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Displaying items by tag: solo sailing

Ireland’s solo racer Tom Dolan gave his hopes for this year’s La Solitaire du Figaro solo offshore race a significant boost when he and French co-skipper François Jambou finished second overall on Smurfit Kappa in the Figaro duo class of the 428 nautical miles Drheam Cup yesterday.

For most of the race, the Irish/French duo enjoyed a spirited match race against the eventual category winners, French 2012 Olympian Pierre Leboucher sailing with Benoit Mariette, and finished less than five minutes behind the class victors.

Dolan and Jambou were eighth across the finish line overall in the Figaro class which was won outright by Briton Sam Goodchild.

Dolan was pleased with the Smurfit Kappa duo’s race and the result, atoning for a disappointing light wind Maitre-CoQ solo offshore race two weeks ago when he finished mid-fleet.

“I am pretty happy. We sailed well. We went the right way all of the time and stuck to the roadbook, our strategy, and that paid off. We were quick enough all the time and that augers well for the future. I have sailed with François eight or ten times now and so we are a good team.” Smiled Dolan at the finish in La Trinite.

The course took the fleet from Sunday’s start off Cherbourg-Cotentin north across the Channel, turning west to Wolf Rock then south to La Trinite.

“I am especially pleased because the race was a complete test starting out in light winds, with some stronger spells with some upwind and downwind but lots of reaching when you have to be fast. We started badly – again – but worked our way up through the fleet progressively and then held our own. We had a little bit of an error during the second night when we were working to keep a boat in check which we thought was Leboucher but the lights were those of a different boat.” Dolan recalled, “But the key takeaway from this is that the course was like a leg of the Solitaire and we did well enough, certainly I am a bit more confident than after the Maitre-CoQ.”

"Need to check for damage after hitting an unidentified object during the race"

“The game was played on the first night really when the wind came from the east towards the end of the crossing of the Channel and we were to the right of the fleet and so that was good and paid off. Then we stuck to the strategy, to the roadbook I had prepared, and raced the boats around us. That is a good lesson in itself.”

Racing with the Mini Transat winner Jambou, the duo elected to put in some time now to enhance their prospects for next year’s two handed Transat AG2R, Transatlantic. And Dolan is preparing to diversify his programme towards selection for Ireland for the 2024 Olympics’ mixed offshore racing. The race also represent a gilt edged opportunity to run what will be part of this summer’s La Solitaire course.

On returning to base today (Wednesday) Dolan will have the Figaro Beneteau Smurfit lifted out of the water to check for damage after hitting an unidentified object during the race.

“It is a little bit of a worry because in terms of repairs and preparation I am just working myself at the moment with no help. But there is no sign of damage to the inside skin of the boat so I am hoping it will be OK.” Dolan concluded.

Published in Figaro

County Meath Solo sailor Tom Dolan is dicing for the lead this morning in the closing stages of the double-handed Drheam Cup as the fleet close in on the La Trinite sur Mer finish line. See tracker below.

A determined Dolan – who is sailing with France's Francois Jamnbou – is making good on his pre-race commitment to make amends for a mid-fleet performance in last month's Solo Maitre Coq season debut.

This morning Dolan and Jambou are heading south with under 70 miles to go in the 400-miler that started on Sunday.

The French-Irish pair, competing in the Figaro Duo class, are just .5 mile behind leader Guy Environment (Pierre Leboucher) in the seven-boat Figaro duo class.

As well as being second in class, Dolan's Smurfit Kappa - Concarneau Entreprendre Ireland campaign is also lying in the top ten of the 100-boat Drheam Cup overall.

Tom Dolan is in contention for Drheam Cup class honous later todayTom Dolan is in contention for Drheam Cup class honours later today

Before the start, Dolan gave an insight as to how he was going to sail the race: Look I did not do well on the Maitre CoQ the last race and that was disappointing so I am really looking forward to putting that behind me and sailing with Francois. We have been good mates for many years together and started a little business teaching and coaching people on the Mini, so we know each other well.” Dolan emphasizes, “Our skills are complementary, we work well together. He has shown he can win races and so it will be good to have some fresh ideas and to be able to support each other. A second opinion is what you lack racing solo and so it will be nice to have that this time.”

Dolan added, “Francois is very calm, and very French in the way he approaches his sailing. That is to say different to Anglo Saxon, he is quiet and intuitive and able to hold the rhythm of the race. I have tended to be too up and down recently and so I have worked on that. There is a good level of trust between us, knowing when each other are tired and taking over at the right time to keep the performance up.”

Drheam Cup 2020 leaderboard showing Ireland's Tom Dolan in second overallDrheam Cup 2020 leaderboard

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee, in their first outing in the Figaro 3 having been neck and neck with Dolan at one point are lying fifth in class, some forty miles astern of the leaders.

