leaders ran out of wind close to Ile de Ré on the last segment to the finish. We didn't pass them but the gap went back to one hour instead of five.
I finished mid-morning, I'm shattered and burnt and hungry. We have just over two days to turn it around and head back out again for the final leg to Cherbourg which starts on Sunday.
But tonight a Comptoir Irlandais Whiskey tasting event with my sponsors and fellow skippers.
The morning after the first night at sea on leg three of the La Solitaire Du Figaro Cork's David Kenefick is in 14th place as the fleet of 37 Figaros race across the West of Brittany and past the Glenan Islands on their way to Belle Ile writes Marcus Hutchinson.
The start yesterday afternoon in 18 knots of breeze from the North East gave spectacular sailing conditions and it wasn't long before the whole fleet was racing at speed downwind with spinnakers up. The North Easterly is forecast to stay with the fleet for most of the next couple of days with just a few transitions in and out of sea breeze which will need to be handled carefully.
David has had a solid first part of the race and will be happy to be still in the mix this morning. Overnight the lead has gone to Britain's Sam Goodchild as the fleet passed through the Raz de Sein and past Audierne and PenMarch.
The fleet will leave the coast past Belle Ile this afternoon and head out into the middle of the Bay of Biscay to a weather buoy 150 miles offshore.
This buoy will prove to be tricky to find as it is moored in 4000 metres of water and has a mooring chain of nearly 12000 metres which means it 'wanders' a bit! The long term forecasts, the only information the skippers can leave with, are still fairly vague on exactly what the wind will do and hence it will be difficult to make strategies other than conservative ones for this leg. For now it is about speed and getting as much sleep as possible so as to be able to think straight when the important decisions need to be made.
#fullirish – Royal Cork's David Kenefick and The La Solitaire du Figaro fleet sailed in to Roscoff this morning at the end of two with the solo Irish sailor now 25th overall from 38 after the second stage of four in the intrepid race. Straight from his Full Irish nboat he has sent Afloat.ie readers the following report:
'That was a tough leg, but they always are. I shouldn't be frustrated, I'm hitting good places from time to time. I'm often playing well into the top half of the fleet and the top ten which was never the case last year. I'm going fast, faster than I ever have before and I',m always in the pack. This last leg was one that was rather unusual. There weren't many opportunities to do anything other than lose places. I had a good start and a really good second beat meaning I was in a good eighth place leaving Plymouth. My first big mistake was sailing too close to the Lizard off the South West Coast of England. We were really late starting and the tide was away by the time we got there and there was better pressure offshore. I lost a couple of miles there, miles that were never going to come back.
The Scillys were amazing with this great weather we are having. Dodging the various TSS zones kept us working hard and the long tight white sail reach out to the Stags was actually rather monotonous. It was difficult to stay awake on this leg and I had to sleep a lot. Just a few degrees up or down seemed to make quite a difference in the shifty dropping breeze.
It was great to see this small RIB approaching me at seven in the morning 10 miles off the Irish coast. I had a feeling that something like this would happen but when I saw Neil (dad) and George (brother) on board, well it was a special moment. I'd like to have been further up the fleet but they could see I was in the pack. Plenty of moral encouragement and banter...
Eventually when we got to the Stags off the Irish coast the fleet had bunched up again and pretty much all boats were in sight after two days. The run down the coast past Baltimore, Sherkin and Cape Clear was a great time, Dolphins and Whales and all my competitors raving about the wildlife and the good weather and the scenery on the VHF.
I was the first of the fleet to gybe offshore to try and get better breeze away from Cape Clear, and approaching the Fastnet with my Shamrock spinnaker set will be a photograph to keep.
The way back to Roscoff saw us tight reaching under headsails and at every corner we got lifted and were able to make it without tacking. It took a really long time and there were times I was fast and putting distance on people I've been training with over the winter and people who beat me big time last year.
We got into Roscoff just before dawn this morning and I finished 23rd, three and a half hours behind Yann Elies who is on fire with speed. He was leading the first leg when he dropped his mast at the Wolf Rock and then won this leg by almost an hour from the second boat. Impossible for him to win three in a row counting a retirement but a class act to sail with. I'm 25th overall after two legs and just five hours off the lead. After two legs it is still a very compact leaderboard and a huge amount can still happen over the next two legs. I'm gonna rest for the next few days, the next start is on Sunday 22nd June and it is looking like a windy downwind slide for the first two days. Looking forward to it, but not straight away. Thanks for you support.'
The skipper of Groupe Queguiner was first across the line in Roscoff at the end of Leg 2 of La Solitaire du Figaro-Eric Bompard. Elies finished at 01:26:01 after 3 days 3 hours 0 minutes and 01 second with an average speed of 7.3kn over the 535nm Leg. Corentin Horeau (Bretagne - Credit Mutuel Performance) finished second in the second Leg of La Solitaire du Figaro-Eric Bompard cachemire at 01:24:43 BST.
