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Jörg Riechers and Pierre Brasseur, aboard the Class 40 "Mare", secure victory in the fourth edition of the Normandy Channel Race. From Germany and France's Picardy region, the duo crossed the finish line at 22 hours 57 minutes and 30 seconds UTC on Wednesday 17 April, in a time of three days, seven hours, 57 minutes and 30 seconds at an average speed of 8.08 knots. They were 56 minutes and 20 seconds ahead of "Made in Normandie", skippered by local sailors Nicolas Jossier from Granville and Alexandre Toulorge from Cherbourg. "Campagne de France" skippered by Briton Miranda Merron and local Halvard Mabire, bagged the third step of the podium, just one minute and three seconds behind second place! "Geodis" skippered by Fabrice Amedeo and Armel Tripon, finished fourth followed by "Al Bucq" skippered by Briton Ned Collier–Wakefield and Brieuc Maisonneuve, who made a great comeback, "Red" skippered by Mathias Blumencron and Boris Herrmann and "Groupe Picoty" helmed by Jean-Christophe Caso and Aymeric Chappellier, "Momentum Ocean Racing" and "Phoenix Europe – Carac". The finishers arrived in quick succession into Ouistreham, testament to the growing uniformity of the Class 40 line-up.

Jorg Riechers: "It's great to win the Normandy Channel Race after three participations and especially after dismasting just before the race. It's a really hard, technical race. Sailing in the Celtic Sea was chaotic. We never let up. Despite a tough passage at Barfleur on the outward leg, we gradually moved up through the fleet through our speed and sheer determination."

Pierre Brasseur: "What a race! It was intense from beginning to end. Jorg and I got on really well, him often carrying out the manoeuvres and focusing on the boat's performance and me doing the navigation".

Alexandre Toulorge: "We're happy with our performance in this Normandy Channel Race, which was a first for us. We've got the measure of the Class 40. Over a short course like this, we spend a great deal of time making sail changes so it's incredibly physical."

Nicolas Jossier: "Mare" was going faster on a reach and the crew made good their escape at Raz Blanchard. We were working on the weather for the first part of the race and that bore fruit."

Halvard Mabire: "We came back from nowhere. It's a fine third place. A few more miles and we'd have secured second place. We took a minute too long."

Fabrice Amedeo: "What fun! Geodis goes well. We checked her performance once again in the Normandy Channel Race. We made a few mistakes, but we caught up as we headed down the coast of Cornwall. "Campagne de France" extended its lead over us during the passage around Guernsey. At that point we were sure of fourth place but very soon it was our rivals behind who were breathing down our necks. We finished the race with a sprint. We're all-in."

The top four in the Normandy Channel Race in brief

A fantastic victory for 44-year old Jörg Riechers from Hamburg, the jovial 2012 Class 40 champion, German sailor of the year 2012, winner of last year's Solidaire du Chocolat and the Atlantic Cup and an outstanding Mini sailor; and also 33-year old Pierre Brasseur, from Amiens, a tall sailor with model looks, crew to Jimmy Pahun on "Ile-de-France" and second in the last Mini Transat in the series category. After shooting off the start line last Sunday, the two sailors on "Mare" were less successful in the middle section of the race before going on to put up a faultless performance for the rest of the race. Despite dismasting prior to taking the start of the Normandy Channel Race, they managed to get to the race start bang on time with a perfectly optimised Class 40, Mach 40. Congratulations!

It was a personal victory too for second placed Nicolas Jossier, 36, and Alexandre Toulorge, 34. The two Norman sailors, familiar faces in the Tour de France à la Voile and the Solitaire du Figaro (13 participations all together) had never raced together before and they were competing in their first NCR and their first Class 40 race. They were the driving forces in this edition, holding the reins from Sunday evening through until last night. Nicolas Jossier is sure to have a fine career ahead of him in Class 40, as is Alexandre.

A boisterous Normandy Channel Race

The 2013 edition of the event, organised by Sirius Evénements, was played out in medium to strong winds. Blowing in from the south-west for the bulk of the race, it never really eased, save for a few hours after the start as the fleet negotiated the Saint Marcouf islands.

