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Displaying items by tag: Solo Maître Coq

Ireland will have two solo entries in next week's Solo Maitre Coq offshore race for the first time which starts and finishes in Les Sables d’Olonne.

Tom Dolan of County Meath and Kenny Rumball of Dun Laoghaire Harbour will go head to head in the Figaro3 Solo race, an important season starter that will ultimately see both campaigns compete in the gruelling Figaro race rescheduled for this September.

The pair will compete in an international 30-boat fleet that has some of the biggest stars in French solo sailing.

Since relaunching at the beginning of June the Brittany based racer, Dolan, from Kells, has been accumulating hours on his Figaro Beneteau Smurfit Kappa and, as Afloat reported here, is now making final preparations for what will be the first race of the season.

This will be Kenny Rumball's race debut since launching his campaign for September's Figaro circuit, as Afloat reported here, with a daily training routine on Dublin Bay over the past month. Rumball is now heading back to France preparing for the 270-mile Solo Maitre Coq and his first taste of the French offshore circuit and bringing with him some domestic competition for Dolan.

The fleet is packed with offshore sailing stars including Armel Le Cléac’h the IMOCA world champion in 2008 and French champion in a single-handed yacht race in 2003. Le Cléac’h notably won the Solitaire du Figaro twice and has finished second twice in the Vendée Globe.

Dolan has previously raced the Solo Maitre Coq, an important race on the Figaro circuit, finishing mid-fleet in 2019 as has Royal Cork's David Kenefick who took 17th place in the 2014 edition.

The full 2020 entry list is here

Published in Solo Sailing

#fullirish – David Kenefick has finished 17th out of 35 starters in the Solo Maitre Coq race. The mid–fleet finish in the 270–mile opener to the 2014 season is a strong result for the Irish Sailor of the Year.  Here the Royal Cork sailor recounts his race, a game of four quarters.

The first part was light, very light and so light that for long periods we just hung there waiting for something to fill in. The race committee needed three starts to get us all off the line. I had had two great starts in the middle of the line as you can see from the photo, but the third was not my best. The line was short for 38 boats and that makes it even more critical to get off in good shape. I really struggled to get going on the first beat and as the wind was dying I struggled more. By the time I got to the first mark I was one of the tail-enders and it was looking like a long race. But I've learnt from last year that these races often yield real opportunities to get back into it. This 270-mile race, with two laps of a figure of eight course around the island of Yeu and Ré passing by a gate in Les Sables in the middle, was going to be full of transitions, corners and lots of tidal things to manage. On top of that a ridge of High pressure was going to pass overhead from the North to the South.

The ridge axis was overhead at ile d'Yeu in the middle of the night and with a cardinal mark right on the shore to go round, plus plenty of unlit fish-farms to get around and a nice knot or so of current, navigation was tricky. I approached almost last into here and found most of the fleet already anchored struggling to get around the buoy. So I was back in the group now and stayed close to others for the next legs, which took us back to les Sables through dawn on Friday.

By mid-afternoon the ridge was well and truly to the South of us putting us in a decent Northerly wind that slowly moved to the North west over the rest of the race and stayed always above 12 knots. I slept nicely on the straight line downwind legs and pulled back into the next group on the beat away from the bridge at ile de Ré. The boat is going well and I was comfortable with all parts of my game, navigation, tactics and speed. Now it was just a case of staying in the match through the second night, and not burn out. I could see that others had dropped off the race pace and I suppose my experience from last season is really starting to drop into use now.

It was a tough second part of the race and it is always tough going into a second night at sea but I'm really pleased with how it went. I crossed the finish line this morning in 19th place but hear as I come ashore that two boats that were ahead of me get the mandatory two hour time penalty for being over the line in the last minute to the start. So I finished 17th out of 35 boats, which if I'm not mistaken is officially the top half of the fleet!

Looking forward to the next big race, which is in six weeks in Concarneau. Between now and then I'll deliver the boat back to Lorient this evening after the rugby match and the prizegiving and then we have some more coaching sessions with Tanguy Leglattin in April. I'll also be working on my fundraising too as I haven't yet reached my budget commitments for the year.

Published in Figaro

#fullirish – Sailing out of the iconic Vendée Globe canal in Les Sables d'Olonne, France today, Irish sailor of the year David Kenefick had a poor start to his first race of the 2014 season but there is still all to play for as the Royal Cork sailor embarks on a 270-–miler tonight. He gave a podcast on his preparations here.

