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#figaro – Cork solo sailor David Kenefick was in Paris last weekend to collect his prize for the Championship of France Solo Offshore Racing - one of the most prestigious sailing events in France.

The 22-year-old Royal Cork Yacht Club sailor débuted at the La Solitaire du Figaro in June, the world-renowned race which comprises of four legs of approximately 400-500 miles of single handed sailing. David finished the 2013 session when he became the first non-French person to win the rookie division of the Championship of France of solo offshore racing.

He said: "It's amazing to be the first rookie after a very hard and stressful year. It has given me great encouragement for 2014. The Figaro race was extremely tough but I stuck at it, chipped away all year and learned a lot. Not just about how to do better in this very tough fleet but also about the mistakes I made earlier in the year and how I was going to improve from them. Straight after the Figaro I had some of my sails recut and I've found it has made a difference. I've also been working on trying to secure new sponsors, not only a title sponsor, but small partners and sponsors to join me on board Full Irish for 2014. I have now committed myself to do next year's La Solitare du Figaro and am already fully immersed in my 2014 program. I will move to France in January and begin training on board Full Irish before competing in the Solo Maitre CoQ in April. In May, I will use the Solo Concarneau as one of my last warm up events before the famous La Solitaire du Figaro in June, which is going to be very tough."

Last Weekend the course for the 45th edition for the La Solitaire du Figaro was announced with a total distance of 2014 miles, and looks to be one of the toughest courses of the history of the race. There will be no Irish stop over as was previously hoped for.

The first leg will be from Deauville to Plymouth via the Isle of Wight, Wolf Rock and a laid buoy off Roscoff, before the finish in Plymouth. The first leg alone has three channel crossings - no easy task for a full crew, never mind one person racing alone.

Leg 2 takes the fleet from Plymouth around the Fastnet Rock before finishing in Roscoff.

Leg 3 will be from Roscoff to an unnamed port in the Vendee region. Most of this leg will be raced in inshore waters going south along the French coast, before heading out into the middle of the Bay of Biscay to a buoy before then heading to the finish line.

Leg 4 starts from the Vendee region and takes the fleet back North along the West coast of France, before heading across the English channel leaving Wolf Rock to Port, before sailing down the Channel to the Needles Fairway buoy just off the Isle of Weight, then taking the fleet back across the English channel for the sixth time to the finish in Cherbourg.

Published in Figaro

#boat of the year – The Cork based solo yacht named 'Full Irish' skippered by 22-year-old David Kenefick has won ICRA's boat of the year award. The decision was announced at today's annual ICRA conference at the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. It is the first time a solo campaign has won Irish cruiser–racing's top prize and reflects a season of highs for the Royal Cork Rookie on the professional French offshore sailing circuit. 

He was just 21 when he qualified to become a Figaro 'rookie' mentored by former participant Marcus Hutchinson, and though he turned 22 during June as the 2013 programme accelerated through a demanding season, he continued as the youngest in a schedule which saw him complete almost 7,000 offshore miles, nearly all of them single-handed.

It's only the latest award for the youngster, last month for his year long series of achievements he lifted Afloat's Sailor of the Month award.

Published in ICRA
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#sailorofthemonth – The French sailing scene is noted for its continuing national and international programme of encouraging young sailors in their early twenties into the top level of offshore competition. But even by the demanding Gallic standards of youthful participation against hardened veterans in events like the Figaro Solo, Corkman David Kenefick stood out as youngest of them all. He was just 21 when he qualified to become a Figaro 'rookie' mentored by Marcus Hutchinson, and though he turned 22 during June as the 2013 programme accelerated through a demanding season, he continued as the youngest in a schedule which saw him complete almost 7,000 offshore miles, nearly all of them single-handed.

As the busy season drew on he also began to acquire a useful smattering of French. And though there were some some big races whose results were eminently forgettable, in October's 1600 mile three stage Generali Solo, the Mediterranean's equivalent of the Figaro Solo itself, he was very much in contention to move towards the coveted "Rookie of the Year" slot.