After setting out on Sunday at 1700 hours local time the competition, based in France's Calvados region, lived up to expectations from the outset, and it was a sight to behold on the water. In glorious sunshine, the 20 Class 40s powered across the start line. Since the Route du Rhum 2010, never have so many Class 40s taken the start of an offshore yacht race.

The pacy "Mare", Jorg Riechers' Class 40, immediately created a stir, taking control of the fleet at the first windward mark of the initial coastal course. The other Mach 40, "GDF SUEZ" also put up an impressive performance, despite the attack from "Campagne de France" skippered by Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron and the skill of the German sailors on "Red", Boris Herrmann and Mathias Blumencron, the former editor of "Der Spiegel".

Close-hauled in around 15 knots of breeze, the NCR fleet made for the Saint Marcouf islands. Some opted for an offshore option prior to this compulsory passage, whilst others took their chances with a coastal option. Early that night, "Phoenix Europe – Carac" skippered by Louis Duc from Cherbourg and Stéphanie Alran from La Rochelle, were the first to link onto the Channel crossing thanks to a cunning option hugging the coast where it was sheltered from the current. "Made in Normandie" was in hot pursuit whilst the stars seemed to get bogged down. Making headway downwind, the wind picked up. Remaining slightly to the West of the great circle route, Alexandre Toulorge, also from Cherbourg, and Nicolas Jossier from nearby Granville, took the lead. Aboard their Kiwi 40, the duo were really packing a punch in this their first Class 40 race and first Normandy Channel Race.

In the early hours of Monday, "Made In Normandie" negotiated the Solent with ease and, close-hauled, soon had it in its wake. Behind them, "GDF SUEZ" skippered by Sébastien Rogues and Ludovic Aglaor, "Groupe Picoty" helmed by Jean-Christophe Caso and Aymeric Chappellier, slowly made up ground on the leaders thanks to a rather dangerous option flirting with the sand banks around the Needles. "Norma Concept – Le Pal" skippered by Bruno Jourdren and Thomas Ruyant, always among the winning options since Sunday's start, climbed into second place. On the nose, the winds were becoming increasingly strong as the fleet headed down the South coast of England.

In a biting cold the fleet made good speed off Poole and offshore of Start Point, whilst overnight on Monday, several competitors suffered from technical issues. On Tuesday morning, eight competitors had retired from the NCR, "GDF SUEZ" and "Norma Concept – Le Pal" opting to make for Plymouth so as not to damage their brand new Class 40s. A front situated above Ireland was causing the racers some concern and the Race Committee and Race Management took the tough decision not to send the sailors into the difficult seas off Ireland. In this way, a virtual waypoint had to be rounded some 50 miles North of Land's End. "Made in Normandie" was first to link onto the return leg, with some surfing on the programme!

On Tuesday evening, the top four, "Made In Normandie", "Mare", "Campagne de France" and "Geodis" were already on the homeward leg. On a reach they were able to glide across the English Channel, "Mare" really smoking as she made gains on the Normans. With 35 knots of breeze in the area, coloured by great fatigue for the majority of the sailors, the Normandy Channel Race was really living up to form...

By Wednesday afternoon they were on the home straight, upwind and then downwind, the two major protagonists in the Normandy Channel Race devoured the Raz Blanchard with gusto. It was at Barfleur that they began punching tide, with "Mare" extending away from the fleet and taking the win in style!

Entertainment as scheduled

Back on shore, there is no change to the great programme of entertainment lined up for the Normandy Channel Race. The race village will open on Friday at 1400 hours local time and spectators will be able to appreciate the Class 40s on the pontoon in Caen and enjoy the numerous festivities planned.
Since 2010, the Normandy Channel Race has been followed by an increasing number of enthusiasts and they were out in force for the start of this fourth edition, particularly as the fleet left Caen and paraded down the canal between Lower Normandy's capital and Ouistreham. They're sure to be back this weekend. The Normandy Channel Race 2014 is scheduled for May and in the meantime the Class 40 will participate in the Transat Jacques Vabre, which will set off from Le Havre on 3 November, bound for Brazil.

The overall standing can be viewed at www.normandy-race.com from tomorrow's arrival of the last boat, skippered by the valiant amateur duo on "Obportus 3".

