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Displaying items by tag: La Solitaire du Figaro Dingle

#fullirish – Three days before the start of the Solitaire du Figaro now. I have still got a bit to do, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been very fortunate to sign two sponsors to my project this week, the Port of Cork and a French company le Comptoir Irlandais.

The Port of Cork is amazing for me as I took my first step afloat in Ireland's greatest stretch of water and its wonderful to have them onboard as I spread my wings abroad. Le Comptoir Irlandais is a fantastic partner and it has come about because of my boat's racing title FULL IRISH. That was a bit of a play on my identity in France, as you can see the boat sports a big tricolor in the mainsail and on the hull. The Comptoir Irlandais is a chain of 46 shops across France that sells everything in the food and clothing department that we do well in Ireland. They have a huge selection of Whiskeys, Irish foods and Irish woolen products. I believe they are the biggest client for Jameson in France. I guess I'm helping the export cause and I can't tell you how amazing this feels to be able to help our country as I compete in this race. Thanks to everyone for their help.

So on to the racing programme. We have a short Prologue race on Saturday to take us from Downtown Bordeaux to a small town called Pauillac half way down the Estuary, a bit like moving the show from Cork City Centre to Crosshaven only much further. This allows us to start Leg One on Sunday a mammoth 536 miles to Porto. So we race down the final 30 miles of the Gironde estuary before heading across the Bay of Biscay to Cape Finisterre and down the West coast of Spain and Portugal to Porto. Weather is looking to be OK for a relatively straight forward passage at the moment although our daily weather and strategy briefings with our brilliant coach Nico Berenger.

kenefick lecomptoir

Rolling out the new sponsors colours today in Bordeaux. Nice Shamrock! Photo: Brian Carlin

I ordered a new small jib recently which is due to show up today. When that arrives and I've put the food on the boat I'm about ready to go. I'll try and update again tomorrow but it is getting busy. I have to say though, I am fairly relaxed, the most I've ever been before an event. I hope this continues. More soon and thanks for your support.

Published in Figaro

#SoloArrimer – David Kenefick is racing in 21st position this morning after his first night at sea in the Solo Arrimer race in the Bay of Biscay. It is a 320 mile coastal race that has huge significance for the Royal Cork novice sailor as it is one of only two qualification chances for his goal of participation in the La Solitaire du Figaro race in two months time.

The 22-year-old Crosshaven sailor moved up two places into 20th position as he rounded the Pertuis Antioche Buoy at midnight.

The fleet  headed North for 90 miles through the night to Gouvé Vast Buoy near the Quiberon Peninsula. In building winds the fleet was on a two sail reach, a tough leg.

The testing Solo Arrimer race off Les Sables d'Olonne is against 25 of the world's top solo sailors. Former Irish Figaro solo sailor Paul O'Riain of Dublin commented:  'What a line up of solo sailors, it's the who's who of solo sailing; Le Cleac'h (the Jeckyl), Desjoyeaux (the professor), Elies, Duthil, Lunven, Beyou...Vendee winners, multiple Figaro winners, jesus you picked a good fight David for your first big outing, Love it.. brilliant.'

Kenefick is expected back into the French port of Les Sables d’Olonne in the small hours tomorrow (Sat).

Track David's progress here.

Published in 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 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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