The Generali Solo reached a climax after its three offshore stages, with three inshore races in perfect yet sometimes quite demanding conditions of 15 to 22 knots of wind. Kenefick's tally of 13,10, and 9th much improved his position on the leaderboard, and he moved into a commanding 12th overall. With the next rookie back in 16th slot, his place was secure, and becoming Figaro Solo Rookie of the Year 2013 makes David Kenefick the Afloat.ie Sailor of the Month for October 2013.

Published in Sailor of the Month

#fullrish – This time last year I got my hands on the boat I was going to use for the next 12 months. I had wanted to try singlehanded offshore sailing since I could remember and at the ripe old age of 21 all my stars aligned and with help from many sources here I was. Port La Foret, the home of the Figaro class and most of the French offshore champions surrounded me. My boat was freshly launched with a bit of Irish identity plastered on to it. I knew I knew nothing at all but with my team manager Marcus Hutchinson, himself a four year veteran of the discipline, I took my first steps out into the bay with the boat and learnt the basics of how to hoist and drop a big mainsail on your own, who to hoist and retrieve the spinnaker on your own, how to gybe, tack, anticipate the actions required and basically how to make sure things are done in the right order so as to not exhaust myself. Very early on in the piece Marcus explained to me that short handed sailing was just one big exercise in energy management, whether it was ashore with boat preparation and looking after the body, or afloat in competition, knowing when to be a coiled spring and when to move at a slightly more reserved pace.

Twelve months later and where has the time gone. Since those initial ten days with Marcus I took the boat on a truck to the South of France and spent five months training, refining and learning whilst racing other Figaros in La Grande Motte. I met other sailors both French and non-French. The Artemis Offshore Academy boys were down there two. We have become great friends.

My first big event was in March this year. I learnt some difficult lessons. In the first offshore on a cold and windy leg I destroyed my mainsail, through no fault of my own. But the lesson was that it was my fault because there is no one to blame but the man in charge and that is me. During one of the inshore races I jagged the right side of the beat and rounded the top mark first. I thought I had won the world cup, but of course more experienced sailors got past me before the finish. I did it again in the last offshore leg of that event only to suffer terribly from tiredness and poor decision making to finish where I belonged, down the pan. But if I had won out of the bag I would never have learnt.

We moved the whole show to the Atlantic in April and two events followed, the Solo Arrimer and the Solo Concarneau in May. Lots of boats, suddenly the fleet was complete with all the really good guys. The first event was a 300-mile race up and down the French West coast. It started out really light in a huge sea. I started well and tacked to the right of the course with my all time hero – Michel Desjoyeaux. The short term made us look like the champion that he already was, but then the wind shifted back and we were both nearly a mile behind at the first windward mark. I then had to sail around the course in cold, wet, dark and at times up to 40 knot winds, to complete the course. A hard lesson to learn. Don't follow your hero, because there are champions everywhere on this course and I am not one of them. Mich of course pulled back all the way to the top ten, I limped home with just a couple of boats behind me, exhausted, dismayed and not really understanding what had happened! But that is where my coaching crew were there for. Until you do it you don't know. My coaches Nico Berenger and Marcus sat me and the other Artemis Offshore Academy lads down and we went through the race step by step. What were the key moments, what had the leaders done, why had they done it, what was the timing, when had they rested, how much had they eaten, how had it looked. There were always so many things to learn it was always overwhelming and it would have been easy to get disheartened but we just concentrated on what each race's three most important lessons were, across the whole group, and then applied them to our own preparation for the next race.

The pace kept getting quicker. Logistically it got harder and more demanding as we worked our way towards the start of the main race of the year the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro. We did as much as we could in the time available, always conscious that it would be easy to burn out early in the season and not get the most out of the opportunity in the big race.

The start of the Solitaire du Figaro was in Bordeaux, 70 miles up a very tidal river estuary. Logistically extremely complicated. Our little team of boats now numbered six and we pooled resources for shore side functions such as accommodation, shore crew and sail purchasing. We couldn't have done it any other way. The economies of scale made it financially possible to compete. But I hadn't appreciated the slog of the race week build-up. Right Downtown in a big city, huge amounts of media and public engagements for all skippers, weather and navigation to prepare and then all the boat and food considerations too. Again our shore team just removed everything from us allowing us to all concentrate on what would make our lives easiest, allowing us to have big siestas in the lead up so that our bodies were already into a disrupted sleep pattern before we started.