Published in Offshore
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#Offshore - A fleet of 20 French yachts racing to Ireland narrowly avoided sailing into serious trouble off the Dorset coast earlier this week.

As BBC News reports, UK coastguard authorities scrambled to warn the yachts via emergency broadcast that they were headed towards an exclusion zone set up for a live firing exercise at Lulworth Ranges.

"It looks like there was a slight error made by the French authorities," said a coastguard spokesperson, who confirmed that the yachts were diverted from their dangerous course after contacting the race director.

According to Practical Boat Owner, the yachts were competing in the Normandy Channel Race which began on Sunday 14 April and continues till this Friday evening.

The race route to and from Caen in northern France traverses a triangle across the Celtic Sea, past the most southwesterly tip of Cornwall, via Tuskar Rock and Fastnet Rock.

Published in Offshore

Follow David Kenefick's progress in his final qualification race for this Summer's figaro race. Today's race at 320nm miles is the longest the Crosshaven sailor will have completed to date. He's also lining up against some of the best French skippers. more here.

Published in Figaro

#MaritimeBorder - Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has signed a new agreement that establishes a fixed maritime boundary between the UK and Ireland's offshore areas, as The Irish Times reports.

Gilmore put pen to paper on the deal with British ambassador to Ireland Dominick Chilcott that finalises a single boundary between the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) and continental shelves of both countries.

The agreement is expected to ease development of offshore energy projects, as well as improve fisheries protection and marine conservation in the EEZ, which lies above the continental shelf between 12 and 200 nautical miles off the coast.

However, despite the new deal, Ireland and Britain's differing claims over Rockall in the North Atlantic remain.

The small rocky islet, 228 nautical miles northwest of Donegal, is also claimed by Denmark and Iceland.

Published in Coastal Notes

#offshoresailing – There were four of them, back in 1968 in New York. There was Dick Nye (1903-1988). Briefly a theatrical hopeful, he'd got no further than spear carrier in an opera. But Broadway's loss was Wall Street's gain – the ebullient Nye had a stellar career in the wheelings and dealings of mergers and acquisitions and takeover battles, and this funded a love of offshore racing which he hadn't discovered until he was 44 .

Also present was his son Richard B Nye, business colleague and longtime shipmate in a hugely successful shared offshore racing career on both sides of the Atlantic, and across it. "Richard was the detail guy. Richard could remember every tack and sail combination on every race they had ever sailed. I only exaggerate a little. Between the two of them, they got maximum performance out of boat and crew."

The speaker is Sheila McCurdy, Commodore of the Cruising Club of America 2011-2012. She knew the Nyes well and sailed with them too, as she is the daughter of the third man present, yacht designer Jim McCurdy (1922-1994). Having served his time with the great Philip Rhodes, rising to head the Rhodes office's sailboat division, he had now set up his own partnership with his former boss's son Body Rhodes, and a new 48ft offshore racer for Dick and Richard Nye was one of McCurdy & Rhodes' first commissions.

McCurdy worked harmoniously with the Nyes. In 1955 in the Rhodes office, he had overseen the creation of their previous boat, the 54ft yawl Carina II, which had won both the 1955 and the 1957 Fastnets overall, and her class in the Bermuda Race too, plus a couple of Transatlantics. Carina II had been and still was a great boat, but the CCA rule had moved on. Being a beamy centreboard yawl had been a rating disadvantage under the RORC Rule, which made Carina II's Fastnet double all the more remarkable. But by 1968 it no longer conferred any advantage under the American rule either, something which was expected to be emphasised with the new International Offshore Rule.

It was hoped this ground-breaking global measurement rule would be unveiled by 1970. However, the Nyes - once they'd decided to move - were men in a hurry, and in August 1968 with Jim McCurdy they finalized a design which they reckoned would be a useful template for those framing the IOR. It was that and more.

The boat which emerged from their deliberations became the fourth member of the quartet, a personality in her own right. And with the death of Richard B Nye on March 14th at the age of 81, only Carina is left - American sailing's great survivor. She is still winning major offshore races in her fifth decade, still giving enormous pleasure to all who sail on her, and comfortably belying her age of 44 with timeless good looks.

