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Northern Ireland solo sailor Andrew Baker has announced his support of UKSA’s youth development campaign ‘#SeaChange’ during the 2016 Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro.

#SeaChange provides life-changing opportunities to schools and groups, disadvantaged and disaffected young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and young offenders. A common theme for many of these individuals is the low expectation they have of themselves and #SeaChange challenges them to transform and to create opportunities for themselves.

By naming Baker’s blue and white Figaro #SeaChange ahead of the 1525nm race between Deauville, Cowes, Paimpol and La Rochelle, the sailor hopes to raise awareness of the initiative among sailing fans, the media and public across the United Kingdom. For UKSA, Baker is the perfect ambassador to inspire support.

“I’m proud to be supporting the #SeaChange campaign during the Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro and hope through my connection with UKSA and participation in this epic race I am able inspire young people to get into sailing,” he said.

Out sailing with his Dad as soon as he could walk, Baker recognises the importance of getting children into sailing at a young age and the life skills a career on the water can provide.

“#Seachange is a cause I can really relate to,” Baker continued. “I’ve been sailing since a very young age and I have learned so much from the sport. It teaches you about independence, hard work, motivation, determination, camaraderie, the environment and so much more. Being out on the water is such an invaluable experience and I fully support UKSA in their mission.”

The official charity of this year’s UK Solitaire stopover in Cowes, UKSA will be present in the Race Village between 22nd and 26th June offering try sailing, a sailing simulator, interactive game and fund raising.

Ben Willows, Chief Executive of UKSA, is proud to lend the name to Baker’s Figaro for the race, and looks forward to welcoming the sailor to Cowes in a week’s time.

“It is fantastic that Andrew has re branded his boat #SeaChange,” he said. “We are really proud to be a part of La Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro’s UK stopover and to share our #SeaChange message."

“Our ground breaking youth development programmes use water based activities to provide students with both the qualifications and skills to develop themselves. We see first-hand how confidence is developed, as young people are motivated by the prospect of a brighter future; re-engaging with education, further training or a successful transition into to employment.”

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

Strangford Lough sailor Hammy Baker is among a line up of British sailors from the Cowes-based Artemis Offshore Academy are looking to post strong results in the week-long Solo Maitre Coq race that starts from Les Sables d’Olonne today.

With several of the main Figaro competitors currently racing across the Atlantic in the Transat AG2R La Mondiale race, this year’s Solo Maitre Coq – the second of the main build-up races to the Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro in June – offers an opportunity for strong performances from both Artemis Offshore Academy alumni and rookies.

The Maitre Coq starts with two days of inshore racing off Les Sables d’Olonne. After a rest day on Wednesday, there is then a long 280-mile offshore race that could see the sailors at sea for up to three days. The key to a good result is consistency across both disciplines and stamina over what promises to be a tough week of racing in the 33ft Bénéteau Figaro II one-design fleet.

As well as Northern Ireland's Baker there are five British sailors on the 22-boat startline, three alumni sailors – Alan Roberts (Vasco de Gama), Nick Cherry (Redshift) and Hammy Baker (Artemis 64) – and three rookies in Will Harris (Artemis 77), Mary Rook (Artemis 37) and Hugh Brayshaw (Artemis 23).

With strong dinghy racing backgrounds, both Roberts and Cherry will be looking for a good start to the championship and will hope to be well up in the standings after the four inshore races. Baker, who is returning to racing alone after competing in the double-handed division of the Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten, is hoping to match them.

“My goal is to be in the top-half of the fleet and definitely top-10,” said the Ulsterman, “but then again I have only managed to get two days of training in since the Concarneau race, so I’ll have to see when I get out there…it’s a bit like riding a bike, when you have been off it for while you can still be a bit rusty.”

Among the British rookies Will Harris will be looking to continue the sparkling form he showed in the Solo Concarneau when he started brilliantly and then sailed confidently to finish top-rookie and sixth overall in a 23-boat fleet. Harris is hoping he can bring the same level of performance to the Maitre Coq.

“There is only one guy racing here who was ahead of me in the Concarneau race,” said Harris, aged 22 from Surrey. “In terms of achievement I wouldn’t put a result on it but I want to come away from the week feeling I have given it my all. It’s going to be a very different experience, especially because we have inshore racing this time. If you have a bad start, you haven’t got three days to catch-up. Every race counts and you can’t have a bad result in any of them.”

