When you run a race of the calibre of the Solo Concarneau without a tracking system it is extremely frustrating to try and work out what is really going on writes Marcus Hutchinson, team manager to David Kenefick.
There will be only two accurate rankings for the fleet taken with the race committee, one will be at the Brivideaux lighthouse that the fleet will probably reach late this afternoon or early evening and the second is obviously the finish line where we expect to have the leaders approaching late afternoon on Wednesday. There are some other provisional rankings established using the coastguard radar stations supplemented with the competitors all calling in after they have gone round but as one can imagine these aren't particularly reliable. Then there is the AIS system.
The racing names of the boats and the registered names to the AIS systems are not the same so a look up sheet is required to identify who is who.
Then it doesn't ever update all the boats' positions at the same time, and it really only works for fleet following when the fleet is near a powerful radar station, of which there are several along the coast in France. But there are also many areas that just aren't covered, probably 60-70% in total.
So to cut a long story short when we left David Kenefick and his Full Irish yesterday he was sailing in 8 knots of wind, in 9th place and heading towards the Raz de Sein with his spinnaker set. The ranking published this morning had him in 23rd at the most Northerly mark, effectively the leeward mark. But it isn't to be trusted too much. The reason for this is that boats that were behind him on the ranking that do appear on the AIS are placed in the leading pack, pretty much where they were when we left them last night. David's AIS is not showing up, if you see a boat called Ilidian that is him.
The fleet is on the wind right now in about 10 knots of wind beating towards the Pointe de Pen March. The next significant mark on the course is the Brivideaux lighthouse just near the Quiberon Penninsula where we will get a decent committee boat generated ranking sometime late this afternoon.