Both Rumball and Dolan are working up for September's season climax, the La Solitaire du Figaro.

See race tracker below. Select 'LA Drheam Cup 400' and then Group: 'Figaro Duo' to see the latest from the racecourse.

Published in Figaro

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee make their double-handed debut for Ireland at the Drheam Cup on Sunday and joining them on the Figaro Beneteau 3 fleet start line are County Meath and French combination Tom Dolan and Mini Transat Winner François Jambou in what is the first major multi-class race on the French coast this season.

The 400-mile race mirrors some of what is likely to be part of September’s pinnacle event the La Solitaire du Figaro offshore in which Rumball and Dolan have their sights on.

Both Rumball and Dolan will be looking for a performance boost after both Irish solo sailors posted mixed results in the Solo Maitre Coq last month.

It will be the first time the Figaro Beneteau 3 fleet has been invited to race in this 100-plus boat event which has become a multi-class French offshore Grand Prix, set to feature the Ultime and IMOCA fleets too.

Tom Dolan Tom Dolan sailing with Mini Transat Winner François Jambou

The course starts from Cherbourg Cotentin and finishes in Lorient and first takes the fleet across the Channel to the West Shambles mark off Weymouth, westwards along the English coast to Wolf Rock off Land’s End and then back across the entrance to the Channel to finish at Lorient.

"We’ve had a bit of time off now with the boat in the shed getting antifouled and we had a chance to get the rig out ahead of the Drheam Cup. This we will do doublehanded, in line with the main aim of the programme" says Rumball who gives a nod to their Paris 2024 Olympic bid.

Dolan admits he did not do well on the Maitre CoQ.  "That was disappointing so I am really looking forward to putting that behind me and sailing with Francois. We have been good mates for many years together and started a little business teaching and coaching people on the Mini, so we know each other well.” Dolan emphasises, “Our skills are complementary, we work well together. He has shown he can win races and so it will be good to have some fresh ideas and to be able to support each other. A second opinion is what you lack racing solo and so it will be nice to have that this time.”

The Drheam 2020 programme

  • Thursday 16 July: Arrival of boats in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin
  • Friday 17 and Saturday 18 July: Technical and safety checks
  • Sunday 19 July: DRHEAM-CUP start
  • From Tuesday 21 July: arrival of boats in La Trinité-sur-Mer
Published in Figaro

Garry Crothers, the indomitable 64-year-old one-armed solo sailor from Lough Swilly Yacht Club, hopes to get back to his Lough Foyle berth in Derry on Saturday after completing his Coronavirus Lockdown-enforced 3,500 mile marathon from the Caribbean in his Ovni 435 Kind of Blue.

This morning (Thursday) he is enjoying pleasant conditions as Kind of Blue passes the coast of Connacht far offshore, but as the day draws on the weather will deteriorate from the west, although the winds will at least remain in a favourable direction. While every attempt to comply with social-distancing restrictions will be in place at Foyle Marina as he reaches home, it is going to be a very emotional moment for his family and friends and many supporters when Kind of Blue comes up the River Foyle at the conclusion of this remarkable achievement.

Garry Crothers – with unsettled conditions in the Atlantic, it has taken a month to get back to ireland from the CaribbeanGarry Crothers – with unsettled conditions in the Atlantic, it has taken a month to get back to Ireland from the Caribbean

Published in Cruising

Fancy a little distraction? I've decided to show you some of the steps that we took to reduce waste during last year's Solitaire du Figaro writes Irish Solo Sailor Tom Dolan

Now more than ever we all need to think about what we buy, where it comes from and where it goes afterwards.

Snacks are difficult to choose; they need to be high in calories while at the same time being tough enough to survive banging around the boat for a couple of days. 

So, we can quickly get lazy when shopping and buy things that are triple wrapped in single-use plastic, things that we wouldn't normally eat on land. So why do differently at sea? It took a bit of searching. 

I found this great chocolate called 'Grain de Sail', which is manufactured in Brittany. The raw materials (green coffee and cocoa) come mainly from the Caribbean and Central America and are sourced equitably. The company are building their own sailing boat in order to transport the raw materials under sail! Their packaging is made entirely of paper and to top it all off it is very, very good! 

I bought dried and fresh fruit and stored it in reusable Tupperware boxes along with cold meats and portions of cheese all from the local market or shop and again wrapped in paper.

  • Sacrifices: Babybel, Snickers and penguin bars!
  • What I saved: A little under one small bin bag full of single-use plastic packaging
  • Shopping list: Lots and lots of reusable Tupperware!
Published in Solo Sailing

The Coronavirus outbreak has caused French organisers of the Solo Maitre Coq and the Transat AG2R La Mondiale to delay both events and with it the plans of Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan for an Irish bid in the Transatlantic Race. 