Charles Darbyshire, director of the Artemis Offshore Academy, is in Les Sables d’Olonne to keep eye on his charges and says the Solo Maitre Coq is another big step on the road to the Figaro for the rookies. “This will give the sailors a flavour of what it is like in the Solitaire in terms of rest and recovery time between races,” he said. “On Monday and Tuesday they will be off the dock at 9.00am and will not be back until seven after a long day on the water. Then they only have Wednesday to recover and plan for the long offshore race which will be two nights at sea.”

The weather forecast for Les Sables d’Olonne promises two light wind races today and then breezier conditions for tomorrow’s inshore contest. The long offshore race was looking like a thrash in 30-knots, but latest predictions suggest a wind range of 10-15 knots, giving a total passage time for the 280-mile course of up to three days.

Published in Figaro

Great Britain’s Will Harris was the stand-out performer in the opening race of the 2016 single-handed Figaro circuit, finishing in an impressive sixth place in a fleet of 23 boats on debut.

Harris, aged 22, from Surrey at the helm of Artemis 77, was the top rookie by some distance in the 342-mile Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten – a tough non-stop, two-day race along the French Brittany coast that saw bitterly cold and, at times, windy conditions.

Harris was one of three British newcomers to the Figaro racing circuit taking part in the Concarneau race who are currently learning their craft at the UK’s Cowes-based Artemis Offshore Academy. Harris was the first non-French skipper to finish the race which was won by France’s Charlie Dalin on Macif 2015.

Harris was delighted with his first performance as a professional and is hoping to maintain – and even improve on this form – as he continues his build-up to his first La Solitaire Bompard – Le Figaro race in June.

“I am very happy with my result but I think it is just a start,” said Harris, still recovering from a decidedly chilly baptism of fire. “It’s a result I still think I can improve on. I can keep working up the field – I am never happy until I am at the front and I was always gaining places, so I am happy with that.”

Harris started the way he finished, at the business end of the fleet, running in seventh place in the early stages. He believes his race management was key to his performance and was determined to try and make sure he got some sleep early in the race. He stuck to his plan, managing three 15-minute naps in the first 12 hours.

“I wanted to make sure I could keep my body going for the next two days and actually manage myself properly,” he said. “I think I slept much earlier than most of the fleet.”

Another key element was Harris’s boat speed in a range of conditions. He was always in or around the top-eight boats and was heartened to see that he could mix it with far more experienced French skippers. “I’ve learnt so much over the past few months of training,” he said. “It is so important to have those few months before going into the racing season where you are just fully focused on making the boat go fast on every point of sail.”

It was not all plain sailing though. Harris found he did not have adequate clothing to keep out the cold and by the second night at sea, he was forced to spend much of his time below as the boat powered through the night. He was also short of decent food and will look at both his clothing and food options before the next race – the Solo Maitre Coq which starts on April 15th.

Charles Darbyshire, the director of the Artemis Offshore Academy, was impressed by Harris’s debut. Harris had been working part time with the Academy over the past two years, while he was still a fulltime student at Southampton University, and Darbyshire believes this was the perfect background for him to learn from other skippers as he prepared to join the Academy himself.

“Will is showing how important the whole Academy experience is for young sailors. Clearly he has been listening and learning from the older sailors on the programme and now he is bringing all that he has leant to bear onto the racecourse. Will is already refining what he is doing on the water and this looks like being a very exciting rookie season for him,” said Darbyshire.

The two other Academy rookies Hugh Brayshaw (Artemis 23) and Mary Rook (Artemis 37) finished the race in 17th and 19th places respectively. Academy alumni sailors Nick Cherry (Redshift) and Alan Roberts (Vasco de Gama) finished ninth and 10th.

The next race on the Figaro calendar is the 320-mile Solo Maitre Coq that starts from Les Sables d’Olonne on the French Biscay coast on April 15th.

See the results in full below.

Follow the Artemis Offshore Academy squad via our website, Facebook and Twitter.

