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July's Offshore Racing Academy; La Trinite to Cowes, Cork Week and a Solo Concarneau!

12th August 2022
Kenny Rumball racing upwind in the Solo Concarneau
Kenny Rumball racing upwind in the Solo Concarneau Credit: Pilpre A/Studio Marlea

Learning point this year! Take a break, and accommodate rest into your programme.

Kenny was very much told this at the start of the year, but like most stubborn offshore sailors, he politely chose to ignore it and quickly learnt why.

After the successful Round Ireland race on Darkwood, there was hardly a few days before he was off to the airport on another race, this time coaching a brand new Sunfast 3300 for a Polish owner based in France.

Believe the hype, folks; Dublin Airport to travel from at the beginning of July was as the media portrayed… NUTS! Despite many travel delays, Kenny made it to the familiar La Trinite Sur Mer for the La Trinite to Cowes race, approximately 300 miles sailing double-handed on a brand new, out-of-the-box Jeanneau SunFast 3300. Kenny's brief was to figure out the performance of this boat and coach the Polish Skipper with offshore racing shorthanded. The course was familiar to Kenny, up through a regular route of the North West of France as experienced many times in the Figaro Circuit.

Onboard the SF330 for La Trinite to CowesOnboard the SF330 for La Trinite to Cowes

A quick lunch with fellow competitor Tom Dolan from the Figaro where the advice was, 'Just sail it like the Figaro!' That they did, showing impressive speed compared to the other 3300s. Kenny and his student used their fractional code 0 sail to its full advantage right from the start in LA Trinite. A navigational error by Penmarch put the duo on the back foot but using Adrena software to its full advantage; these errors put the SunFast 3300 MyWay to the top again, coming through the notorious tidal passage through the Pointe du Raz!

With the tide turning against them after 'The Raz', sailing through the rock around the 'Chenal du Four', the duo put significant miles on their competitors that they held to Cowes! A successful maiden race for the boat and a happy owner that now had a complete sail selection plan and updated polars on Adrena thanks to Kenny's coaching efforts…

Keeping rest in mind, Kenny flew directly from Cowes to Cork for Cork Week to sail his coveted 1720… A great break from offshore sailing and a chance to sail inshore with friends despite the wait due to Covid over the last few years, Cork Week did not disappoint! We're keeping the focus on Offshore sailing, but check out the video from the week below…. 

After Cork Week, Kenny finally took some rest away from sailing ahead of the last warm-up event before the year's culmination, the Solitaire du Figaro! This warm-up event is the Solo Concarneau, a 400-mile sprint and the last time to check sail selections and settings and experiment before the Solitaire.

Some young visitors arrive to the Solo Concarneau boat parkSome young visitors arrive to the Solo Concarneau boat park

Kenny's boat, number 20 through the Academy, had been on charter to a Swiss team for the Dhream Cup in France. A few days of prep work were needed before the event. While most people spend their birthdays with fun activities and relaxation, it was business as usual in Port La Foret, cleaning and polishing before the Solo Concarneau.

With relatively strong winds forecast, the Figaro fleet merged in Concarneau for this last shakedown test; many skippers opted to change from using their new sails for the Solitaire to using slightly older sails so as not to put the new sails through unwanted stress or put anything at risk before the Solitaire. A modified course took the skippers out of Concarneau, north through the notorious tidal passage of the Raz de Sein, just southwest of Quessant before a long southerly leg to Les Sables d'Olonne before a return leg back up North to Concarneau, with the current weather forecast it was essentially a beat North, broad reach south before a fetch back home.

The Solo Concarneau prizegivingThe Solo Concarneau prizegiving

For Kenny, the race was about getting back into the boat, feeling like Bambi off the start; Kenny was disappointed with silly mistakes in the Port La Foret Bay. However, he quickly got back into it, taking place slowly but surely at every stage of the race. Gaining through the night but the Northmost mark, Kenny rounded alongside fellow Irish countryman Tom Dolan. Downwind towards Les Sables via the Birvideaux lighthouse, Kenny picked off places one by one with promising boatspeed, meaning Tom and Kenny crossed paths again at the Petit Barge buoy off Les Sables.

Wind dying as forecast on the way into Concarneau, Kenny crossed the line in 17th position out of 34 starters, a solid result for a shakedown event.

There is not much time before the year's main event for the Figaro fleet, the Solitaire du Figaro! The 2000-mile solo marathon is no joke. This event kicks off next week; check back later for a full update; in the meantime, Kenny and the rest of the Solo Sailors will be found resting and sleeping!

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.

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