Tom Dolan of Meath and longtime colleague Francois Jamboux of Concarneau revived the spark of previous joint successes with a scorcher of a race with Smurfit Kappa in the 400-mile Drheam Cup from Cherbourg to La Trinite sur Mer via the south coast of England. But though they were showing as leaders in class for frequent periods in the Figaro 3 Duo division, in the end late this afternoon at the finish line they were 5 minutes and 40 seconds adrift on Pierre Leboucher in Guyot Environnement, after a ding-dong battle between the two boats over many miles.
Ireland’s other entry, Kenneth Rumball and Pamela Lee of Dun Laoghaire in RL Sailing, have a steep learning curve, as they were 42 miles astern as the Dolan-Jamboux team finished. But in fact it has been quite a learning curve for everyone, as the hundred strong fleet included many boats which would normally be a force to be reckoned with in open RORC and UNCL racing. Yet up against the top Figaro 3 skippers in prime fighting trm, they found themselves being out-classed and left behind on the water, with a sensational performance being put in by UK sailor Sam Goodchild of Falmouth.
Now a hardened veteran of the Figaro circuit, Goodchild put in a virtuoso showing in his Figaro 3 despite choosing the solo option. When he wasn’t leading on the water he was very near it, and he stayed ahead with some very much bigger more fully-crewed boats behind him, indisputably taking line honours over the entire fleet - solo, duo and fully-crewed - this afternoon, all of a cool 45 minutes ahead of the next boat, Bretagne CMB Espoir, which is also a solo–sailed Figaro 3.
Further comment is superfluous. This afternoon is when the top Figaro solo sailors showed the international offshore racing community what Senior Hurling afloat is all about.