She was built in aluminium, and kept as simple as possible. How about teak laid decks, even with their inevitable weight? As they say on Wall Street – fuggedaboudit. It wasn't that the Nyes were tight with the money, though they did shop around for value – their previous Carina had been built in Germany in a yard near Hamburg, as that offered the best deal at the time. But they readily spent money on the boat, particularly on the sails and rig, when genuine benefit would result.

And Jim McCurdy had an interesting approach to expenditure in building one-off yachts. Despite being of Ulster-Scots descent – you'll find McCurdys on Rathlin Island, and they're big around Ballymena and in The Glens – Jim McCurdy had a refreshingly open attitude to budgets, at variance with the popular perception of the Ulster-Scots' reputation for parsimony. In response to questions from Arthur Beiser for the latter's authorative book The Proper Yacht (Second Edition 1978), McCurdy suggested that anyone thinking of building the dreamship should consider "throwing financial responsibility to the winds and grabbing your dream as it slips away into an even more unfriendly future. There are those who have acted in this fashion and their irresponsibility turned, in fact, into wisdom that produced a great reward in enjoyment of sailing".
jimmccurdy
Jim McCurdy and Dick Nye aboard Carina in the 1972 Transatlantic Race to Spain, which they won by a huge margin. They were both great men for their cigars, earned here after a tactical gamble had paid off in spades.

Another time, he commented that those who concentrated on saving the pennies at every stage ended up spending more and achieving less than those who took the broader more generous view. Certainly with the previous Carina, when the Nyes' Wall Street speciality financial services firm was a much more modest operation than had become by 1968, the yacht style finish was to the highest standard, with all the trimmings. But with the sparse new boat, all was in line with the purpose of providing performance with just the basics of comfort needed by dedicated amateur crews for long races, and this remarkably handsome yet decidedly non-yachty sloop made her international debut at Cork in July 1969.

transatlantic
Shortly after the start of the 1969 Transatlantic Race to Cork, with Huey Long's maxi Ondine and the new Carina leading the only Irish entry, Perry Greer's Helen of Howth, past the Brenton Reef Light Tower. Photo: Tom Matthews

She'd raced Transatlantic, against a fleet which included one Irish entry, Perry Greer's John B Kearney-designed 54ft centreboard yawl Helen of Howth, which ironically had in some ways been inspired by the previous Carina. But Helen's owner was an inveterate gadgeteer and liked his cruising comforts. Even in racing trim, the Irish boat was no more than a fast cruiser, floating well below her designed waterline. The new austere Carina by contrast was very much a contender. So although in a big boat race to Cork the winner was the souped-up 12 Metre American Eagle from the 66ft S&S yawl Kialoa – Ted Turner from Jim Kilroy: there were giants in ocean racing in those days – Carina won her class in style, and her crew were enthused about her easy speed and good handling characteristics. Even today, after hundreds of thousands of miles, it's said she has never broached.

kialoa
Jim Kilroy's 66ft yawl Kialoa II placed second in the 1969 Transatlantic Race to Cork.

That Cork visit resulted in Transatlantic links to the Nyes which two years later in 1971 had the 22-year-old Ron Cudmore sail as crew on Carina in a fast delivery passage across the Atlantic. Dick Nye wanted to get to the 1971 Admirals Cup, Ron wanted to get home from the US, and as no Transatlantic Race was scheduled, they could sail the northern Great Circle route with no mandatory waypoint to keep them clear of ice. Carina zapped across in just over a fortnight on the open ocean - "Fast and very cold," as Ron recalls. "great boat, awesome skipper".

Another Irish sailor who particularly remembers her arriving in Crosshaven back in 1969 is Neil Kenefick. Aged 11 at the time, he and his father were invited to sail on Carina from Cork to Kinsale as the Nyes fitted in a tiny bit of cruising before heading off for Dick Nye's favourite regatta, Cowes Week, which included the Admirals Cup in which Carina was a member of the winning American Team.

carinainthesolent
Carina on the Solent in 1969, when she was a member of the winning American Admiral's Cup team. It's said that she has never broached, and here – tight spinnaker reaching under her original configuration of smaller rudder with trim tab on keel – she is giving the helmsman no problems.