For now though, County Meath's Dolan, who is based in France, must sit and wait to find out how the French Offshore Racing Championship will be reorganised before the Solitaire du Figaro race begins this summer.

"I'm keeping busy with physical exercises, weather classes offered by Lorient Grand Large and a lot of paperwork", Dolan said on social media.

Also as Afloat reported earlier, Dolan is expected back to Irish waters for trialling with a new female sailing partner in a bid to represent Ireland in the World Offshore Sailing Championships. As also reported previously, these trials will now be sailed as part of June's SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow.

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under

On Saturday, the 22nd February, Bill Hatfield became the oldest man to sail around the world solo and non-stop. But Bill is not only the oldest man to circumnavigate the world solo, nonstop and unassisted at age 81, he’s now also secured two official records regardless of age, as confirmed by the World Sailing Speed Record (WSSR) Council on the 11th March 2020.

The WSSR Council announces the establishment of a new World Record Reference Time:

Time: Around the World Westabout. Singlehanded 40ft
Yacht: “L’Eau Commotion”. Northshore 38. Monohull
Name: Bill Hatfield. AUS
Dates: 8th June 2019 to the 22nd February 2020
Start time: 02; 04; 10 UTC on 08/06/19
Finish time: 00; 28; 19 UTC on 22/02/20
Elapsed time: 258 days 22 hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds
Distance: 21600 NM
Average speed: 3.48 kts
Comments:
No previous record - hence this will be listed as an “Initial Benchmark Time”

When asked to confirm that this record is regardless of age, Bill wrote, “Yes it’s the first Westabout circumnavigation [solo nonstop] from Australia and the first Westabout circumnavigation from any country [solo nonstop] in a vessel under 40 feet regardless of age.”

“I really didn’t set out for it to be a big media thing. A few people said I must do a blog and, because I did it every day, I rather selfishly thought if I didn’t do it everyday people would take seriously any EPIRB activation and I did get a few alerts when I got closer to land than I should have. The girl in black (see photo) is my daughter, Katherine Ann Lambros with whom I race in National Masters rowing regattas in a double scull, the lady on my right is Angie Bell MP, Federal Member for Moncrieff and the upraised arm is that of my grandson Constantine Lambros.”

Published in Solo Sailing
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Solo sailor Jeanne Socrates, a member of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), has sailed into Victoria BC harbour on the west coast of Canada on 7th September after successfully completing another single-handed unassisted nonstop circumnavigation. Jeanne set sail from Victoria on the 3 October 2018 on NEREIDA with the intent of becoming the oldest person to sail alone around the world. She is 77 years old.

NEREIDA had severe mainsail damage in the Cape Horn area which took a long time to repair, suffered a knockdown SW of New Zealand after which she had to enter Timaru Bay in NZ to make repairs, and later lost her headsail in the North Pacific.

Jeanne’s single-mindedness and determination to complete this voyage has culminated in a successful conclusion and she received a warm welcome back from many of her local supporters. All OCC members offer Jeanne their congratulations and Bravo Zulu!

According to Marine Traffic, NEREIDA arrived at Port VICTORIA on 2019-09-07 at 16:22 Local Time (2019-09-07 23:22 UTC).

Published in Solo Sailing
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Barnacle growth was the root cause of Golden Globe Race Finnish skipper Tapio Lehtinen's slow solo circumnavigation but the 110-day difference between his and Race winner Jean-Luc Van Den Heede's time was definitely enjoyable.

"I have certainly got my money's worth from the entry fee." Tapio had joked with Race organiser Don MacIntyre before his return to Les Sables d'Olonne at 20:21hrs on Sunday. "This is the best-organised race I have ever taken part in...And the most selfish thing I have ever done... It is the fulfilment of a life-long dream...I'm not enrolling myself just yet, but yes, absolutely, I would do it again!" the 61-year-old from Helsinki said at his press conference today. 

"Yet asked what was the lowest moment in the race, the answer appeared to cover several months. "I had been sailing neck-and-neck with Istvan Kopar across the Indian Ocean when suddenly he started to get away. I thought there must be something wrong - perhaps a fishing line caught in the propeller - and dived overside during a calm spell before the Hobart film drop to investigate. It was not a rope or net, but barnacles growing all over the hull. When I first saw them on the bottom, I knew my race was over."

Other skippers had taken the opportunity to clean their hulls during their compulsory 24 hour stop in Tasmania, but by the time Tapio and his Gaia 36 Asteria reached Storm Bay Australian authorities had put a stop to it. Careening hulls had to be undertaken beyond the 200-mile territorial waters.

