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Offshore Racing Academy Sailors to Compete in April's Solo Maitre Coq Race

14th April 2022
Kenny Rumball's Offshore Racing Academy Figaro 3 racing in France title=
Kenny Rumball's Offshore Racing Academy Figaro 3 racing in France

Another month has raced by in France, the UK and Ireland with projects, programmes and lectures in all countries, all dedicated to offshore yacht racing, learning and development.

March started off with the Classe Figaro Academy training race of which a full report can be read here

In essence, it was incredibly windy with Kenny Rumball and Timothy Long securing a 5th place finish across two races! When we say windy, really windy, 35-40kts coming off the start line, see a video of what the first 12 hours of the race was like below: 

Shortly after this race, there was some relocation to Port la Foret to help out a new Irish JPK 10.30 with father and son duo Justin and Nathan Burke! Enough about what I have to say, here is Justin Burke’s take on the few days I spent with them and some outside sessions we organised…

Most club sailors see racing as part training but to train efficiently you need a coach. Coaching brings structure, a wealth of knowledge and focus. A coach will also bring a measurement/review structure that is rarely done professionally after racing. If you lose the race no one wants to indulge in the blame game and if you win, it's off to the bar.

Having raced FF15 and SB20 over the past 2 decades I recently bought a cruiser-racer boat. Aside from the new format of passage racing, I was confronted with the latest range of electronics. I likened this to making a phone call 20 years ago in a public phone box with press button A and then being handed the later iPhone and expecting to learn on the hoof. You can learn by trial and error if you have the patience and time. But at some stage, you will recognise that the sport of sailing is one of the few sports that does not have a strong and broad infrastructure for coaching. Arranged by the Offshore Racing Academy, Christian Dumard gave an excellent tutorial on how to use Windy, and learn what weather to expect during your passage. Also, we received an in-depth session, on how to use Adrena the most advanced racing navigational software, coupled with this we were given a course on NKE hardware, this included racing with the autohelm. There is no way we would have been able to puzzle this out without professional help. We received on the water coaching, all the time incorporating the NKE and Adrena navigational system. All 3 together were challenging, as it's easier to think you can race by the seat of your pants but when you see what the pros are using, you see there are more options. We also received a review of calibration of equipment and boat set up, all I can say is what you don’t know won't hurt you but will lose you the race.

Cut the learning curve, get coached and enjoy the new knowledge. It might even help your results.

While in Port La Foret, we spent one evening with our initial series of talks ahead of the Irish Offshore circuit for 2022, hosting an evening on an Introduction to Offshore Sailing. This introductory talk was to break down and simplify some of the barriers and misinformation about offshore sailing. We were stunned by the sign-ups with 120 registering interest and 101 attending the online talk! A great two hours with lots of interesting questions and proof there is considerable interest in Offshore racing in Ireland!

With little to no rest, it was off to the UK for a training weekend, back in the world of IRC! Certainly was a step back to familiar territory for Kenneth, sailing back on board a boat with 5 other persons on board! Two 30 miles races Saturday and Sunday, more on this to follow in the next few months!

Back to France for one of the last training weeks before the upcoming Solo Maitre Coq…. We were back in La Rochelle for four days of sailing, mainly focusing on sail testing of the options from the different sailmakers! We had test sails from North Sails, Delta, Incidence and Technique Voile. A superbly interesting week allowing our training group to sail with and investigate the changes in the designs for 2022. This allows us to make informed decisions about our choice of sails for the upcoming season and our main focus the Solitaire du Figaro in August! Don’t worry it’s not always hard work, we treat ourselves from time to time too, see below!

Figaro sailors relaxing at a meal

To say we squeezed a lot in would be an understatement so there was a very welcome return home to Ireland due at the end of the month! To round up the month, we had our second seminar with world-renowned weather router Christian Dumard who showed the huge advantages of Windy.com and how to use it to its best extent for offshore racing. Once again we had a phenomenal turnout with over eighty sign-ups on our website for the course.

Coming up next we have the Solo Maitre Coq in the month of April, we will give a full report on the race once we have completed it, but to give you a flavour of what we have coming up…

The first event of the 2022 season of the Figaro Bénéteau Class, the Solo Maître Coq will be hosted this year from April 15 to 24 in Les Sables d’Olonne the same port that the Vendee Globe starts and finishes from. This year there is a significant change in that the long offshore race will be run before the in-shore courses to better reflect current events and the return of the Fair-Expo to the Vendée Globe square between April 21 and 24. 

Solo Maître Coq

The Grande Course will take skippers around the islands of Ré, Yeu and Belle-Île. This long offshore course runs North and then back South with a length of approximately 240 nautical miles. It is expected this race will take the skippers approximately three days at sea to complete the course. 

Then, for two days, the skippers will compete on two short courses of approximately 30 miles in the bay of Les Sables d'Olonne, giving spectators the chance to see the Offshore boats and sailors compete within distance of the shore!

For this year, there will be three Irish competitors in the race. Tom Dolan will be back for his fifth turn of this course while Kenneth Rumball will be on his second attempt.  New for 2022 will be Conor Fogerty a well-known and proven offshore sailor!  The full list of sailors can be found here 

Don’t forget to track the competitors here over the course of the offshore and inshore races here

Published in INSS
Kenneth Rumball

About The Author

Kenneth Rumball

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Kenny Rumball is the Principal of the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. He is a multi dinghy champion and offshore sailor. In 2018 he was awarded the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Seamanship Trophy for a Man Overboard Rescue in the Round Ireland Race. In May 2020 he embarked on a mixed offshore doublehanded keelboat campaign with Pamela Lee.

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The Irish National Sailing and Powerboat School is based on Dun Laoghaire's West Pier on Dublin Bay and in the heart of Ireland's marine leisure capital.

Whether you are looking at beginners start sailing course, a junior course or something more advanced in yacht racing, the INSS prides itself in being able to provide it as Ireland's largest sailing school.

Since its establishment in 1978, INSS says it has provided sailing and powerboat training to approximately 170,000 trainees. The school has a team of full-time instructors and they operate all year round. Lead by the father and son team of Alistair and Kenneth Rumball, the school has a great passion for the sport of sailing and boating and it enjoys nothing more than introducing it to beginners for the first time. 

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Set up by Alistair Rumball in 1978, the sailing school had very humble beginnings, with the original clubhouse situated on the first floor of what is now a charity shop on Dun Laoghaire's main street. Through the late 1970s and 1980s, the business began to establish a foothold, and Alistair's late brother Arthur set up the chandler Viking Marine during this period, which he ran until selling on to its present owners in 1999.

In 1991, the Irish National Sailing School relocated to its current premises at the foot of the West Pier. Throughout the 1990s the business continued to build on its reputation and became the training institution of choice for budding sailors. The 2000s saw the business break barriers - firstly by introducing more people to the water than any other organisation, and secondly pioneering low-cost course fees, thereby rubbishing the assertion that sailing is an expensive sport.

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