Neil met up with them again in Cowes ten years later, when he himself was on the then-leading Irish Admirals Cup team aboard Golden Apple, and the Nyes were properly impressed. But Golden Apple was a 1979 Fastnet casualty, along with Ireland's Admirals Cup hopes, whereas Carina went round in style with three generations of Nyes aboard – Richard B's son Jonathan was in the crew. At the height of the gale Dick Nye, aged 76, roped himself into the cockpit the better to savour this storm of storms: "This is GREAT" he bellowed, "truly utterly GREAT!"

The boat had already won a Bermuda Race overall, and in 1982 with the old man finally feeling his years and retired from offshore racing, Richard Nye sailed as skipper on his own and Carina won the Bermuda Race overall again. The successes continued, but by the mid '90s the junior Nye was looking back on fifty years of active offshore racing. So Carina found an excellent new home with Rives Potts, whose CV included crewing for Dennis Conner in 12 Metres, and very varied boatyard work – it was he who had done most of the work in the angle-grinder event in Bob Derecktor's famous yard when Carina was given an up-dated keel and rudder profile to Scott Kauffmann designs in 1978.

carinabottom
Carina's hull profile as it is today, with the new keel-rudder configuration to Scott Kauffmann designs fitted in 1978. Originally she's had a skeg-hung rudder with a trim tab on the keel. Photo: Rives Potts

Since then in Potts ownership, the only significant change has been a new mast in carbon. It has been noted that it lessens pitching. But other than that, this is still the same Carina, immaculately and lovingly maintained. In 2010 she won the Bermuda Race overall, then in 2011 she came cross the Atlantic and won Class 5 and placed fifth overall in the record fleet in the Rolex Fastnet Race. Then she simply sailed straight off to Sydney under the command of the next generation, and got sixth in class in the Hobart Race and won the informal "father-son" division, and then sailed on round the world with a particularly impressive east-west crossing of the Indian Ocean from Perth to Cape Town to get back to the US just in time for the Bermuda Race 2012, and she won overall in that yet again.

She won't be in the Fastnet this year, but it's likely she'll be back in 2015. Rives Potts is a flag officer of the New York YC, which will sending a fleet across for the Bicentennial of the Royal Yacht Squadron. And in that fleet, the boat for true sailors will be this modest 46-year-old black sloop, American sailing's great survivor, a global superstar.

THE HIPPY HAPPY MIRROR DINGHY

Did you know there used to be Mirror dinghies for hippies, driven by flower power? Believe me, there were – we bought one for family use back in 1977 from a former suburban hippy round Dun Laoghaire way. Instead of a simple paint job for the hull, she was decorated in flowers from end to end.

The guy we bought her from was Norman Long. These day, he is of course F. Norman Long, senior sailor emeritus, pillar of the yachting establishment, and basking in the deserved glow of having played a key role – along with Theo and Avril Harris - of getting the annual frostbite series inaugurated under the auspices of the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, way back in 1974 or even earlier.

But in his more relaxed moments yonks ago, Norman would have dreamt of making the scene in San Francisco. I don't think he got there, yet he grew his hair long, and he painted his boat with psychedelic flowers on a pink background. But regrettably, it wasn't that which drew us to the boat. We simply wanted a Mirror dinghy because it offered so much for an impecunious family with two small children and another on the way, and Norman's was for sale as he was getting involved with offshore racing.

The Mirror was the right choice for us. They're great little big-hearted boats, one of the cleverest dinghy design concepts of all time. She gave us two happy summers and was everything we needed for local mini-cruises – some boats twice the size couldn't carry as many people - and the very occasional race. But it wasn't until the flowers had gone that we made our debut with our new pride-and-joy. We smuggled her back home on the roof of our battered little car, and hid her in the garage - it hadn't become an office in those days. When she reappeared, immaculate yacht white with a neat dark green boot-top – a proper boot-top, not silly stripes – the neighbours thought it was a different boat entirely.

mirrordinghyone
Mirror action at Rosses Point in Sligo. This year the class is celebrating its Golden Jubilee, and the Worlds are at Lough Derg in August.
Photo: Bryan Armstrong

These fond memories are evoked by the fact that this month marks the Golden Jubilee of the Mirror Class Assocation. It was actually 1962 when DIY guru Barry Bucknell and ace dinghy designer Jack Holt pooled their considerable talents to produce the smallest possible boat which could do just about everything, and they succeeded brilliantly. Of course they're now mainly known for their racing, but for simply sailing they're great too, and seaworthy with it – one intrepid Mirror sailor managed to get all the way from Shropshire in England across Europe to the Black Sea.

