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Displaying items by tag: Figaro

The brisk nor’east winds maintained their pressure yesterday during daylight to keep the 36-strong Solitaire URGO Figaro fleet at good speeds as they raced down the coast of northwest Spain after their swift 520 mile Stage 2 from Saint-Brieuc with its Biscay crossing writes W M Nixon. But as night drew on and they went through the transition stage from ocean to coastal and then close inshore sailing approaching the finish at Portosin on the Ria de Muros after rounding Cape Finisterre, conditions became much flukier, and at times speeds were reduced to 3 knots or even less as they raced slowly along the final miles to the finish.

At least seven boats were in with a chance of snatching the lead, including Scotland’s Alan Roberts. But consistent front-runner Sebastien Simon (Bretagne CMB Performance) kept his cool and got there first at 03:25:52 this morning for an elapsed time of 2 days 14 hours 5 minors and 55 seconds. This gave him a margin of 20 minutes on Xavier Macaire (Groupe SNEF) who slid across the finish line just 9 seconds ahead of Eric Peron in Finistere Mer Vent, who for many of the final miles had been Sebastien Simon’s closest contender.

With just over 50 minutes covering the slowly-finishing first ten boats, the hugely competitive nature of Figaro Solo racing is again emphasised, and the two Irish rookies have shown they have much to learn before they can match the consistency of Figaro regulars, many of whom devote the prime years of their sailing careers to this one high profile solo event.

Tom Dolan of Meath with Smurfit Kappa was up to speed several times, but his mistaken tactic of staying with the group which took the westerly option in going through the gap between Ushant and West Brittany on the second day saw him slip from 12th to a placing in the 20s. And though he got up to 22nd at one stage, this morning at the finish in northwest Spain he has to be content with 25th, three hours and twenty minutes behind the leader.

Joan Mulloy of Clew Bay knew she could never hope to recover from the delay caused by her broken main halyard at the start, but she gamely battled on, the first Irish woman to take on the Figaro challenge, and at her best she had clawed her way back up to 32nd. But over the concluding miles in an exhausted condition with an hour or so still to sail, she now looks likely to place 33rd or 34th.

Overall, the Stage 1 winner Anthony Marchand finished 4th in Stage 2, 36 minutes behind the leader, and is now well placed on the overall points table as the lone skippers rest up for a day or two while the Shore Support teams prepared their boats for the Stage 3 start on this Saturday, 8th September - 440 miles back round Finisterre and into the Bay of Biscay with the finish at Saint Gilles Croix de Vie on France’s Biscay coast.

Race tracker and detailed results here

Published in Figaro
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The second night in La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro has been an extremely frustrating one for the fleet as they struggle with light airs in the western English Channel writes W M Nixon. They’ve been trying a variety of tactics to find the faintest breezes from a selection of very faint headwinds to help them get past Lizard Point and on to the next turn at Wolf Rock south of Land’s End, the furthest part of the opening 570-mile stage which takes them Le Havre-Owers-WolF Rock- NW Brittany-Guernsey before finishing at St Brieuc on the north Brittany coast south of the Channel Islands.

At 0830 this morning, the leader Corentin Douget sailing NF Habitat still had 289.4 miles to the finish, and was showing only narrowly ahead of Sebastian Simon in Bretagne CMB Performance. The leading nine currently are all French, but British sailor Alan Roberts has been very much in contention and is now 10th, though with very close margins among the leaders. Ireland’s Joan Mulloy is currently showing at 23rd, but like several others is virtually becalmed, and she now has a shortfall of 21 miles on the leader.

Race Tracker here

Published in Figaro
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#Cruising - Vendée Globe challenger Enda O’Coineen will be part of the Royal Galway Yacht Club’s inaugural cruise in company from Galway Docks to the new marina in Rossaveal this Sunday 8 July.

BIM seafood ambassador and Figaro contender Joan Mulloy will lead the cruise on board her on board the 30ft racing boat Taste the Atlantic, departing from Galway Docks on the tide at 12pm and aiming to arrive in Rossaveal about four-and-a-half hours later

Other boats taking part are Evolution, a 60ft motorboat skippered by John Killeen, one of the club’s three commodores, and Kilcullen Team Ireland, the IMOCA 60 on which O’Coineen completed his solo global circumnavigation.

All boat owners in the area are invited to join the first of what’s hoped to be an annual event. O’Coineen promises some esteemed company — including Riverdance composer Bill Whelan, who hopes to sail down from Roundstone to meet the fleet.

The cruise is also a great opportunity to meet Joan Mulloy and show support for her Figaro campaign, as well as her own future Vendée Globe ambitions in 2020.