The double-handed division
Position/Co-skippers/Boat name

1. Yann Elies & Antoine Carpentier/Queguiner Leucemie Espoir
2. Sebastien Simon & Xavier Macaire/Bretagne CMB Performance
3. Adrien Hardy & Vincent Biarnes/AGIR Recouvrement
4. Gildas Morvan & Alexis Loison/Cercle Vert
5. Martin Le Pape & Eric Peron/Belloco Paysages
6. Sam Matson & Robin Elsey/Artemis 21
7. Milan Kolacek & Pierre Brasseur/Fulgur – Evapco
8. Andrew Baker & Nicolas Jossier/Artemis 64
9. Tanguy Le Turquais & Hervé Aubry/Cuisine Ixina
10. Tolga Ekrem/Stéphanie Jadaud/Freedom – Service á Domicile

The single-handed division
Position/Co-skippers/Boat name

1. Charlie Dalin/Skipper Macif 2015
2. Yoann Richomme/Skipper Macif 2014
3. Thierry Chabagny/Gedimat
4. Nicolas Lunven/Generali
5. Anthony Marchand/Ovimpex-Secours Populaire
6. Will Harris/Artemis 77
7. Bejamin Dutreux/Team Vendée
8. Corentin Douguet/Sofinther-Un Maillot Pour La Vie
9. Nick Cherry/Redshift
10. Alan Roberts/Vasco de Gama
11. Justine Mettraux/Teamwork
12. Marc Noesmoen/Team Vendée Formation
13. Arthur Le Vaillant/Un Bateau pour Demain
14. Damien Cloarec/Saferail
15. Claire Pruvot/Port de Caen Ouistreham
16. Aymeric Decrooco/Bretagne CMB Espoir
17. Hugh Brayshaw/Artemis 23
18. Pierre Casaux/Welcome to LA
19. Mary Rook/Artemis 37
20. Cécile Laguette/Cecile Cherche Sponsor
DNF – Sophie Faguet/Region Normandie
DNF – Yves Ravot/Hors La Rue
DNF – Arnaud Godart-Philippe/Faun Environnement

Published in Figaro

#Solo - French sailor Christophe Maupaté aims to follow in the wake of Ireland's own Enda O'Coineen in his attempt to be the first person to cross the Atlantic solo from Bordeaux to New York by RIB.

The Figaro veteran will set off on 16 July 2016 from Bordeaux heading north, via the Celtic and Irish Seas – including a stop-over in Dun Laoghaire – on an epic voyage that will see him trace a semi-circle around the North Atlantic.

That route takes Maupaté via the Orkneys, Iceland and the southern tip of Greenland to Canada's Maritimes provinces and onward to New York to coincide with a commemorative voyage by a replica of historic French general Lafayette's ship Hermione.

And he'll be doing it all single-handedly in a 7.5m RIB, a custom French-built Zeppelin, equipped with a Suzuki four-stroke outboard motor and Garmin navigation and communication devices.

The Atlantic has been crossed by RIB several times before, most notably by TV adventurer Bear Grylls and team in 2003 from Canada to Scotland, and more recently by the Brown brothers from Florida to London in 2009.

But the closest anyone's come to a solo RIB crossing was Enda O'Coineen, when he helmed the 5.5m Zodiac RIB Kilcullen III from Halifax in Nova Scotia to Dunmore East in the mid 1980s – a voyage recounted in his book The Unsinkable Kilcullen.

There is no Guinness World Record for O'Coineen's feat, so Maupaté aims to be the first into the books with his own incredible expedition of some 4,460 nautical miles.

More details can be found on the official Bordeaux -> New York in Solitare website HERE.

Published in Solo Sailing

#fullrish – Since my last blog update quite a lot has happened and as a result things have changed for my sailing campaign writes Figaro solo sailor David Kenefick.

As I said, after the Figaro I was tired and I needed to reflect on a lot of things. I needed some time to recover and reflect on the last 18 months of my life, which frankly has been a whirlwind. And luckily I have been able to do just that.

It was wonderful to come home after the Figaro in July and see so many friends and familiar faces and take time away from the campaign. As I set about recovering which, in fact took me about 4-5 weeks I began thinking about the future. It quickly became apparent there were two options: either keep sailing or finish my College course which I left over 2 years ago to take up the 'Full Irish' project.

The sailing option was made of mainly two different options. One of these was the possibility of trying to put together a 2016 Vendée Globe project. The Vendée Globe is a single-handed non-stop around the world race in IMOCA 60 sailing boats. It is the toughest sailing race on this planet and for sure is one of the toughest challenges known to man.

I thought about this project for a long time and even had a few meetings with people about it. It was then up to me to decide if I wanted to put myself forward and tell the world my crazy plans to have the first ever Irish boat in the Vendée Globe. The complexity of a project like this is not simple, while I took time to think there were a number of things running through my mind. Have I enough experience? Would I ever find the money that I needed? Would I be able to do a good job?