Jeremie Beyou (Maitre Coq) finished in 3rd, 40 seconds later at 01:25:47BST and Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif) crossed the line in 4th at 01:26:19BST
First ten finishers, stage 2:
1. Groupe Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies
2. Bretagne Credit Mutuel Performance, Corentin Horeau
3. Maitre Coq, Jeremie Beyou
4. Skipper Macif 2012, Fabien Delahaye
5. Interface Concept, Gildas Mahe
6. Agir Recouvrement, Adrien Hardy
7. Groupe Fiva, Alexis Loison
8. Normandy Elite Team, Charlie Dalin
9. Cercle Vert, Gildas Morvan
10. Un Maillot Pour La Vie, Corentin Douguet
After 2 stages, overall top ten:
1. Skipper Macif 2012, Fabien Delahaye
2. Maitre Coq, Jeremie Beyou
3. Groupe Fiva, Alexis Loison
4. Bretagne Credit Mutuel Performance, Corentin Horeau
5. Normandy Elite Team, Charlie Dalin
6. Cercle Vert, Gildas Morvan
7. Agir Recouvrement, Adrien Hardy
8. Interface Concept, Gildas Mahe
9. Gedimat, Thierry Chabagny
10. SMA, Paul Meilhat
#fullrish – The La Solitaire du Figaro fleet which includes sole Irish entry David Kenefick's 'Full Irish' has been racing hard for 33 hours now and although it hasn't been hard physically it has been a drain on the mental side as the leaders stretched out nicely ahead of the back markers since leaving Plymouth writes Marcus Hutchinson.
The start, originally scheduled for 18:30 had to be delayed due to the dropping sea breeze and the tardy return of the gradient wind.
David made a great start at the pin end again but rounded the top mark in the pack. In the failing light the second short upwind leg in Plymouth Sound gave the first real tactical choice and David leapt at it taking the left hand side of the course out of the tide and with several other boats rounded the last upwind mark in the top ten.
The long leg across from Prawle Point to The Lizard in the Northerly gave the fleet the chance to decide how close to the Lizard they would sail as they headed West. Too close, inspite of a favourable tide, would mean sailing into the wind shadow of this high point, too far South and there would be a lot of extra distance sailed. In the end the Southerly option paid handsomely and unfortunately for David he missed out on this and dropped back into the mid-20s again.
The Scilly Isles and the TSS around them were the next obstacle and spinnakers were dropped around the lonely islands before the fleet headed out across the Irish Sea.
The leaders pulled further ahead for most of Sunday but as the first boats got half way across the wind started to drop in front and the rest of the fleet caught up.
At first light on Monday on approaching the Irish coast pretty much the whole fleet was in sight of each other.
First around the Stags Buoy was Yann Elies at 07:00 and a simple broad reach for the 15 miles down to the Fastnet Rock followed. David's dad and brother along with Afloat.ie photographer Bob Bateman came out to see him and get some shots. Hopefully these will make it back to Afloat quickly to go with this story.
The Fastnet marks the halfway point for this leg and the first boats around are likely to stretch out again as the reach back to France in a slowly building breeze.
ETA at the finish in Roscoff is currently Wednesday morning.
#lasolitaire2014 – Leg Two of the 2014 Solitaire du Figaro is upon us. We are currently in balmy Plymouth with incredible weather about to be given the race briefing for the next leg. 535 miles from here to our very own Fastnet Rock and back to Roscoff. Exciting for me as any leg is but especially because we are going to be close to home for me. I sailed around the Fastnet Rock in the Fastnet Race last year with Olaf Sorensen but that was two-handed. This of course is different. 39 boats in the fleet, all of us on our own and all of us fighting for places in the most important race of our year.
So what's it going to be like? Well all of us are enjoying major summer weather which inevitably means not too much wind. It's going to take a long time. Although we will have reaching and spinnaker conditions for most of the way out and back it isn't going to be physical, it will be mental. There are a few obstacles on the way some of them real and some of them virtual. We have to respect the Traffic Separation Zones of which there are three large areas to the West and South of Lands End, at the Fastnet Rock and North of Ushant. If we stray into there areas it is instant disqualification. But we can only see them on our navigation charts and computer screens. There are no lines on the water!
We will start in Plymouth with an hour long inshore element around the buoys in Plymouth Sound before heading out to the West. The start is at 18:30 on Saturday, just as the local sea breeze is dropping off and the gradient is re-establishing itself from the other direction. So eventually Northerly going North East 10-15 knots all the way to Ireland.