Published in Cruising

The elite Figaro Class’s 350-miles Solo Concarneau for the trophee Guy Cotton in the Bay of Biscay tomorrow (Thursday) will test Ireland’s Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy on an intricate course writes W M Nixon. The route take two fleets – one solo with Mayo’s Mulloy, the other two-handed with Meath’s Dolan – northwestwards from the Breton fishing/sailing port of Concarneau through the Raz de Seine and the islands off it, and then there’s a long haul southeast to the Ile d’Yeu before returning north to Concarneau.

Joan Mulloy succeeded in finishing her first Figaro Solo race on March 17th, a 245-mile event in which achieving the finish at all was a real challenge, as her autohelm failed shortly before the start. But she got there nevertheless - a courageous performance.

'It looks like the Irish division will be battling it out for glory in the rookie rankings' – Tom Dolan

tom dolan concarneau2Tom Dolan revelling in a breeze in his Mini-Transat – tomorrow, he starts his first race in a Figaro, two-handed with Tanguy Bouroullec.

For Tom Dolan, in training for the Figaro Two-handed Transat AG2R on 22nd April with longtime crewmate Tanguy Bouroullec, things have been hectic, as he took delivery of his second-hand Figaro just two months ago. He and Bouroullec have continued to run their busy Offshore Academy while training themselves in with the boat and sorting sponsorship deals, but fortunately as they’re Concarneau-based it’s a crowded schedule which has been just about possible.

Dolan comments: “There’s some fairly big guns competing in both divisions, most of them have been at this (Figaro racing) for years, so it looks like the Irish division will be battling it out for glory in the rookie rankings…..”

Race Tracker here

Published in Figaro
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Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan has revealed further details of plans to compete in the hotly-contested Figaro class in 2018 – a move that takes him one step closer to his ultimate goal of the Vendee Globe.

Dolan will join the gruelling Figaro circuit, which features some of the world’s best singlehanded sailors, after a successful tenure in the Mini 6.50 class.

The 30-year-old from Kells, County Meath, notched up numerous wins and podium finishes during his time in the class, earning him the nickname L’Irlandais Volant – the Flying Irishman.

His long list of achievements culminated in finishing sixth overall out of a fleet of 56 entries in the iconic Mini Transat Race last year, for which he was shortlisted for the title of Volvo/Irish Sailing/Afloat.ie Irish Sailor of the Year.

Dolan, has now teamed up with eco-friendly packaging giant Smurfit Kappa to launch his bid for the 2018 Figaro season and jointly promote a message of sustainability and innovation.

"Smurfit Kappa supported Tom in 2017 during his Mini 650 campaign and his constantly evolving results were very satisfying for us. Tom is a professional sailor with a very promising future, and this is why we are proud to be supporting him. Innovation and Sustainability are our key values and we are proud to be sharing them with Tom's campaign" said Gérard Mathieu, Marketing and innovation manager, Smurfit Kappa France

tom dolan mini2
Tom Dolan’s Minitransat boat in which Smurfit Kappa were joint sponsors. The eco-friendly packaging giant have now come aboard as lead sponsors for his Figaro campaign.

Tom’s steed will be none other than Figaro 15, the boat that French offshore legends Martin Le Pape and Roland Jourdain raced in 2014.

Despite having plenty of offshore racing experience, including five transatlantic crossings, Dolan admits that the jump into the Figaro, which is a third bigger than the Mini 6.50, is daunting.

“Joining the Figaro fleet this year is exciting, if a little scary,” Dolan said. “The Figaro is known as one of the most challenging classes to sail in because of the sheer level of sailors.

“It’s where the world’s best singlehanders come to prove themselves and if you look at the list of Vendee Globe winners they’ve practically all competed in the Figaro.

“This is very much the next step towards my dream of competing in the Vendee Globe, I want to do the best job I can, for myself and my sponsors.”

Dolan’s first venture in his new boat will be the AG2R La Mondiale – a doublehanded sprint across the Atlantic from the French town of Concarneau, Dolan’s adoptive home, to the Caribbean island of St Barts.

Dolan will team up with and close friend and old Mini 6.50 adversary Tanguy Bouroullec for the 3,800-mile race, which starts on April 22.

The season highlight will be the Solitaire du Figaro, a challenging 1,600-mile solo race around the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel, starting on August 26.

figaro racing3
Figaro racing – it’s the Big Boys’ League by comparison with the Mini-Transat.

Dolan’s main goal is to finish on the podium of the rookie class – a division for first-timers in the Solitaire.

