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From the highs of a top ten position earlier this week hopes have faded for a strong home waters finish for either Irish entry in the opening leg of the 50th La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro into Kinsale. Tonight Tom Dolan lies 39th and Joan Mulloy 44th in a fleet of 47 with approximately 40 miles to sail to the finish.

Meanwhile, the three-way battle to stage one deliverance at the Old Head of Kinsale was won by overall winner in 2016, Yoann Richomme who was doing all he could to hold on to a lead of just under half a mile late this afternoon, seeking to close out what would be a well-deserved victory on the first stage of the Figaro.

"Richomme, 35 from Lorient, was being chased by talented, hard driving 21 year old rookie, Tom Laperche"

First around the Fastnet Rock at 1229hrs local time, Richomme, 35 from Lorient, was being chased by talented, hard driving 21 year old rookie, Tom Laperche (Bretagne CMB Espoir) and Pierre Leboucher (Guyot Environement) as they race towards the finish line of the course which is to be shortened by 11 miles at the Old Head of Kinsale. There was nothing between the three as they traded gybes and a stage which has lasted four nights and four days since starting from the bay of La Baule near Nantes, hangs in the balance.

Deliverance from one of the longest and most challenging Solitaire legs of recent years will doubtless feel magical for the top trio who were 15 minutes clear of the fourth placed solo skipper when they rounded the mythical rock in very light winds. But since the turn they have made decent speeds under spinnaker and should cross the line at around 1900hrs local time this evening. 

Richomme, outstanding winner of the Route du Rhum in Class 40 last November, has come into this race feeling none of the pressure heaped on some of his rivals. After Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper Charles Caudrelier seized an opportunity to become co-skipper of the Gitana Ultime, Richomme was drafted in as a late replacement for Caudrelier for whom he started out in the Figaro as preparateur.

He and Leboucher led a group who took a middle course off Ushant and then stuck with it across the approaches to the Channel and over the Celtic Sea. Their choice allowed them to gain relative to a strong pack who went offshore to the west, which ultimately suffered last night when the wind swung more to the north.

Around three miles behind Richomme, veteran Loïck Peyron, the elder statesman of the course at 59 years old will be happy to hold on to the sixth place he was in during this afternoon's sunny slide east along the Irish coast to the finish line. Peyron is returning to La Solitaire for the first time since he was sixth overall in 2003. He had his 'roaring 50s' rivals Michel Desjoyeaux, 53, less than a mile behind in ninth place and Alain Gautier, 57, in 12th. Peyron said at the Fastnet: "I'm 30 miles from the finish. It's not bad to avoid the last vagaries of the wind on this coast to get finished tonight "

Highly fancied favourite Armel Le Cléac'h (Banque Populaire) may have rescued some of his chances of a good finish overall by recovering from being among the back markers on Tuesday to be 13th on the reach in this afternoon, but the same might not hold true for the group of top seeds who went west, led by three times winner Yann Eliès (Saint Michel). Eliès - who led during the second day of racing - was nearly three and a half hours behind at the Fastnet Rock.

Admirable recoveries appear to have been achieved by international skippers Justine Mettraux of Switzerland on course for 14th and Brit Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) who was 16th, both around one hour behind the leaders.

Published in Figaro

Irish solo racer Tom Dolan stuck to his game plan on Smufit Kappa and made a solid start to his second La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro today as the 47–strong fleet started from the Bay of La Baule in the west of France in 12 knot south-westerly winds heading for Kinsale via the Fastnet Rock and is mid-fleet in 26th place tonight. County Mayo sailor Joan Mulloy is lying 45th.

Follow the tracker here

Under grey skies on the Bay of La Baule, at the mouth of the Loire river in the west of France, Morgan Lagraviere (Voile d’engagement) lead an early breakaway trio at the head of the 47-strong La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro fleet during a showcase first hour of the 553 nautical mile, three day first stage across the Celtic Sea to Kinsale, Ireland.