As the time came to try to put my young head on old shoulders I felt I wouldn't be able to find the correct ingredients to put a solid and safe campaign together along with the thought that sailing will always be there and there is a business degree to be finished. So it was back to college.

Today was my 10th day of college lectures the day it really hit home how much I'm going to miss the Figaro and how lucky I was to do two years in this tough and amazing fleet. One thing is for sure I've got more hunger than ever to do the Figaro race again but for now sailing is on hold.

I would like to thank all my sponsors and everyone who has helped me. A particular mention goes to Marcus Hutchison who introduced me to the Figaro and helped me so much.

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

#lasolitaire2014 – Ireland's David Kenefick is well placed in the 45th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire got underway yesterday at noon after the fleet had been moored for several hours off Deauville. Above vid has two nice shots of David in the think of it. Anthony Marchand (Ovimpex Secours Populaire) was first around the two inshore marks followed by Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) and David Kenefick (Full Irish) - a great start by the young Irishman who celebrates his 23rd birthday today.

The race didn't get off to the best start for two of the pre-race favourites. Yann Elies (Groupe Queguiner) and Charlie Dalin (Normandy Elite Team) were both recalled after being over the start line as were British sailors, Nick Cherry (Redshift) and Ed Hill (Macmillan Cancer Support). Yann, who is chasing a third consecutive Solitaire win was in last place as the fleet rounded the windward buoy.

In the rookie class, Artemis Offshore Academy member, Rich Mason (Artemis 77) made the best of the inshore course, rounding both marks in 12th place.

The latest weather briefings suggest the sailors are going to hit a transition in the wind when they reach the English coast, particularly between the Owers mark off the Isle of Wight and Start Point. Big splits in the fleet may occur at this point.

Stage one: Deauville to Plymouth, 484 nm.

Top Ten General Rankings as of 15:30BST Sunday (38 total skippers)

1. Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux)
2. Anthony Marchand (Ovimpex)
3. Sam Goodchild (Team Plymouth)
4. Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012)
5. Corentin Horeau (Bretagne - Credit Mutuel Performance
6. David Kenefick (Full Irish)
7. Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva)
8. Adrien Hardy (Agir Recouvrement)
9. Jeremie Beyou (Maitre Coq)
10 Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert)

At press time, only 2.36 miles separated the entire fleet.

Published in Figaro

#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.

Published in Figaro

#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.

Published in Figaro

#fullrish – This time last year I got my hands on the boat I was going to use for the next 12 months. I had wanted to try singlehanded offshore sailing since I could remember and at the ripe old age of 21 all my stars aligned and with help from many sources here I was. Port La Foret, the home of the Figaro class and most of the French offshore champions surrounded me. My boat was freshly launched with a bit of Irish identity plastered on to it. I knew I knew nothing at all but with my team manager Marcus Hutchinson, himself a four year veteran of the discipline, I took my first steps out into the bay with the boat and learnt the basics of how to hoist and drop a big mainsail on your own, who to hoist and retrieve the spinnaker on your own, how to gybe, tack, anticipate the actions required and basically how to make sure things are done in the right order so as to not exhaust myself. Very early on in the piece Marcus explained to me that short handed sailing was just one big exercise in energy management, whether it was ashore with boat preparation and looking after the body, or afloat in competition, knowing when to be a coiled spring and when to move at a slightly more reserved pace.

Twelve months later and where has the time gone. Since those initial ten days with Marcus I took the boat on a truck to the South of France and spent five months training, refining and learning whilst racing other Figaros in La Grande Motte. I met other sailors both French and non-French. The Artemis Offshore Academy boys were down there two. We have become great friends.

My first big event was in March this year. I learnt some difficult lessons. In the first offshore on a cold and windy leg I destroyed my mainsail, through no fault of my own. But the lesson was that it was my fault because there is no one to blame but the man in charge and that is me. During one of the inshore races I jagged the right side of the beat and rounded the top mark first. I thought I had won the world cup, but of course more experienced sailors got past me before the finish. I did it again in the last offshore leg of that event only to suffer terribly from tiredness and poor decision making to finish where I belonged, down the pan. But if I had won out of the bag I would never have learnt.