Kenefick, the only Irish sailor competing, was along side eight British skippers; Artemis Offshore Academy Rookies Rich Mason (Artemis 77), Alan Roberts (Artemis 23), Sam Matson (Artemis 21) and graduates Jack Bouttell (Overboard), Ed Hill (Macmillan Cancer Support), Henry Bomby (Black Mamba) and Sam Goodchild (Team Plymouth) and Phil Sharp (Phil Sharp Racing) – kick started their 2014 solo Figaro season with the Solo Maître Coq. Due to the extremely light winds forecast for the duration of the race, the organisers made the decision to shorten the 320 mile course by 50 miles: "It's going to be a difficult race as there is next to no wind forecast for the duration," explained Jack, who has had just nine days since taking over his Figaro to sail to Les Sables d'Olonne for the race. "Originally looping between Île d'Ré and Belle Île, the course instead sees the fleet sail a figure of eight from Les Sable d'Olonne north to Île d'Yeu and back, and then south to Île de Ré and back – passing Les Sables three times on route. The new course means organisers can easily shorten the race further if necessary."

Sun cream and sunglasses on, the 38 boat Solo Maître Coq fleet crossed start line at the third attempt just after 1130GMT, light winds of around 6 knots saw the Figaros drifting early over the line early resulting in two general recalls. Coming into the line on what was to be the actual start, Macmillan skipper Ed 'nailed' a perfect pin end start. At the other extreme, Sam Goodchild, who races into his fourth Figaro season, was biding his time on the 'right' to ensure he was the closet boat to the committee boat. New kids on the block Rich and Alan got their Figaro racing careers off to a fine start, their high-level dinghy racing experience puts a sting in their sterns, forcing double Solitaire du Figaro winner Yann Elies to shadow them all the way to the windward mark. Event Coach Marcus Hutchinson reports: "As ever there were big differences of opinion as to which side of the long first upwind leg would be the place to be. Ed was hell bent on the left and Sam and Jack were super keen on the right. Alan and Rich, perhaps being more conservative, choose to start in the middle of the line – both going really well with speed in their own space. Both sailors quickly pulled out into strong positions halfway up the beat."

Marcus continued: "Sam and Jack got what they wanted on the right, but realised after about 10 minutes that in fact the left hand side close to the shore seemed to have better pressure and chose their moments to move back across the course before any rot could set in. On the left and following a strong start, Ed sailed well and his choice paid off with the reward of a sixth place rounding at the top mark, followed by a relieved Sam Goodchild in 14th, Alan in 19th, Rich 23rd, Henry 32nd, Jack 33rd and Sam Matson 34th."

Popping their spinnakers on the first turning mark, the fleet set off on a long and drawn out run in the sun towards the mark at Île d'Yeu. With top boat speeds of around 5 knots the fleet's ETA at the island, just 35 miles away, is midnight tonight. Although not physically demanding, the light conditions of the Solo Maître Coq will take it's toll on the skippers concentration and morale, especially when drifting past Les Sables d'Olonne again tomorrow near to where the finish line will be – a course change described by Sam Goodchild as 'torturous'. Prior to the race, 2014 British Rookie Rich outlined what he thinks the biggest challenges presented by the Solo Maître Coq will be: "The forecast for the majority of the race is under five knots, which means concentration and mental endurance is going to play a big part in where we finish. We'll be looking out for any little gust of wind, and trimming, trimming, trimming our sails all the time. I'm not expecting to sleep much during the race and some of the skippers reckon we'll be weighing anchor with a total drop off forecast for tonight. Mentally, it's going to be a really tough race."

Experienced French solo skippers Thierry Chabagny (Gedimat), Gildhas Mahé (Interface Concept) and Fabien Delahaye (Macif) currently lead the fleet to Île d'Yeu, with Ed (Macmillan Cancer Support) in 4th and Rich (Artemis 77) heading up the Rookie fleet, with Alan (Artemis 23) not far behind. The 270 mile Solo Maître Coq is expected to take around 35 hours to complete, with skippers finishing Saturday 15th March ahead of the prize giving and RBS Six Nations finals all on the same day.

Published in Figaro

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