Figaro fleet2The Figaro fleet start today. Photo: Alexis Courcoux

Lagraviere, who has twice finished on the overall podium for the Solitaire, the annual multi-stage solo classic offshore series, and sailed on the 2016 Vendée Globe in the colours of Safran, races this 50th edition of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro with no major sponsor.

He sailed smartly on the first two-mile sprint leg to round the first mark and forge a small escape accompanied by Gildas Mahé (Breizh Cola) and Adrien Hardy (Sans Nature Pas de Future) who also competes without a major partner.

Thousands of spectators lined headlands, seawalls and beaches around fashionable Pornichet and the bay itself to watch the 11 mile opening circuit unfold in 10-13knots of south-westerly wind, seeking their first glimpse of the new foil assisted Figaro Bénéteau 3s in full La Solitaire race mode and some of France’s best known, most successful offshore sailors going head to head.

While the little breakaway trio held their early advance to pass the Radio France Buoy in the lead, wily fox Michel Desjoyeaux (Lumibird) did not disappoint onlookers as he climbed through the fleet to pass the Radio France ranking buoy in fourth.

Britain’s Alan Roberts (Seacat Services) was in the middle of a big pack of boats in 19th at the first ranking mark.

But while the opening skirmish under gennakers gybing around the bay was the perfect start to what promises to be the most competitive Solitaire for many years, there are many challenges in store, even during the first night at sea.

Initially a rich-get-richer scenario is anticipated favouring the leaders, but a messy, not too active cold front is due to pass over the fleet just after dusk. The winds are expected to be unsettled, changing in direction and strength with some light rain on the first 57-mile stage down the Vendée coast to the Bourgenay southernmost turning mark, set by design off the home town of the boats’ builders Bénéteau.

The key stages after that mark are entering the strong tides of the Raz de Sein, passing the Traffic Separation System off Ushant – off the western tip of Brittany – the Scilly Isles, the approach to the Fastnet and the final 50 miles in to Kinsale which looks set to be light.

Well placed mid fleet was Will Harris, (Hive Energy). As a Brit he is largely unique in the field as an overseas, non-French racer who is taking on only his second La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro. But after winning the top rookie or ‘bizuth’ prize on the 2016 La Solitaire, the 25-year sailor from Weybridge in Surrey, England has managed to secure the support of an English based leading solar energy company.

Harris said as he left the dock in Nantes: “The weather is not as simple as we might have hoped it would be tonight, there are a lot of weak and broken up fronts coming through. At Ushant there will be another front which will bring quite a bit more breeze and it will be quite challenging to get through the rocky passage there and then the exclusion zone. Day 3 is less clear with a low pressure over the UK which, depending how and when that develops, can make 180 degrees of difference to the wind as we approach the Fastnet and Kinsale. But I feel like I have a good feel for what is expected to happen, I know what to look for and what to rely on.”

Harris continued: “I am really excited to be starting. I want to go out and enjoy it. This first leg is about managing risk and not splitting away on what promises to be a very open leg. That can be your Solitaire over. Look for the small gains and coming in to Kinsale can be interesting.”

The adoption of the new boat sees the return to the 50th Solitaire of three legendary French sailors all in their 50s, set to rekindle a friendship and rivalry which dates back more than 30 years.

As the fleet left the Bay of La Baule, all three musketeers were placed in the top 12. Racing in his home waters today, in front of his house, Route du Rhum-Destination Guadeloupe winner and three times winner of The Transat, Loïck Peyron at 59 is back as the oldest participant in a race on which he was the youngest in 1980 and won a leg in 1986.

 

Michel Desjoyeaux, 54, is the most successful of the ‘roaring 50s’ with three overall Solitaire wins under his belt – 1992, 1998, 2007. After a five year break this will be Desjoyaux’s 13th Solitaire and he has never finished worse than twelfth and he can recite his year by year finishes by rote. Other than that 12th and seventh in 2013, he has always finished in the top five. He remains the only sailor ever to win the Vendée Globe three times.

