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Kenefick & Sorensen Sign Up For Double–Handed Fastnet Race

6th August 2013
Kenefick & Sorensen Sign Up For Double–Handed Fastnet Race

#fullirish – David Kenefick sailing in his rookie year in the single handed Figaro fleet in his boat "The Full Irish" has teamed up with leading international Dragon sailor Olaf Sorensen from Kinsale to sail double handed in the forthcoming Fastnet race.
David finished the demanding multi-leg Figaro Race in 28th place, some 12 hours and 14 minutes behind the leader and third of the seven Rookies. Now in its 44th year and following Damian Foxall , Marcus Hutchinson and Paul O'Riain, 22–year–old David has become the fourth and youngest-ever Irish skipper to finish this legendary race. David has been involved in a gruelling training schedule in France since December 2012 under the tutelage of Marcus Hutchinson, the Irish offshore racer. David is a brother of the 2011 winner of the Irish Helmsman's Championships, George and has already acquired a reputation a leading inshore and offshore racing skipper and looks set to follow in the footsteps of Damian Foxall on the highly competitive international professional circuit.
The Figaro boats which are usually sailed singlehanded are stripped out uncompromising racing machines with absolutely no creature comforts with very basic facilities for preparing food. They are water ballasted to compensate for the lack of crew weight and can achieve amazing speeds downwind with their powerful rigs and large spinnakers.
For the biennial Fastnet race the Figaro boats must sail two handed to comply with ORC regulations and David looked to fellow Cork based sailor Olaf Sorensen to undertake this daunting challenge. It is a unique blend of age and experience. Olaf is an experienced small boat racer with a successful background in Flying Fifteens and Dragons. In recent years he was the most successful Irish Dragon racing in Europe achieving several notable wins and top 5 placings in large competitive fleets, including winning the Italian Nationals from a fleet of over 50 boats. Olaf has just completed a transatlantic crossing, delivering a 55–foot Jeanneau from Antigua to Gibraltar.
Last week the pair undertook training and familiarisation which included participation in what transpired to be predominantly a moderate airs Channel race. "The Figaro boats are unbelievably quick requiring 100% concentration all the time and they are very physical" was Olaf's initial assessment of his experience. In his late 50's, Olaf will be the oldest competitor sailing in a Figaro boat in the Fastnet race but he is confident his strict fitness regime will stand to him over the 5/ 6 days of the race. David on the other hand is looking forward to the extensive experience Olaf can contribute during such a long race and believe they will make a formidable albeit unusual team.

Published in Fastnet
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The Rolex Fastnet Race - This biennial offshore pilgrimage attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge. For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.  The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish is in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Plymouth. The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
  • Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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