Just before the start sponsorship was secured which was a great help but came with the added complication of fulfillment. The most significant of these sponsors was the Comptoir Irlandais, a network of 50 shops scattered across France that sell Irish products only - from whiskeys to Barry's Tea, to woolens, to Tayto Crisps, to smoked salmon.... In a small way, the name of my boat Full Irish, had attracted them to me and I was now helping Irish exports to France by driving publicity to the shops and their products through the branding on my boat in this highly mediatized racing environment.

The start of the big race brought a huge number of guests, family and media, they all wanted a piece of me, they were all there for me. I hadn't appreciated how much it would take out of me. I was nervous for the start as the build up was huge and all I wanted to do was get going to the biggest sailing challenge of my life.

I started in the huge pack, tactically it was really complicated getting out of the river. Hundreds of spectator boats, helicopters, strong tide, a beat, shallow water, a big tactical decision early in the race... But in the back of my head I remembered my coaches' words. Just get out of the river, don't take risks, take your time and enjoy the experience, there would be 400 more miles to do things and have opportunities later on. What great advice that was. There were many other Rookies in the race. The favourite by far Simon Troel, went aground on a sandbank a couple of hours into the race and had to wait a full eleven hours before he could get off. Game over for him. I got out of the river unscathed apart from a little bump with something that wasn't on any chart!

The rest of the race to Porto, to Gijon, to Roscoff and to Dieppe, a total of 2000 miles of sleep deprevation, knocks, confusion, strong winds, light winds, fog, rain, rocks, tides, dramas and elation, I have written about already. I arrived in Dieppe at the end of June 3rd Rookie and 28th overall. I had completed the course, the youngest to do it that year – I had in fact turned 22 somewhere half way across the Bay of Biscay to shrieks of Happy Birthday to you/Bonne Aniversaire on the official race VHF Channel. Although on your own you are never alone. With 36 boats in the fleet for the most part you are always in site of at least a quarter of the fleet visually, half the fleet on AIS and just about everyone by VHF.

keneficksolo

David Kenefick ducks a competitor in the Generali Solo. Photo: Alexis Courcoux

When I got to Dieppe I was destroyed. I had been warned about this period. I had become the fourth Irishman to complete the course over the race's 44-year history and was in a drunken haze and daze of extreme fatigue. I needed a break. I needed to reflect. I got the boat to Cowes, out of the water onto its cradle and went home to gather my thoughts. But this was the best time. Day by day I started to recover and realized I had achieved something. Worse was to come, as the days went by I realized this was the most amazing thing ever in the sailing world and the euphoria just wouldn't go away.

In the end we devised the second half of the season quickly. It was early July there were three big events left in the calendar, two of them two-handed (Fastnet and Tour of Brittany) and the last the Generali-Med which as the name suggests is in the Med.

When I was ready we started getting organized for the Fastnet Race which I sailed with Kinsale Dragon sailor Olaf Sorrensen. Then I did the Tour de Bretagne with Jeanne Gregoire, a very experienced Figaro racer, she had had more than her share of podium results over the previous few years. The goal was to really learn the Brittany coast and learn some tricks from an experienced sailor in a racing environment. Her part of the deal was to learn some English, but in reality it was another way for me to learn a bit more French.

In the background Marcus conjured up a deal for me to offset some of my costs for competing in the Med in September and as soon as I had completed the two handed race with Jeanne I was travelling South with my racing sails to prepare a borrowed boat for the Generali-Med.

davidkenefickfigaro

David Kenefick at the helm of Full Irish in his first successful year on the Pro Circuit. Photo: Brian Carlin

There were fewer boats in this event, for obvious cost and logistical reasons. It meant that the middle of the fleet from a standard point of view was removed. So at one end we had the top 12 boats competing for the season prizes and then the rookies and locals to the Med who hadn't raced anywhere else that year. The Med is different. No tide for sure but everything else about it is different. The wind doesn't behave as we Atlantic seaboard people understand, but it is still a boat race. This event was a mix of long offshore legs, not unlike the Solitaire, and two days of inshore racing at each of the stopovers. The balance of points meant that the combined value of all inshore races, amounting to 12 in the end, was worth the same as just one of the offshore legs.