I'm pretty sure the wind will drop considerably as we approach the Rock as it is almost coincident with the centre of the high pressure you are enjoying this weekend and next week. We will have to be careful as there will be light winds and transitions from gradient to sea breeze as we approach the Irish coast. We will make landfall somewhere between Castletownsend and Loch Hyne as we have to round The Stags South Cardinal buoy before making our way to the Rock. The reason for this little detour is to keep us safely away from the Traffic Separation Zone just to the South of the lighthouse. There may not be any wind and plenty of strong current flowing which might take us into the TSS, and that would mean instant disqualification. No messing. So if you around on Monday morning in that part of the world look out for the boat with the tricolor and the shamrock on the mainsail...
The way back to Roscoff from the Fastnet is the best part of 300 miles in a straight line. That's a long way in a straight line and the further we go the windier it will get which basically means those who are infront will go faster earlier. It will turn into a beat at the end in quite a bit of breeze and we should arrive in Roscoff sometime on Wednesday.
#lasolitaire2014 – Royal Cork's David Kenefick has completed his first leg of the 2014 La Solitiare du Figaro, arriving into the British port of Plymouth yesterday. Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva) won his first ever leg of La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cashemire this afternoon as he crossed the line in Plymouth at 14:53:50. This is the Frenchman's second win in the city - he was victorious in last year's Fastnet race, sailing double-handed with his Dad. Loison's decision to stay East of the fleet as they raced from Roscoff to Plymouth paid off. When the wind died he had a better angle for the approach to Plymouth Sound.
Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) won the battle of the solo skippers who had opted for the direct route under tight spinnaker. He crossed the line 7 minutes after Loison and two minutes ahead of Jeremie Beyou (Maitre Coq). Beyou is chasing a third Solitaire win this year.
23 year old Sam Matson (Artemis 21) arrived in Plymouth at 15:52:39 in 12th place. An impressive result for the Plymouth University graduate in his first ever Solitaire leg. Matson finished as top British sailor and top of the 'bizuth' or rookie class for first time entrants.
This first leg saw the 38 solo sailors make three channel crossings over the 484 mile leg. Keeping the boat and themselves going was difficult at times.
This is the first time the race has ever been to Plymouth's Sutton Harbour and the first time in 11 years that it's been to the UK. The sailors were greeted with blue skies and a warm welcome. Time now for them to catch-up on some sleep before the start of Leg 2 on Saturday evening.
Order of arrival in Plymouth
1. Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva) Arrived at 14:53:50
2. Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) 15:01:17
3. Jeremie Beyou (Maitre Coq) 15:03:32
4. Charlie Dalin (Normandy Elite Team) 15:06:06
5. Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) 15:08:24
6. Gildas Morwan (Cercle Vert) 15:09:34
7. Paul Meilhat (SMA) 15:10:26
8. Thierry Chabagny (Gedimat) 15:15:18
Order of arrival of British / Irish Sailors
12. Sam Matson (Artemis 21) 15:52:39
22. Henry Bomby (Red) 16:43:34
25. Jack Bouttell (GAC Pindar) 17:16:00
26. Alan Roberts (Artemis 23) 17:24:10
27. Rich Mason (Artemis 77) 17:31:33
28. David Kenefick (Full Irish) 17:31:41
31. Sam Goodchild (Team Plymouth) 17:35:28
32. Nick Cherry (Redshift) 17:41:57
37. Ed Hill (Macmillan Cancer Support) 16 miles to go.
#FULL IRISH – Irish offshore singlehander David Kenefick is underway again on his second edition of the 2014 Solitaire du Figaro. The Royal Cork Helmsman is racing on the first leg and sends this report exclusively to Afloat.ie readers:
"This leg is going to be between three and four days long. It will be tricky the weather at the start is fairly variable, potential thunderstorms, squalls and periods of no breeze at all. The gradient from the North East will then take us North across the Channel to Owers, near Selsey Bill, and we should get there around 03:00 on Monday morning. From here we turn West and tackle some downwind sailing with foul tide initially before the wind swings round to the South West some time late on Monday or early Tuesday. At the time we should be South of Portland Bill. Monday will be the most important part of the race as we mange these significant transitions. The wind shift to the South West, if it shifts that far, should take us comfortably on one tack down to Wolf Rock off Lands End. Then we tack around the lighthouse and fetch on starboard across to Roscoff in France before turning north for the final and long light downwind run back to Plymouth and the finish."
On the length of the leg and sleeping:
"The longest time I've been at sea alone so far was four and half days, the first leg last year. This one will be something similar. I'm planning on four days food and drink with some reserve and I have to anticipate the length of the leg when planning my sleep patterns. There will be times to sleep and times when you really must be awake and alert to the changing situations. The time to sleep wont necessarily fall at the moment that I'm ready to sleep and of course I'll want to sleep at the most critical times... All part of the fun!"
On his second Figaro:
"This year I'm much better prepared, which is normal its my second year. I've had time to rest and consider the weather situation this week and my boat is well prepared. Last year I was very nervous before the start. Don't get me wrong I'm still nervous now its only normal before you embark on something like this, but its better than last year and it's a different kind of worry. The second time around everything is very different."