Tapio readily admits to an aversion to sharks, so when he prepared to dive overside during a calm period after leaving Tasmania he recalled "I was tying my improvised boarding ladder to the boat in preparation of diving overboard and spotted this huge shark swim alongside the boat - and that was the worst day of my life."

Tapio was accompanied the last 10 miles to the finish by Bernard Moitessier's famous yacht JOSHUA a French entry in the original Golden Globe Race 50 years before. "I sense the smell of Tahiti in Les Sables" Tapio shouted across in reference to Moitessier's decision to foresake the success of finishing by continuing towards a second circumnavigation 'to save my soul' as he put it, before finally dropping anchor off the Pacific island.

Published in Solo Sailing
Tagged under
31st January 2019

Solo Sailing in Irish Waters

I enjoyed watching world sailing history being made this week as 73-year-old Jean-Luc Van Den Heede became the oldest man ever to complete and win a solo non-stop round-the-world race. After 212 days alone at sea he won the Golden Globe Race, finishing in Les Sables d’Olonne in France from where he had started last July and which is also his home port.

I enjoy a little bit of solo sailing myself and, considering the number of top solo sailors from France and the races which start from there, the sport and that section of it get a lot of support.

Watching the big blue spinnaker push Jean Van Den Heede in his 36-foot. Rambler, across the finish line on Tuesday morning in a turbulent sea, accompanied by a flotilla of boats, with hundreds of spectators ashore, I thought - “that should make a point about ageism and underline that sailing really is a “sport for all ages…”

The Golden Globe Race marked its 50th anniversary and the single-handed French Figaro Race, including Irish sailors Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy will mark its golden jubilee in Irish waters this Summer, with the opening leg of the three-race series from Nantes to Kinsale and a start from Kinsale to Roscoff. Other Irish solo sailors have also shown their abilities internationally.

"solo sailing here is still subject to Marine Notice No.24 issued in 2005"

But solo sailing here is still subject to Marine Notice No.24 issued in 2005, thirteen years ago, warning about solo sailing, which is still in effect. At least when I searched the Department’s website this week, I couldn’t find any indication that it had been withdrawn.

Marine notice solo sailingMarine Notice No.24 issued in 2005

It was controversial at the time, being interpreted as imposing a ban on solo sailing,, though it didn’t say exactly that. It warned about the requirement under the ColRegs – the International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions At Sea to “keep a proper lookout by sight and hearing at all times….”

I like a bit of quiet solo sailing myself aboard my Sigma 33 Scribbler in Cork Harbour and I’m very careful to keep a proper lookout, as there are a lot of commercial shipping movements in the harbour which have right-of-way. I’m also careful of insurance warnings I’ve seen about sailing alone. I’ve met like-minded sailors on the water and seen some racing solo when they couldn’t get crew.

Contrasting that with what I heard Tom Dolan describe in his series of club talks, makes me marvel at the ability of solo sailors.

Marine Notice No.24 of 2005 took a stern stance if a proper lookout wasn’t kept. The issue seems to be whether single-handers can do so effectively, especially when needing sleep. But one Coast Guard statement said that venturing to sea or on the water alone was “neither safe nor conducive to good seamanship."

The Marine Notice applied to “all vessels on the high seas and in all waters connected therewith, navigable by seagoing vessels.” That would include inshore waters and Cork Harbour and my Sigma is, potentially, “seagoing…”

Safety on the water must be taken seriously and an accident while alone can result in a dangerous situation.

The regulation is a warning about solo boating, including sailing, in Irish waters.

Are you aware of it?

Listen to the Podcast here

Published in Solo Sailing
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About boot Düsseldorf: With almost 250,000 visitors, boot Düsseldorf is the world's largest boat and water sports fair and every year in January the “meeting place" for the entire industry. From 18 to 26 January 2020, around 2,000 exhibitors will be presenting their interesting new products, attractive further developments and maritime equipment. This means that the complete market will be on site in Düsseldorf and will be inviting visitors on nine days of the fair to an exciting journey through the entire world of water sports in 17 exhibition halls covering 220,000 square meters. With a focus on boats and yachts, engines and engine technology, equipment and accessories, services, canoes, kayaks, kitesurfing, rowing, diving, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, SUP, fishing, maritime art, marinas, water sports facilities as well as beach resorts and charter, there is something for every water sports enthusiast.

At A Glance – Boot Dusseldorf 

Organiser
Messe Düsseldorf GmbH
Messeplatz
40474 Düsseldorf
Tel: +49 211 4560-01
Fax: +49 211 4560-668
Web: https://www.boot.com/

The first boats and yachts will once again be arriving in December via the Rhine.

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