“I was there for the introduction of the Figaro 1 one design and the Figaro 2 and so it is natural I am here for the new Figaro 3. I knew last year I would be here,” Desjoyeaux has told the French media several times.

“I have nothing to prove on this race. I won’t say I have to be in the top 5. I am here to enjoy myself, for my satisfaction. There is no pressure,” he contends.

Leaving Nantes this morning Desjoyeaux commented on the leg ahead: “There will be a lot of shifts in the wind, it will be quite unsettled with a lot of manoeuvring and trimming, and then the leg itself is a big job. There are so many different options through the islands and round the TSS. It is really about finding the solution which is not the worst, I don’t think there is one best solution.

“That is the goal for this leg. And it is a pleasure to be heading to Kinsale, it is a lovely place and a nice finish. It is a fun boat, although not so much on this leg which will be mostly upwind. My objective here is to try not to be too bad and to be better than I have been in the first races with the boat this year. I am starting to learn the boat and I am starting to get back into this racing programme but I will do the best I can.”

And Alain Gautier, 57, is back on his 18th La Solitaire after racing twice in 2015 and 2014 when he finished 18th and 20th after a ten-year break. Gautier, who scored his first ever leg win into Kinsale in 1987, winning overall in 1989, has named his boat ‘merci pour ces trente ans’ (thanks for the thirty years) - a double edged acknowledgement to sponsors who have supported him over the years and to rival chums Peyron and Desjoyeaux who he calls ‘les enfoirés’ (literally these ‘tossers or assholes’ but veiled as a reference to 1980s French pop collective of that name).

At 553 nautical miles this first leg is the longest yet to be sailed in the new Figaro Bénéteau 3s and the gaps through the fleet are expected to become quite large on this, the most open stage of the four legs which comprise this long awaited 50th edition.

Fans can follow the race on the official website, and through the English language Twitter account, here

Official Rankings at the Radio France Buoy, 2nd June:
1-Morgan Lagravière (Voile d’engagement)
2-Adrien Hardy ((Sans Nature Pas de Future)
3-Gildas Mahé (Breizh Cola)
4-Michel Desjoyeaux (Lumibird)
5-Alexis Loison (Region Normandie)
6-Pierre Quiroga (Skipper Macif 2019)
7-Yoann Richomme (Helloworld – Groupe Telegramme)
8-Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire)
9-Alain Gautier (Merci Pur Ces 30 Ans)
10-Jérémie Béyou (Charal)

Published in Figaro
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Today’s Sunday Business Post will carry a special preview of the first leg of the 50th La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro international race as the skippers set sail from Nantes for Kinsale.

The West Cork stopover this coming week is supported by the newspaper, which is also a title sponsor of second-time Figaro contender Joan Mulloy’s Believe in Grace/BusinessPost.ie.

The Mayo native will be sailing the 600 miles to Kinsale alongside fellow Irish skipper Tom Dolan, on Smurfit Kappa, in the first leg of the renowned offshore solo race that’s been dubbed ‘The Everest of the Seas’.

La Solitare featureThe Sunday Business Post features the race, the Irish skippers competing and the Kinsale stopover

Both are competing in new Beneteau Figaro 3 foiling craft as part of a highly competitive 47-strong fleet alongside several of the world’s top solo sailors.

The fleet is expected to sail into Irish waters on Wednesday 5 June ahead of a four-day stopover with an exciting itinerary of events (see below) expected to draw visitors to Kinsale ahead of next weekend’s SeaFest in nearby Cork Harbour.

Mulloy, whose yacht has been named after her famed ancestor ‘The Pirate Queen’ Gráinne Mhaol, will be supported by Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey, the official spirit of the Kinsale stopover.

As one of the few women skippers competing in La Solitaire Urgo Le Figaro on an equal basis, Mulloy became the first Irish woman to take part in the race last year

“I’m nervous and yet excited,” Mulloy said, while in Nantes last week preparing to begin her stint in this year’s race. “Training has been intense and these are demanding boats to race.”