I have just finished that event in 12th place from 17 starters. I was the best 2013 Rookie in this event and combined with my Solitaire du Figaro Rookie result I am the best newcomer in 2013. There is a reason the Rookie prize is there. No one comes into this scene and performs at the top in their first year. It can't be done and I now know why. If you had asked me about it 12 months ago I wouldn't have understood its value. Today I totally do and that is why I am more than excited about next year. I have five big priorities I want to work on for next year and I want to go out and do it all again and use the knowledge and experience from this year. It's a big challenge and the lessons I'm learning will be more than valuable for my whole life be it in sailing or any other activity.

Thanks for all your support, I'll keep you posted as we go forward.

Home next week for a long rest and to start preparing next years budget for sponsorship proposals.

DK

 

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

#fullirish – David Kenefick is in the running for the coveted 'Rookie of the Year Award' when the Generali Solo race concludes this weekend, here he talks (in the above eight minute podcast) about a successful debut in this month's Generali Solo race off the French coast. Chipping away at the fleet 'inch by inch' and 'mile by mile', the young Munster helmsman reflects on how hard it has been to crack the professional circuit, especially this series in a borrowed boat.

The offshore Generali fixture is a 1600–mile race broken into three stopovers, the equivalent of a 'Figaro' of the Mediterranean.

Despite many set backs (including lack of the local lingo) the 22-year-old Royal Cork sailor has literally put this latter part of the season together himself without any shore management and has been entirely responsible for rigging, derigging, logistics and safety compliance.

In what has been a baptism of fire, Kenefick was the youngest competitor in the Figaro, the Fastnet, the Solo Sab Delone, the Solo Concearneau, Solo Generali and Tour de Bretange. In 2013 he has sailed a total of 6000–7000 miles, inlcuding delivery trips, 90% of this has been single–handed.

After scoring 13, 10, 9 in 15 to 22 knots of wind in the Generali inshore races today, Kenefick has moved up the overall rankings by one place and now lies 12th, the next Rookie is 16th.

From this position the Cuskinny local has pulled himself into a situation where he stands a significant chance of winning tomorrow's 'Rookie of the Year' award, a major achievement.

kenefickonport

Irish rookie David Kenefick (on port tack) is on target for an overall rookie award in the Generali Solo race this weekend. Photo: Alex Courcoux

Published in Figaro
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#fullirish – After a full debut season on the French professional offshore solo sailing circuit, Cork's young David Kenefick has been punching above his weigh at the weekend in one of the last tests of the 2013 season. The 22–year–old Royal Cork sailor, who completed the arduous Figaro circuit in July and the Fastnet in August, was 12th in race 2 of the Generali Solo series. Kenefick took eighth in a fleet of 17 on Friday in the event's Grand Prix, prompting some to suggest Kenefick as a front runner for the solo circuit's coveted 'Rookie of the Year' award.

Published in Figaro
Tagged under

#generalisolo – With just 52 miles to go in an offshore single-handed race from Barcelona to Bealieu sur Mer, Ireland's David Kenefick is ninth and in stronger breeze than closely packed rivals in the Generali Solo race this morning. Racing in a borrowed boat, the sole Irish competitor, a Figaro rookie in 2013, is currently well placed in leg two to finish out his debut season on a high if he can maintain his current speed of 4.2 knots. The Irish man has been racing for two days and has reported issues with jamming foils. More on the Generali Solo site. Click here

Published in Figaro
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#fullirish – Royal Cork's David Kenefick is among 17 Figaro Benetau sailors in the Generali Solo 2013 left Cavalaire-sur-Mer on Sunday heading for Barcelona. A few miles after the start the race organisers announced a modification of the original route (435 miles) due to light winds over a large part of the stage. Currently the solo Irish sailor is placed 15th. Event website here.

The wind dropped in the middle of night. This morning Adrien Hardy (Recovery Act) is still ahead of Fabien Delahaye (Skipper Macif 2012) and Yoann Richomme (DLBC).