On getting going:
"I'm really looking forward to getting going as its now been a month since I left my base in Lorient, we've been on the road since then at different events all heading towards this one so its really time we got going. Its my birthday on Monday, my second birthday at sea during the Figaro. I'm still the youngest competitor in the race, I'll be turning 23 at sea on Monday somewhere off the Isle of Wight!"s
#fullirsh – David Kenefick finished the Solo Concarneau in 22nd place just before six pm yesterday evening.
After a valuable two days at sea, where the Royal Cork skipper was as high as 15th in the 32–boat fleet at the midway stage, the conclusion from the 'Full Irish' campaign is that the 340–mile offshore has been 'a great training race with a bit of everything in it'. There was a strong wind upwinds in the dark, headlands, short tacking, windy reaching, downwind VMG, transitions from gradient to sea breeze and back.
Saturday morning saw the Figaro fleet of the Solo Concarneau ahead of schedule as the last long leg North from Ile d'Yeu turns out to be a fairly fast two-sail reach. Kenefick rounded the Ile d'Yeu in the small hours and had been hanging in with some of his Lorient-based training partners on the way North.
You can see the results here.
#figaro – Cork solo sailor David Kenefick was in Paris last weekend to collect his prize for the Championship of France Solo Offshore Racing - one of the most prestigious sailing events in France.
The 22-year-old Royal Cork Yacht Club sailor débuted at the La Solitaire du Figaro in June, the world-renowned race which comprises of four legs of approximately 400-500 miles of single handed sailing. David finished the 2013 session when he became the first non-French person to win the rookie division of the Championship of France of solo offshore racing.
He said: "It's amazing to be the first rookie after a very hard and stressful year. It has given me great encouragement for 2014. The Figaro race was extremely tough but I stuck at it, chipped away all year and learned a lot. Not just about how to do better in this very tough fleet but also about the mistakes I made earlier in the year and how I was going to improve from them. Straight after the Figaro I had some of my sails recut and I've found it has made a difference. I've also been working on trying to secure new sponsors, not only a title sponsor, but small partners and sponsors to join me on board Full Irish for 2014. I have now committed myself to do next year's La Solitare du Figaro and am already fully immersed in my 2014 program. I will move to France in January and begin training on board Full Irish before competing in the Solo Maitre CoQ in April. In May, I will use the Solo Concarneau as one of my last warm up events before the famous La Solitaire du Figaro in June, which is going to be very tough."
Last Weekend the course for the 45th edition for the La Solitaire du Figaro was announced with a total distance of 2014 miles, and looks to be one of the toughest courses of the history of the race. There will be no Irish stop over as was previously hoped for.
The first leg will be from Deauville to Plymouth via the Isle of Wight, Wolf Rock and a laid buoy off Roscoff, before the finish in Plymouth. The first leg alone has three channel crossings - no easy task for a full crew, never mind one person racing alone.
Leg 2 takes the fleet from Plymouth around the Fastnet Rock before finishing in Roscoff.
Leg 3 will be from Roscoff to an unnamed port in the Vendee region. Most of this leg will be raced in inshore waters going south along the French coast, before heading out into the middle of the Bay of Biscay to a buoy before then heading to the finish line.
Leg 4 starts from the Vendee region and takes the fleet back North along the West coast of France, before heading across the English channel leaving Wolf Rock to Port, before sailing down the Channel to the Needles Fairway buoy just off the Isle of Weight, then taking the fleet back across the English channel for the sixth time to the finish in Cherbourg.
#figaro – The French La Solitaire du Figaro race will visit Plymouth for the first time in June dashing hopes that the race might return to Ireland.
In spite of an innovative new course including a departure from Bordeaux and a Portuguese stage there will be no Irish leg of the 45th edition of the race and instead the race calls to Britain for the first time in its history.
This year Irish youngster David Kenefick won the Rookie of the year prize and there were hopes that his intended continuation in the circuit might bring the race to Ireland as it previously did in 2012.
The 2,014-mile race is one of the main training grounds for the Vendee Globe race, and this will be the first time it has included a British leg.
Sutton Harbour will host some 45 of the world's top sailors, including local sailor Sam Goodchild. The 24-year-old achieved the best British result since 1975, finishing in 11th place this year.
Around 45 sailors, all on identical 33ft boats will arrive in Sutton Harbour at the end of Leg 1 on Wednesday, June 11.
Spectators will see close-fought inshore racing in Plymouth Sound before the fleets departs on its second leg on Saturday, June 14.
The stopovers were announced at the official Solitaire launch in Paris on Thursday.
More than 30,000 visitors are expected to be lured to Plymouth next summer when the city hosts one of sailing's grand prix events.