Mulloy and Dolan will sail with a small cargo of special gifts given to them From Nantes for the mayors of Cork City and County ahead of the official Grace O’Malley Kinsale Figaro launch event on Friday 7 June.

The gifts mark Cork’s support for the historic stopover, which will coincide with the city’s annual Seafest maritime festival and Ocean Wealth Conference, and is expected to deliver a significant tourism boost to the wider county.

La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro is a high-profile event on the annual racing calendar with a global media reach valued at more than €18 million across print, television, radio and web channels.

Six Irish skippers have competed with distinction in the race over the past 30 years, among them Damian Foxall, Marcus Hutchinson, Paul O’Rian and David Kenefick — all of whom will be celebrated in Kinsale.

Each of the 50 skippers in this year’s La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro will be supported by on-shore crew, including technicians and press officers, during the Kinsale stopover.

In addition to race organisers, this will bring the number of people visiting Kinsale for the stopover to more than 250.

The skippers will depart Kinsale next Sunday 9 June and cross for the Irish Sea before rounding the Isle of Man and returning to France, where they will complete the 630-mile second leg of the month-long race at Roscoff in northern Brittany.

For more info and to track the boats, visit the official website for La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro HERE

Programme of events for Kinsale Stopover

Wednesday 5 June

  • Dock in PM: The first boats to finish in Kinsale are expected sometime late on Wednesday June 5. Come cheer the boats as they finish the race and arrive at Market Square. Track Irish Skippers Joan Mulloy and Tom Dolan on georacing.com.

Thursday 6 June

  • The Figaro Historic Walk will begin at 10.30am at Kinsale Tourist Office. Participants will learn about the French and sailing influences on Kinsale through time.
  • The Musique Trail will begin at 8pm at Kinsale Tourist Office featuring a guided evening of music with participants visiting live music venues and pubs in the town.

Friday 7 June

  • Come aboard the Figaro Cruise on The Quays at 2pm for a spectacular tour of Kinsale Harbour with the opportunity to view the boats from the water.
  • The Grace O’ Malley Pirate Queen Party will celebrate the Figaro Ocean Race Kinsale Stopover. Join us for a night of celebration.

Saturday 8 June

  • The Figaro Feast will take place from 1.30pm to 4pm at Market Square, featuring a sea-feast of amazing food and drinks from well-known eateries and the chance to enjoy the many Figaro-inspired culinary delights on offer.
  • Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the offshore and Irish sailors and hear about their adventures.
  • Two prizes for the best-dressed sailor-themed fancy dress outfits will be on offer for adults and children.

Sunday 9 June

  • Dockout will take place at 11am along the quays. Join the fleet on the water or view from ashore the start spectacle and inshore coastal race from Kinsale to the entrance of Cork Harbour and from Roches Point up the south coast around Tuskar Rock and up the Irish Sea.

For more info, visit TheKinsaleExperienceCompany.com or email [email protected]

Published in Kinsale

Joan Mulloy is set to compete under the black sails of the Irish pirate queen — and fellow Mayo mariner — Grace O’Malley, the Figaro contender has announced.

Following a months-long drive to secure sponsorship for her sophomore Solitaire bid, Mulloy has now inked a deal to ‘Believe in Grace’ and showcase the Grace O’Malley whiskey brand in this year’s race as well as as in further offshore adventures as a solo sailor.

“Celebrating female leadership through rebellious spirit, this brand honours the legend of Grace O’Malley, regarded as one of Ireland’s but the world’s most inspirational and extraordinary female trailblazers,” Mulloy posted on social media today, Monday 20 May.

Joan Mulloy Racing Grace OMalley Thomas Deregnieaux 2

“Like their namesake, who earned her maintenance by land and sea, Grace O’Malley plunders fine spirits from the best of Ireland and worldwide adventures to create something truly special in and from the heart of Co Mayo.”

Mulloy’s most recent race was the Solo Maître Coq, where she placed 45th but not far behind the pack that included another Irish Figaro hopeful, Tom Dolan, in 28th.

