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Kenefick Race Position Unclear in Solo Concarneau Race

7th May 2013
Kenefick Race Position Unclear in Solo Concarneau Race

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.

Published in Figaro Team

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The Solitaire du Figaro, was originally called the course de l’Aurore until 1980, was created in 1970 by Jean-Louis Guillemard and Jean-Michel Barrault.

Half a decade later, the race has created some of France's top offshore sailors, and it celebrates its 50th anniversary with a new boat equipped with foils and almost 50 skippers Including novices, aficionados and six former winners.

The solo multi-stage offshore sailing race is one of the most cherished races in French sailing and one that has had Irish interest stretching back over 20 years due to the number of Irish stopovers, usually the only foreign leg of the French race.

The race has previously called to Dingle, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Howth and Dun Laoghaire.

In 2013 Royal Cork's David Kenefick raised the bar by becoming a top rookie sailor in the race

In 2018, for the first time Ireland will have two Irish boats in the offshore race thanks to Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy who join the rookie ranks and keep the Irish tricolour flying high in France. 

The 2019 course is more Than 2,000 miles between Nantes, Kinsale (Ireland), Roscoff and Dieppe and is the longest in the race's history.


At A Glance – Figaro Race

  • It starts in June or July from a French port.
  • The race is split into four stages varying from year to year, from the length of the French coast and making up a total of around 1,500 to 2,000 nautical miles (1,700 to 2,300 mi; 2,800 to 3,700 km) on average.
  • Over the years the race has lasted between 10 and 13 days at sea.
  • The competitor is alone in the boat, participation is mixed.
  • Since 1990, all boats are of one design.

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