“The AG2R is going to be a baptism of fire for me – it’ll be my first proper race in the Figaro and it’s all the way across the Atlantic with no stopover,” Dolan added.

“It’s a quick turnaround from finishing the Mini Transat back in November but I wanted to keep the momentum up, and make sure that I stay sharp.

“Sailing doublehanded is very different to solo sailing but I’ve trained alongside Tanguy for a few years now and we know each other well.

“He was renowned in the Mini for being fast when the conditions were heavy, so he’ll be the ideal guy to have onboard.

“My season goal is to end up on the podium in the rookie division of the Solitaire. If I can do well as a rookie it will have been a good season.”

Dolan is proud to be able to count on the support of Smurfit Kappa, one of Europe’s leading eco-packaging companies.

“Smurfit Kappa has strong values of sustainability and innovation, values that I share and want to spread as I race around the world,” Dolan said.

“Respect for the environment and sustainable development are things that affect me enormously.

“At sea we always try to be minimalist about what we take onboard the boat, and we constantly evaluate any waste we produce.

“This allows us to see first-hand the result of a world obsessed with consumption. When we arrive from a race we are asked if we have seen fish, sunsets, whales... but the reality today is that what we see most is plastic waste. This cannot continue like this.”

Published in Figaro
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Mayo solo sailor Joan Mulloy successfully completed her first race in the highly competitive Figaro II fleet in France this morning. The Solo Maître CoQ was the first major race of Joan’s 2018 season and the first time her ‘Taste the Atlantic – a Seafood Journey’ branding was revealed.

The race consisted of a two hour ‘inshore’ race where the 24 strong fleet raced in 20 knot plus winds and big seas off the coast of Les Sables d’Olonne. This was then followed by the 245 miles offshore race that took over 40 hours of nonstop sailing to complete. Joan was the only female to complete the race.

Joan Mulloy Solo
Joan Mulloy lines up at the start of the solo race

Typically, the solo skippers rely heavily on the ‘autohelm’, an electronic self-steering system, to allow them to sleep, cook and trim the sails. Unfortunately for Joan her autohelm malfunctioned before the start of the offshore race and she was faced with a difficult decision to abandon the race or to continue on knowing that she will get virtually no sleep for the entire race. Joan opted to continue on and sacrifice sleep.

“I said I would do the first short leg and see if I could find a solution to get my autohelm working again. It became clear that this wasn’t going to happen, but I made the decision to continue racing. I knew it would be hard to remain competitive without sleep and not being able to leave the helm for more than a few seconds,” said Joan.

The 245-mile course saw the fleet round some stunning islands off the coast of France and return to Les Sables d’Olonne. The skippers battled the elements and saw winds range from 25 knots to almost nothing at all.

Joan added, “I can’t explain how proud I am to have finished my first solo event."

Joan will now return to Lorient to train for her next event. 

Published in Figaro

At 18.00 on a cold Friday January evening, west of Ireland solo sailor Joan Mulloy tied up her new Figaro II up in Dun Laoghaire after a 48–hour sail from Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

In what is a first for an Irish sailing, a female sailor is now one step closer to competing in what is often described as the most competitive solo race series in the world, the Solitaire du Figaro.

Joan has a  CV that begins with long hours working on the family mussel farm in Clew Bay, and then goes on to include professional engineering roles and in more recent times some sailing adventures and technical positions.

On her arrival in Ireland Joan said: “Having worked on other solo campaigns for the past few years it is a dream come true to now be at the helm of my own boat. We are a long way from the starting line and the goal now is to engage sponsors and supporters during our time in Ireland in order to allow me and my team to map out the season ahead.”
Joan is hopeful of securing a number of sponsors and partners that will then dictate the season ahead. To date a number of private individuals and companies have helped her get to this point but a lot more funding is required in the coming months.

The season will include various activation events for the sponsors along with intensive Figaro training in France and off the west coast of Ireland. The highlight of the season will be competing against approximately 40 other identical Figaro II boats in August off the north coast of France. Amongst Joan’s competition will be Vendee Globe skippers, mini transat sailors and aspiring solo circumnavigators.

Joan’s campaign is managed under the ‘Team Ireland’ brand first associated with Enda O’Coineen’s Vendee Globe entry. According to a statement,Team Ireland says 'it is providing the professional platform for solo sailors that will enable companies to have the confidence to back these exciting ventures'. Gregor McGuckin’s Golden Globe Race entry is also receiving support from Team Ireland as the countdown to that epic race draws near.

Joan will be in Dublin for the coming weeks and is welcoming anyone interested to come down and visit the boat. There will also be sailing opportunities for supporters and prospective sponsors. 