Both will be racing in more local waters later this summer when the Solitaire URGO Le Figaro returns to Kinsale for the first time since 2009, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Solo Sailing
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After the heavy going experienced for much of the first two stages of the Sardinha Cup for the brand new Figaro 3 boats, a significant part of the fleet had sustained such serious rig problems that the long-distance Leg 3 has been postponed until the weekend in order to allow round-the-clock working in port at St Gilles Croix de Vie in order to get the boats ocean ready once more.

Ironically, the Bay of Biscay is now experiencing extremely light winds for the time of year, but the strong breezes may have returned when the fleet puts back to sea. Ireland’s Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall on Smurfit Kappa had their own problems when they became enmeshed in fishing gear while well placed during Leg 2, and currently are well down the line with a 13th and a 20th recorded in the two legs sailed, while Joan Mulloy and Mike Golding were early victims of the technical failures and had to put into the nearest port.

Published in Figaro

Joan Mulloy’s 2019 Figaro bid gets a step closer to reality as the first race of the season, the Sardinha Cup, comes in just a few days’ time.

Mulloy, who made her debut in the Figaro last year, has been juggling training with the sponsorship hunt for the last few months, and describes the prospect of her first race back as “a little intimidating”.

But from early next week her focus will be squarely on her Beneteau Figaro 3, which she will be racing with experienced co-skipper Mike Golding.

“Mike will bring a lot of experience to the team, with four Vendée Globes under his belt, but we will both be very much finding our feet for this race,” she says.

Mulloy and Golding will be part of a “pretty intense” lineup that includes more than a few offshore legends — and fellow Irish in the combination of last season’s third overall rookie Tom Dolan and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Damian Foxall.

“I’m very excited to be back on the circuit again this year, but it hasn’t been an easy winter in terms of finding sponsors,” Mulloy says, confirming that she will be starting this first race without a title sponsor.

She adds: “I have some good news in the pipeline, but not quite enough to see me to the end of the Solitaire.”

This year’s Solitaire URGO Le Figaro returns to Kinsale for the first time since 2009.

However, the Figaro is not Mulloy’s only campaign of his season, as she has also been conformed as co-skipper for Alexia Barrier in her IMOCA 60 4myplanet in this year’s Fastnet and Transat Jacques Vabre Races.

“These races give me crucial qualifying miles towards the Vendée Globe,” she says of her ultimate goal. “There are approximately 12 places left in the 2020 Vendée Globe, after those allocated for new boats or previous race competitors.

Vendee miles qualifying table

“These 12 places are allocated based on accumulated qualifying miles … I am currently 11th on this list and so working hard to stay here is very important.”

From next Wednesday follow Joan Mulloy’s progress (as well as Dolan and Foxall) on the Sardinha Cup race tracker HERE.

Published in Offshore
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Following last year’s performance of ‘Flying Irishman’ Tom Dolan and pioneering woman Joan Mulloy in their Solitaire du Figaro debuts, now the renowned solo offshore race is coming to Ireland.

The Solitaire URGO Le Figaro is set to return to Kinsale this summer for the first time since 2009 for its 50th gala edition, with a course that takes in a rounding of Fastnet Rock to Kinsale on the weekend of 8-9 June to end its first leg out of Nantes.

The racing fleet continues on a “marathon run” around the Irish coast through the Irish Sea, around the Isle of Man and back down the west coast of Great Britain to Roscoff in northern France.

Stage three is a loop of ‘La Manche’ back to Roscoff before the final stage, via Wolf Rock and the Isle of Wight, to Dieppe. In all the course covers 2,130 miles (not accounting for weather-related changes).

Tom Dolan has already pledged his return for his second Figaro, this time in his new Figaro 3 boat, while the presence of Joan Mulloy — Ireland’s first female entry in the race — will further buoy Irish interest in the challenge as it takes in our coast.

Dolan tells Afloat.ie that he is “itching to get going after three months of computers and meetings!”

