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Kenefick's 'Full Irish' in 28th as Figaro Fleet Reaches Plymouth

12th June 2014
Kenefick's 'Full Irish' in 28th as Figaro Fleet Reaches Plymouth

#lasolitaire2014 – Royal Cork's David Kenefick has completed his first leg of the 2014 La Solitiare du Figaro, arriving into the British port of Plymouth yesterday. Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva) won his first ever leg of La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cashemire this afternoon as he crossed the line in Plymouth at 14:53:50. This is the Frenchman's second win in the city - he was victorious in last year's Fastnet race, sailing double-handed with his Dad. Loison's decision to stay East of the fleet as they raced from Roscoff to Plymouth paid off. When the wind died he had a better angle for the approach to Plymouth Sound.

Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) won the battle of the solo skippers who had opted for the direct route under tight spinnaker. He crossed the line 7 minutes after Loison and two minutes ahead of Jeremie Beyou (Maitre Coq). Beyou is chasing a third Solitaire win this year.

23 year old Sam Matson (Artemis 21) arrived in Plymouth at 15:52:39 in 12th place. An impressive result for the Plymouth University graduate in his first ever Solitaire leg. Matson finished as top British sailor and top of the 'bizuth' or rookie class for first time entrants.

This first leg saw the 38 solo sailors make three channel crossings over the 484 mile leg. Keeping the boat and themselves going was difficult at times.

This is the first time the race has ever been to Plymouth's Sutton Harbour and the first time in 11 years that it's been to the UK. The sailors were greeted with blue skies and a warm welcome. Time now for them to catch-up on some sleep before the start of Leg 2 on Saturday evening.

Order of arrival in Plymouth
1. Alexis Loison (Groupe Fiva) Arrived at 14:53:50
2. Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) 15:01:17
3. Jeremie Beyou (Maitre Coq) 15:03:32
4. Charlie Dalin (Normandy Elite Team) 15:06:06
5. Erwan Tabarly (Armor Lux) 15:08:24
6. Gildas Morwan (Cercle Vert) 15:09:34
7. Paul Meilhat (SMA) 15:10:26
8. Thierry Chabagny (Gedimat) 15:15:18

Order of arrival of British / Irish Sailors

12. Sam Matson (Artemis 21) 15:52:39
22. Henry Bomby (Red) 16:43:34
25. Jack Bouttell (GAC Pindar) 17:16:00
26. Alan Roberts (Artemis 23) 17:24:10
27. Rich Mason (Artemis 77) 17:31:33
28. David Kenefick (Full Irish) 17:31:41
31. Sam Goodchild (Team Plymouth) 17:35:28
32. Nick Cherry (Redshift) 17:41:57
37. Ed Hill (Macmillan Cancer Support) 16 miles to go.

www.lasolitaire.com

Published in Figaro
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Ireland & La Solitaire du Figaro

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 celebrated 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.

What Irish ports have hosted The Solitaire du Figaro?

The race has previously called to Ireland to the following ports; Dingle, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Howth and Dun Laoghaire.

What Irish sailors have raced The Solitaire du Figaro?

So far there have been seven Irish skippers to participate in La Solitaire du Figaro. 

In 1997, County Kerry's Damian Foxall first tackled the Figaro from Ireland. His win in the Rookie division in DHL gave him the budget to compete again the following year with Barlo Plastics where he won the final leg of the race from Gijon to Concarneau. That same year a second Irish sailor Marcus Hutchinson sailing Bergamotte completed the course in 26th place and third Rookie.

In 2000, Hutchinson of Howth Yacht Club completed the course again with IMPACT, again finishing in the twenties.

In 2006, Paul O’Riain became the third Irish skipper to complete the course.

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 had two Irish boats in the offshore race thanks to Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy who joined the rookie ranks and kept the Irish tricolour flying high in France. Mulloy became the first Irish female to take on the race.

Tom Dolan in Smurfit Kappa competed for his third year in 2020 after a 25th place finish in 2019. Dolan sailed a remarkably consistent series in 2020 and took fifth overall, the best finish by a non-French skipper since 1997 when Switzerland’s Dominique Wavre finished runner up. Dolan wins the VIVI Trophy.

Dolan finished 10th on the first stage, 11th on the second and seventh into Saint Nazaire at the end of the third stage. Stage four was abandoned due to lack of wind. 

Also in 2020, Dun Laoghaire’s Kenneth Rumball became the eleventh Irish sailor to sail the Figaro.

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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