Published in Figaro
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Northern Ireland solo offshore sailor Andrew Baker was among the Artemis Offshore Academy making an emotional procession out of Cowes Yacht Haven, the pontoons sinking beneath the weight of friends and family cheering them on their way to Paimpol. Starting Leg 2 of the Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro from the famous Royal Yacht Squadron start line, Cowes seafront was lined with the public armed with binoculars and cameras for the spectacle.

“People suggested that the leg we have just completed was the toughest one in memory, so that should mean it will be easier this time! It’s good to get that out of the way. What was important in Cowes was getting enough rest to get back in the game for the next few legs and not burn out. It really was a hard leg with strong winds on the first day and then very feeble winds for the next days. It was tough physically, but nothing you can’t recuperate from with some sleep, Baker said.

"Leaving Cowes after just three days on shore, the Solitaire skippers face a fast but tiring leg"

 

Leaving Cowes after just three days on shore, the Solitaire skippers face a fast but tiring leg. Zig-zagging their way out of the Solent in 20 knots on the nose with the tide on a magic carpet ride, the fleet can expect to stay in the express lane for most of the way to Paimpol, as Race Director Gilles Chiorri explained.

“On this leg, the fleet will face all of the difficulties associated with the Channel – current, wind and lots of tacking. Another difficulty will be the length of the leg, 430 miles solo is again long to race alone, the current routing shows them spending three days and three nights at sea. There will also be a lot of tactics involved. The skippers who are further back in the ranking after Leg 1 will be on the attack. The Iroise Sea will be one of the most challenging areas of the course, with big wind, big waves and lot of rocks – it will require bravery,” he concluded.

Follow Baker and the fleet here

 

 

Published in Figaro
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#Solo - Pictured above is the RIB that French sailor Christophe Maupaté will pilot solo in his quest to set a new Atlantic record from Bordeaux to New York.

Previously attempted by Ireland's own Enda O'Coineen, no one has yet completed a solo transatlantic voyage by RIB.

But as reported on Afloat.ie last December, Figaro veteran Maupaté has been planning his own crossing for some time, having plotted a 4,460-nautical-mile course that will take him from France via Ireland's East Coast, western Scotland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland to the southern tip of Greenland and Canada's Maritimes towards the US – tracing the route of Lafayette's Hermione.

Now Maupaté's record attempt is just weeks away, launching from Bordeaux on Saturday 16 July with a stopover in Dun Laoghaire expected in the first few days.

Published in Solo Sailing

Northern Ireland solo sailor Andrew Baker has announced his support of UKSA’s youth development campaign ‘#SeaChange’ during the 2016 Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro.

#SeaChange provides life-changing opportunities to schools and groups, disadvantaged and disaffected young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs) and young offenders. A common theme for many of these individuals is the low expectation they have of themselves and #SeaChange challenges them to transform and to create opportunities for themselves.

By naming Baker’s blue and white Figaro #SeaChange ahead of the 1525nm race between Deauville, Cowes, Paimpol and La Rochelle, the sailor hopes to raise awareness of the initiative among sailing fans, the media and public across the United Kingdom. For UKSA, Baker is the perfect ambassador to inspire support.

“I’m proud to be supporting the #SeaChange campaign during the Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro and hope through my connection with UKSA and participation in this epic race I am able inspire young people to get into sailing,” he said.

Out sailing with his Dad as soon as he could walk, Baker recognises the importance of getting children into sailing at a young age and the life skills a career on the water can provide.

“#Seachange is a cause I can really relate to,” Baker continued. “I’ve been sailing since a very young age and I have learned so much from the sport. It teaches you about independence, hard work, motivation, determination, camaraderie, the environment and so much more. Being out on the water is such an invaluable experience and I fully support UKSA in their mission.”

The official charity of this year’s UK Solitaire stopover in Cowes, UKSA will be present in the Race Village between 22nd and 26th June offering try sailing, a sailing simulator, interactive game and fund raising.

Ben Willows, Chief Executive of UKSA, is proud to lend the name to Baker’s Figaro for the race, and looks forward to welcoming the sailor to Cowes in a week’s time.

“It is fantastic that Andrew has re branded his boat #SeaChange,” he said. “We are really proud to be a part of La Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro’s UK stopover and to share our #SeaChange message."

“Our ground breaking youth development programmes use water based activities to provide students with both the qualifications and skills to develop themselves. We see first-hand how confidence is developed, as young people are motivated by the prospect of a brighter future; re-engaging with education, further training or a successful transition into to employment.”

Published in Figaro
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Page 3 of 9

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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