Solitaire 2019 route

Race organisers add: 

The Solitaire URGO Le Figaro is set to enter a new era this year, with the introduction of the new Figaro Bénéteau 3 for the 50th edition of the annual solo sailing race. Starting from the French city of Nantes on June 2nd, 2,130 nautical miles of challenging offshore racing around some of Europe’s roughest waters await the Figaro skippers, including a return to Ireland with a stopover in Kinsale.

Owned and organised by OC Sport’s French subsidiary OC Sport Penduick, the Solitaire URGO Le Figaro is one of the world’s toughest sailing competitions. Fiercely competitive, the race is recognised as the unofficial world championship of solo offshore racing, with the course taking just over a month to complete. Requiring a unique skill set, the Solitaire URGO Le Figaro pushes competitors to the edges of their physical and mental limits.

OC Sport Pen Duick Event Director Mathieu Sarrot commented: “This anniversary year of the Solitaire is set to be an historic edition and we are expecting a diverse fleet including previous winners and new comers to the new Figaro Bénéteau 3. This means the stakes will be high with everyone out to prove themselves in a new boat.

“On the water it will be particularly challenging,” Sarrot continued. “To be successful the competitors will need seasoned offshore experience as well as coastal knowledge. But also sheer grit and determination. With the ongoing support of our title partner URGO, it’s set to be an incredible 50th edition."

The fleet will start leg 1 under the striking bridge of Saint-Nazaire following a passage through the river Loire from the historic city of Nantes in Brittany. After rounding Île d’ Yeu, they will head across the Celtic Sea before passing the legendary Fastnet Rock and heading to the port of Kinsale, Ireland. At 500 nautical miles, the fleet will be immersed in a tough race from the off with a drag race through potentially choppy seas to keep the solo skippers on their toes before they arrive in Irish waters.

Speaking on behalf of the Kinsale Chamber of Tourism and Business, Board Member Ciaran Fitzgerald and Chairperson Guny Patel commented: “Kinsale Chamber is delighted with the announcement that the 50th Anniversary of the prestigious La Solitaire Le Figaro yacht race has been awarded to Kinsale for June 2019.

“This is an amazing event for Kinsale to host and welcome back having hosted this world famous single handed race more than any Port over the 50 years of the race. Kinsale Chamber looks forward to welcoming the sailors and visitors for what will be an incredible spectacle on sea and land over the five days of the stopover. Congratulation to Enda O'Coineen and his team for bringing this event to Ireland.”

Expected to arrive in Kinsale on Wednesday 5th June, the Solitaire URGO Le Figaro fleet will stay in Ireland until Sunday 9th June, when the skippers will set sail on the longest 630-nautical mile Leg 2 to Roscoff in northern Brittany. In a first for the Figaro fleet, this marathon stage will take the skippers along the stunning Irish coast and through the unpredictable, and at times dangerous, Irish sea before rounding the Isle of Man. A long descent along the rugged western Welsh coast, followed by a passage between Land's End and the Scilly Isles, before a crossing of the English Channel towards Roscoff will conclude what is sure to be a gruelling leg.

From Roscoff, the fleet will stay in the familiar waters of Brittany where they will tackle a 450 nautical mile coastal course that will require them to use all of their technical and tactical prowess in the strong tidal currents, before returning to Roscoff on Wednesday 19th June.

To end the 2019 Solitaire URGO Le Figaro, the increasingly exhausted fleet have a double Channel crossing to contend with. At 500 nautical miles, the final leg will see the competitors leave Roscoff on Saturday 22nd June to head across the channel towards Land’s End via a starboard rounding of the south cardinal navigation mark off Portsall. From there, they will have to negotiate the difficult conditions along the south coast of England before skirting the Isle of Wight, and crossing back into French waters through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. With fast depleting energy, the skippers will need to keep their wits about them as they head to a mark off Barfleur, before the final sprint into the Normandy fishing port of Dieppe.