The essence of the design is that it was dictated by what could be done with marine ply by amateur builders. The stitch-and-glue technique conferred strength and shape, while the need for economy and internal space dictated the pram bow.

Inevitably over the years, racing demands have meant that people have lost sight of the original very basic concept. For instance, they now have bermudan rig, where originally they'd a sensible sliding gunter set-up with all the spars stowable within the hull when un-rigged, which was very user friendly.

Less user-friendly was the need to keep weight and price down, thus they were built with ultra-light inexpensive plywood, of marine standard but pushing it a bit. It couldn't be neglected at all. So in time there were attempts to build competitive boats in lower maintenance glassfibre, and when the Worlds were held in Ireland in 2001, the Australians turned up with plastic boats which did the business.

mirrordinghytwo
The shape of the Mirror dinghy is dictated by the demands of plywood construction, and the need for economy and light weight.
Photo: Bryan Armstrong

But in the long run, it's absurd to use fibreglass to build boats whose shape was created in the first place by the unique demands of plywood construction, utilising a totally hard chine shape. We mentioned that here some weeks ago in considering the 30ft van de Stadt-designed Royal Cape ODs. Those slippy little plywood sea sleds had given so much sport that somebody though it would be a great idea to build them in more durable glassfibre. But only four were built in plastic as the absurdity of sticking to the confines of a totally plywood design concept became obvious.

It should be possible to create a design which has the Mirror's excellent roominess, attractive sailing ability and compact size, while taking much greater advantage of the shape options which plastic construction offers. But of course, such a boat would need all the hassle of creating a new class, with its essential dedicated adherents. The Mirror dinghy comes with its own extraordinary ready-made hinterland of wonderful memories and great sport.

So we wish them a very happy 50th Birthday. And where does an impecunious sailing family go after two great years with a Mirror? Into a Squib of course – where else?

Published in W M Nixon

#isora – Preparing for the offshore racing season and especially the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race and Fastnet Race is the subject of Wednesday's pre-season ISORA talk at the National Yacht Club on Wednesday at 7pm. 'Prof' O'Connell of North Sails Ireland will talk about "Offshore Trim and Speed" and Mick Liddy will talk about "Offshore Tactics and Navigation".
There will be a wine reception afterwards.

Published in ISORA
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#roundireland – After spending last Friday night in the lee of Mount Snowdon, with 35-50 knot winds and rough seas off the Welsh coast, Team Oman Sail called it a day on their ill-fated record attempt and headed back to France early on Saturday morning.

Steve Fossett's 1993 record lives on but Irish crew man Damian Foxall has promised to return and make another attempt.

If the ultra fast MOD70 trimaran gets the right conditions it is estimated as much as ten hours can be shaved off the 1993 Lakota 44 hour record, thanks to new sailing technology.

For now though, Omansail continues its three week training session (part of a build up to the Round Europe race) back in Lorient, France.

'On Tuesday we are out testing with the new Tri Prince de Bretagne', Foxall told Afloat.ie

The following week three MOD 70's go to the training centre in PLF, Oman Sail will line up with Gitana and hopefully Jean Pierre Dick's new MOD 70 Paprec Virbac.

'We've a good season ahead, a couple of short Breton races, three more training sessions, then the Round Europe with a stopover in Dublin, the Fastnet'

The miles flow easy under the MOD 70 hulls and with Foxall's commitment it look's like Omansail will certainly be back for the Fossett record.

Published in Offshore

This morning's Round Ireland record bid has been abandoned and Damian Foxall and the crew of the MOD70 who sheltered off the Welsh coast in freezing conditions last night are returning to Lorient, France directly this morning. The disappointing news came from Skipper Sidney Gavignet in an email to World Speed sailing commissioner Chris Moore who was standing by to officiallly start the record challenge at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire this morning.

Dear Chris,

We will not attempt the record this time, we are aiming back to Lorient. Conditions are "almost" ok, but we prefer to play the safe decision. Hopefully we will come back later in the year, in better conditions.