Since the passage of Cape Sicie at sunset, sailors nonetheless gained some miles, a little more than expected. The head of the fleet is now 140 miles distant from Barcelona. They crossed that night back and now continue on their way.. slowly pushed this morning at 5 o'clock by one knot of wind. The only good point is that with a wind shift they can now sail a direct course.

Top five at 5 AM local time:

1. Agir Recouvrement (Adrien Hardy)
2. Skipper Macif 2012 (Fabien Delahaye)
3. DLBC (Yoann Richomme)
4. Skipper Herault (Xavier Macaire)
5. Generali (Nicolas Lunven)

Generali Solo is a race in stages taking place in the Mediterranean Sea on Figaro Beneteau 2.

First stage: Cavalaire-Sur-Mer to Barcelona
Second: Barcelona to Beaulie Sur Mer (Departure September 25)
Third: Beaulieu-Sur-Mer to Sete, (Departure October 2)

Generali Solo is the final round of Solo Championship Elite de course au Large and has a coefficient of 4 in the overall standings. Provisional classification of the championship (top five)

1. DLBC, Yoann Richomme, 57 points
2. Cercle Verte, Gildas Morvan, 88
3. Skipper MACIF 2012. Fabien Delahaye, 89
4. Groupe Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, Yann Elies, 95
5. Bretagne Credit Mutuel Performance, Anthony Marchand, 103

Published in Figaro

#fullirish – Royal Cork's David Kenefick is competing in next week's Generali Solo race, a 1,200 mile single–handed race around the Med, consisting of three legs and starting on September 22nd.

The Generali solo is very much like La solitaire de Figaro, and is the final event of the Championship of France of Offshore racing for 2013.

Kenefick is currently ranked second rookie on the overall year standings and is hoping to go one better and make it to the top of the podium by the end of the Generali.

"It's great to be doing the Generali and to be in the hunt for the "Top Rookie Spot" for 2013 has been a long term goal for me for the season of 2013. Within 12 hours of finishing the Tour de Bretagne, he told Afloat.ie

'I was back in Port la Foret – (a 75 mile delivery) and had the boat out of the water and just over 24 hours. I was in the South of France stating to get Figaro 70 ready for the Generali, the boat that I will use for the event' he added.

According to local reports Kenefick's boat (The full Irish) is now in the water and ready to go while most of the fleet are still on their way here on the back of trucks.

I'm really looking forward to this event having learnt so much from sailing the Tour de Bretagne with one of the top Figaro sailors. It's going to be a very tough event yet again, and I'm expecting it to be even harder than the La Solitaire race itself as the seasons are changing in the Med and the weather is very hard to predict and anything can happen in a matter of minutes.

Generali Solo 

Leg 1 : Cavalaire-sur-Mer – Barcelona •
Leg 2: Barcelona – Beaulieu-ser-Mer •
Leg 3 : Beaulieu-sur-Mer – Sète

Published in Figaro

#fullrirish – David Kenefick and Olaf Sorensen are completing their final preparations in Cowes to participate in the 2013 Rolex Fastnet Race. The pair are sailing David's Figaro 11 "Ilidan" IRL 45, normally recognised as "The Full Irish" when David sails the boat in the singlehanded Figaro series.

There will be eight other Figaro boats competing against them in a special division within the 300 boat fleet.

The Rolex Fastnet Race is being tracked with Yellowbrick Trackers . Each boat is supplied with a beacon from Yellowbrick, a self contained unit that transmits the position of the boat at regular intervals using GPS and Iridium (a global satellite phone network).

Synchronised position reports are availabe to the public by using the Race Player Application.

To follow David and Olaf during the race in real time just look up "Ilidan" on the race player. Aslo watch out for updates on Afloat.ie.

David has been sailing full time since October 2012 and recently completed a hectic schedule of singlehanded racing in the Figaro series when he finished as one of the top 3 rookies.

This will be Olaf's first major competitive outing in two years since he won the Dragon French Open in St Tropez in a fleet of 90 boats from 13 nations.

They start at 11.30am on Sunday and current indications suggest that they can expect a robust westerly breeze which, during the following days, will gradually become more Southerly.

It looks like they will have a long wet windward slog most of the way to the Fastnet but will then enjoy a fast downhill sleigh ride to the Finish in Plymouth.

Published in Fastnet
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Page 4 of 7

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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