The skippers are expected to arrive in Dieppe on Wednesday 26th June, with a non-points scoring postlogue race planned for Saturday 29th June allowing the public to see the new Figaro Bénéteau 3’s in action before the official prize giving where the winner of the 2019 Solitaire URGO Le Figaro will be crowned.

As many as 40 Figaro skippers are expected to compete in this 50th anniversary edition, including former winners alongside a plethora of young talent. At 2,130 nm, the 2019 Solitaire URGO Le Figaro course is one of the longest in race history and it will take everything in the skippers’ solo offshore arsenal to get them to the finish line.

With just over five months to go until the build-up begins in Nantes, the skippers will be using this valuable time to take delivery and train on their new Figaro Bénéteau 3’s. A full skippers line-up will be revealed in April.

La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro 2019 Schedule

May 27th: Arrival of the fleet in Nantes, France
June 2nd, Leg 1 start: Nantes, France – Kinsale, Ireland (via Fastnet Rock) – 500nm
June 9th, Leg 2 start: Kinsale, Ireland – Roscoff, France (via the Isle of Man) – 360nm
June 16th, Leg 3 start: Roscoff, France – Roscoff, France - 450nm
June 22nd, Leg 4 start: Roscoff, France – Dieppe, France – 460nm
June 26th: Anticipated arrival of first boats in Dieppe
June 29th: Postlogue and awards ceremony in Dieppe

Published in Solo Sailing

Irish female solo sailor Joan Mulloy has made a fundraising bid for her La Solitaire Urgo le Figaro campaign next season. Mulloy, who became the first Irish woman to compete in the Figaro this year is seeking €350k in sponsorship that includes naming rights to the racing yacht for the title sponsor.

It is another step towards her ultimate goal of competing in the French-based Vendee Globe 2020, the single-handed non-stop round the world race widely regarded as the Everest of offshore sailing with a campaign cost of €3.5m.

The Irish rookie completed the arduous four stage 2018 Figaro course along the French coast, finishing 28th from 36 starters. 

No Irish sailor has ever completed the Vendee Globe, and until 2017 no one had ever competed in the race.

Galway sailor Enda O'Coineen changed that in the last edition when he made it halfway around the world before being dismasted. He then repaired his rig and 'unofficially' completed the race by sailing the boat home and crossing the Les Sables d'Olonne finish line.

As part of Mulloy's sponsorship package is an affiliation with O'Coineen's Atlantic Youth Trust Charity. Mulloy also tells potential sponsors of the opportunities for international media coverage and a 'highly effective PR campaign'. Details were given in a 'commercial profile' in yesterday's Sunday Business Post newspaper.

Although she qualified for an important Vendee Globe qualifier last November, Mulloy did not compete in the Transatlantic Route du Rhum race citing lack of sponsorship for her withdrawal.

Published in Solo Sailing
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Figaro Sailor Joan Mulloy from County Mayo sailed into the Royal Irish Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire today fresh from her exploits in France where she became the first Irish woman to complete the famous French Solo Race.

It looks as though plans for Vendee Globe 2020 participation were set back for Mulloy recently, however. Despite making the qualifying standard for next month's Vendee Globe qualifier, the Route du Rhum, she will not now be on the start line due to lack of sponsorship, according to team management.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Mulloy was scheduled to speak last night at Mayo Sailing Club on her ambitions to be the first woman in the solo non–stop round the world race.

Published in Solo Sailing
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Joan Mulloy will be at Mayo Sailing Club Friday, the 5th October at 7 pm to give a presentation about her recent experience in the single-handed endurance Solitaire du Figaro race, her other sailing and her ambition to go all the way around the planet in the Vendee Globe Race.

All are welcome. Joan is a great Ambassador for Ireland and we are all very proud to have someone participating at the very top level of international sailing.

Admission is €25 adults and €10 Juniors/Students.

A taste of the Atlantic mussel dinner and a glass of wine “compliments of the Mulloy family” are included. There will also be an open bar.

All proceeds will go towards Joan Mulloy’s Yacht racing project.

Published in Solo Sailing
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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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