All our team thanks you a lot for all your efforts, we regret we won't see you but it will happen later.

Best regards

Sidney Gavignet

Gavignet, Foxall and a four man professional crew had originally targeted last Thursday as the optimum start time off the Kish lighhouse but the 1000km delivery trip from Lorient was delayed by 24 hours. They eventually left the French port at tea time on Thursday and endured strong winds and heavy seas on their voyage across the channel and up the Irish Sea, eventually running for shelter under bare pole into Cardigan Bay yesterday (Friday) afternoon.

Last night the crew were enjoying their first hot meal in 24 hours and were obviously considering their options overnight.

"Still gusting 40 knots, but flat seas. It is very cold, snow on the mountains. Right now Sidney and Thomas Le Breton are having their first hot meal of the day! Spirits are up and all is well"

At 07.18 this morning they were heading for home. We look forward to seeing them back near Irish shores again soon.

Read WM Nixon's Saturday Sailing blog on all the past Round Ireland speed records dating back to 1899! Click Here.

Update from Oman Sail released on Sunday:

With a very busy training and racing season ahead, Musandam-Oman Sail's French skipper Sidney Gavignet chose safety for the crew and the boat this morning over the Round Ireland Record attempt and decided to turn back to Lorient in France where the boat is based.

The strong winds that looked set to aid Musandam-Oman Sail's attempt on the Round Ireland record proved too strong in the end and while conditions had decreased a little overnight, the wind was gusting 38knots plus and the sea state was still very rough with 4m at the Fastnet. Writing from the boat, Sidney said: "We will not attempt the record this time, we are heading back to Lorient. The conditions are 'almost' ok, but we prefer to play it safe with such a busy season ahead, our priority is the crew and boat safety. Hopefully we will come back later in the year to try for the record in better conditions."

The six-man crew had been on standby for almost 18 hours, making assessments with each weather update on the feasibility of success in their attempt on the 708 mile record, with impact on both boat and crew figuring high in their considerations.
To set a new record, Musandam-Oman Sail had to complete the circuit in less than 44 hours and 42 minutes, the record set by sailor, balloonist and adventurer Steve Fossett on his 60 foot trimaran Lakota in 1993.
With a new crew featuring experienced internationals Neal McDonald, Damian Foxall and Thomas Le Breton and Omani nationals Fahad Al Hasni and Ahmed Al Maamari, the Round Ireland record attempt marked their first competitive activity, with this race against the clock seen as good preparation for a busy season of racing in Europe.

 

Published in Offshore
Tagged under

#roundirelandrecord – A change in weather forecast has led Kerry sailor Damian Foxall to postpone his bid to beat the Round Ireland speed sailing record for 24 hours. The Oman Sail trimaran craft skippered by Sidney Gavignet is now set to arrive from France on Friday 22nd off the Kish lighthouse on Dublin Bay. The 20-year old record set by Steve Fossett in 1993 stands at 44 hours.

Foxall and his five man crew (who may yet be joined by an Irish sailor) have identified strong easterly winds gusting to over 40 knots to start the record bid. XC weather forecasts strong East South East winds for 72 hours from late on Thursday.

The National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire will officiate the World Speed Sailing Record bid under its Irish commissioner Chris Moore.

 

 

Published in Offshore

#Figaro - The course for this year's Solitaire du Figaro has been finalised - with no Irish port in the lineup.

The Daily Sail details the four legs of the 44th edition of the prestigious and challenging single-handed offshore race, that will take the fleet from Bordeaux to Porto, Gijón, Roscoff and Dieppe - with no changes from the course unveiled in December.

But despite indications that Ireland would have a host port on the race route, following previous stop-overs on Kinsale, Dingle, Howth, Crosshaven and Dun Laoghaire, it appears this summer's running will be a purely continental event.

Even so, Ireland will be represented among the competing fleet by the brother of last year's Sailor of the Year David Kenefick, who is set to make his Figaro debut.

The Cork Harbour helmsman, who came second in the La Grande Motte recently, discussed race tactics as he steps up his training ahead of the race from 2-23 June.

Published in Figaro
Page 26 of 33

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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