We moved the whole show to the Atlantic in April and two events followed, the Solo Arrimer and the Solo Concarneau in May. Lots of boats, suddenly the fleet was complete with all the really good guys. The first event was a 300-mile race up and down the French West coast. It started out really light in a huge sea. I started well and tacked to the right of the course with my all time hero – Michel Desjoyeaux. The short term made us look like the champion that he already was, but then the wind shifted back and we were both nearly a mile behind at the first windward mark. I then had to sail around the course in cold, wet, dark and at times up to 40 knot winds, to complete the course. A hard lesson to learn. Don't follow your hero, because there are champions everywhere on this course and I am not one of them. Mich of course pulled back all the way to the top ten, I limped home with just a couple of boats behind me, exhausted, dismayed and not really understanding what had happened! But that is where my coaching crew were there for. Until you do it you don't know. My coaches Nico Berenger and Marcus sat me and the other Artemis Offshore Academy lads down and we went through the race step by step. What were the key moments, what had the leaders done, why had they done it, what was the timing, when had they rested, how much had they eaten, how had it looked. There were always so many things to learn it was always overwhelming and it would have been easy to get disheartened but we just concentrated on what each race's three most important lessons were, across the whole group, and then applied them to our own preparation for the next race.

The pace kept getting quicker. Logistically it got harder and more demanding as we worked our way towards the start of the main race of the year the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro. We did as much as we could in the time available, always conscious that it would be easy to burn out early in the season and not get the most out of the opportunity in the big race.

The start of the Solitaire du Figaro was in Bordeaux, 70 miles up a very tidal river estuary. Logistically extremely complicated. Our little team of boats now numbered six and we pooled resources for shore side functions such as accommodation, shore crew and sail purchasing. We couldn't have done it any other way. The economies of scale made it financially possible to compete. But I hadn't appreciated the slog of the race week build-up. Right Downtown in a big city, huge amounts of media and public engagements for all skippers, weather and navigation to prepare and then all the boat and food considerations too. Again our shore team just removed everything from us allowing us to all concentrate on what would make our lives easiest, allowing us to have big siestas in the lead up so that our bodies were already into a disrupted sleep pattern before we started.

Just before the start sponsorship was secured which was a great help but came with the added complication of fulfillment. The most significant of these sponsors was the Comptoir Irlandais, a network of 50 shops scattered across France that sell Irish products only - from whiskeys to Barry's Tea, to woolens, to Tayto Crisps, to smoked salmon.... In a small way, the name of my boat Full Irish, had attracted them to me and I was now helping Irish exports to France by driving publicity to the shops and their products through the branding on my boat in this highly mediatized racing environment.

The start of the big race brought a huge number of guests, family and media, they all wanted a piece of me, they were all there for me. I hadn't appreciated how much it would take out of me. I was nervous for the start as the build up was huge and all I wanted to do was get going to the biggest sailing challenge of my life.

I started in the huge pack, tactically it was really complicated getting out of the river. Hundreds of spectator boats, helicopters, strong tide, a beat, shallow water, a big tactical decision early in the race... But in the back of my head I remembered my coaches' words. Just get out of the river, don't take risks, take your time and enjoy the experience, there would be 400 more miles to do things and have opportunities later on. What great advice that was. There were many other Rookies in the race. The favourite by far Simon Troel, went aground on a sandbank a couple of hours into the race and had to wait a full eleven hours before he could get off. Game over for him. I got out of the river unscathed apart from a little bump with something that wasn't on any chart!

The rest of the race to Porto, to Gijon, to Roscoff and to Dieppe, a total of 2000 miles of sleep deprevation, knocks, confusion, strong winds, light winds, fog, rain, rocks, tides, dramas and elation, I have written about already. I arrived in Dieppe at the end of June 3rd Rookie and 28th overall. I had completed the course, the youngest to do it that year – I had in fact turned 22 somewhere half way across the Bay of Biscay to shrieks of Happy Birthday to you/Bonne Aniversaire on the official race VHF Channel. Although on your own you are never alone. With 36 boats in the fleet for the most part you are always in site of at least a quarter of the fleet visually, half the fleet on AIS and just about everyone by VHF.


David Kenefick ducks a competitor in the Generali Solo. Photo: Alexis Courcoux

When I got to Dieppe I was destroyed. I had been warned about this period. I had become the fourth Irishman to complete the course over the race's 44-year history and was in a drunken haze and daze of extreme fatigue. I needed a break. I needed to reflect. I got the boat to Cowes, out of the water onto its cradle and went home to gather my thoughts. But this was the best time. Day by day I started to recover and realized I had achieved something. Worse was to come, as the days went by I realized this was the most amazing thing ever in the sailing world and the euphoria just wouldn't go away.

