#figaro – If solo sailor David Kenefick successfully completes completes tomorrow's 'Lien Cartographie Solo Arrimer' race he officially qualifies for this Summer's Figaro race, a long held ambition for the young Munster sailor.
The race at 320nm miles is the longest the Crosshaven sailor will have completed to date in his boat Aquarius. He's also lining up against the best French skippers (See below for entry list)
Organised by the Water Sports Sablais since 2003 Sables d'Olonne, the Solo STOW runs between the islands of Ré, Yeu and Belle-Ile on the French West Coast.
While a large depression, accompanied by high winds, is poised to sweep west over France today, the weather files show a weaker low pressure system from Thursday.
There will be plenty of competition from previous Vendee Globe sailors plus he's also racing against Michel Desjoyeaux, (a three time Figaro winner) and (two time Vendee globe winner) but the Irish sailor says he has something of an advantage in that he is in Desjoyeaux's old boat after chartering it for the year!
Full list of entries below:
Joan Ahrweiller / REGION NORMANDY, Jeremiah BEYOU / MASTER COCK, Henry Bomby / Zhik - MADE FOR WATER, Jack Bouttell / ARTEMIS 77; Thierry Chabagny / GEDIMAT, Nick CHERRY / ARTEMIS 23; Michel DESJOYEAUX / TBS; Frédéric DUTHIL / Sepalumic; Yann ELIES / GROUP QUEGUINER LEUKEMIA HOPE, Matthew GIROLET / LAFONT PRESS, Sam GOODCHILD / VASCO DE GAMA, Edmund HILL / ARTEMIS 37; Benoit HOCHART / AQUARIUS: David Kenefick / FULL IRISH; Morgan LAGRAVIERE / VENDEE; Gilles LE BAUD / Carnac Thalasso & SPA , Armel LE CLEAC'H / CREDIT; Yannig Livory / THERMACOTE France; Alexis Loison / Group FIVA Nicolas LUNVEN / GENERALI; Xavier MACAIRE / SKIPPER HERAULT, Paul Meilhat / SKIPPER MACIF 2011, Jean-Pierre Nicol / BERNARD CONTROLS, Claire PRUVOT / PORT DE CAEN OUISTREHAM; Frederic RIVET / DFDS SEAWAYS; Julien VILLION / Seixo HABITAT.
Update from David:
Well this is it. It's the night before the start of the Solo Arrimer Race. We are in Les Sables, in the Atlantic, with the tide and of course the beautiful, not, Spring weather. The pictures I posted on my facebook page two days ago were a freak window of sun and light winds before the rot set back in and it has been blowing over 30 knots ever since. Today it barely stopped raining. But that is the lot of a solo sailor. Get up and get on with it.
It's a long course they have set us, the longest I've sailed at 305 miles, but ironically it may end up being only 36 hours in duration as there is plenty of wind and it is mostly a reach up and down the French coast. We head initially South East to pass inside ile de Ré and under the bridge that joins it to the mainland by La Rochelle, before heading North all the way up inside Belle Isle to a mark just off the tip of the Quiberon Penninsula. We then return via Les Sables d'Olonne to round Ile de Ré again, but this time in the other direction before heading to the finish line again.
My objectives for the race are, number one to finish the race, number two to stay in touch with the legends that have also entered the race too for as long as possible, and three to gather as much experience as possible.
I've learnt this week about the unbelievable amount of preparation that goes into entering and being cleared to race. The amount of paperwork is unbelievable but all necessary. We have been working hard on weather and navigation briefings as the start time rolls closer and we have a better idea of what we will experience on the weather side and hence at what time and what state of the tide we will round the marks on the course. We have been checked by safety scrutineers, sail measurers, the press and of course Mathilde at the Class association has diligently helped us all with the certificates for this and that and the other ,... oh and the PLB battery expiration date!
Safety is a serious business and no one takes it lightly. I already appreciate more now than I did a week ago about why things are done the way they are done. Being in this environment for a week allows us to learn from the older and more experienced skippers about their preparation, what their priorities are and where our own preparation is lacking.
Anyway, now it's like the night before your final school exams. The revision has been done to a greater or lessor extent, there is not much more we can do except be fresh in the morning and go out and do it. The exam results should be known sometime in the small hours of Saturday morning when we cross the finish line here again in Les Sables d'Olonne.