In the end we devised the second half of the season quickly. It was early July there were three big events left in the calendar, two of them two-handed (Fastnet and Tour of Brittany) and the last the Generali-Med which as the name suggests is in the Med.

When I was ready we started getting organized for the Fastnet Race which I sailed with Kinsale Dragon sailor Olaf Sorrensen. Then I did the Tour de Bretagne with Jeanne Gregoire, a very experienced Figaro racer, she had had more than her share of podium results over the previous few years. The goal was to really learn the Brittany coast and learn some tricks from an experienced sailor in a racing environment. Her part of the deal was to learn some English, but in reality it was another way for me to learn a bit more French.

In the background Marcus conjured up a deal for me to offset some of my costs for competing in the Med in September and as soon as I had completed the two handed race with Jeanne I was travelling South with my racing sails to prepare a borrowed boat for the Generali-Med.


David Kenefick at the helm of Full Irish in his first successful year on the Pro Circuit. Photo: Brian Carlin

There were fewer boats in this event, for obvious cost and logistical reasons. It meant that the middle of the fleet from a standard point of view was removed. So at one end we had the top 12 boats competing for the season prizes and then the rookies and locals to the Med who hadn't raced anywhere else that year. The Med is different. No tide for sure but everything else about it is different. The wind doesn't behave as we Atlantic seaboard people understand, but it is still a boat race. This event was a mix of long offshore legs, not unlike the Solitaire, and two days of inshore racing at each of the stopovers. The balance of points meant that the combined value of all inshore races, amounting to 12 in the end, was worth the same as just one of the offshore legs.

I have just finished that event in 12th place from 17 starters. I was the best 2013 Rookie in this event and combined with my Solitaire du Figaro Rookie result I am the best newcomer in 2013. There is a reason the Rookie prize is there. No one comes into this scene and performs at the top in their first year. It can't be done and I now know why. If you had asked me about it 12 months ago I wouldn't have understood its value. Today I totally do and that is why I am more than excited about next year. I have five big priorities I want to work on for next year and I want to go out and do it all again and use the knowledge and experience from this year. It's a big challenge and the lessons I'm learning will be more than valuable for my whole life be it in sailing or any other activity.

Thanks for all your support, I'll keep you posted as we go forward.

Home next week for a long rest and to start preparing next years budget for sponsorship proposals.



Published in Figaro
Tagged under

#fullirish – Royal Cork's David Kenefick is among 17 Figaro Benetau sailors in the Generali Solo 2013 left Cavalaire-sur-Mer on Sunday heading for Barcelona. A few miles after the start the race organisers announced a modification of the original route (435 miles) due to light winds over a large part of the stage. Currently the solo Irish sailor is placed 15th. Event website here.

The wind dropped in the middle of night. This morning Adrien Hardy (Recovery Act) is still ahead of Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) and Yoann Richomme (DLBC).

Since the passage of Cape Sicie at sunset, sailors nonetheless gained some miles, a little more than expected. The head of the fleet is now 140 miles distant from Barcelona. They crossed that night back and now continue on their way.. slowly pushed this morning at 5 o'clock by one knot of wind. The only good point is that with a wind shift they can now sail a direct course.

Top five at 5 AM local time:

1. Agir Recouvrement (Adrien Hardy)
2. Skipper Macif 2012 (Fabien Delahaye)
3. DLBC (Yoann Richomme)
4. Skipper Herault (Xavier Macaire)
5. Generali (Nicolas Lunven)

Generali Solo is a race in stages taking place in the Mediterranean Sea on Figaro Beneteau 2.

First stage: Cavalaire-Sur-Mer to Barcelona
Second: Barcelona to Beaulie Sur Mer (Departure September 25)
Third: Beaulieu-Sur-Mer to Sete, (Departure October 2)

Generali Solo is the final round of Solo Championship Elite de course au Large and has a coefficient of 4 in the overall standings. Provisional classification of the championship (top five)

1. DLBC, Yoann Richomme, 57 points
2. Cercle Verte, Gildas Morvan, 88
3. Skipper MACIF 2012. Fabien Delahaye, 89
4. Groupe Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies, 95
5. Bretagne Credit Mutuel Performance, Anthony Marchand, 103

Published in Figaro
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