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Displaying items by tag: solo sailing

As reported in Afloat.ie on 1st September here, fifteen-year-old solo sailor Timothy Long from Buckinghamshire is fundraising for the Ellen McArthur Cancer Trust by sailing solo around Britain, a distance of approximately 1600 miles.

In his Hunter Impala 28 'Alchemy' he called at Bangor Marina on his way south from the Clyde and left for his home port of Southampton on 4th September stopping off in Ardglass on the south Down coast before heading for Holyhead.

He arrived at Holyhead on Sunday 6th September after 15 hours at sea. Timothy said "Arriving here felt like a real milestone as crossing the Irish Sea has been something that I have had on my mind for a while! It wasn't a whole load of fun either although it started off well and we were averaging 5.5 knots, the sea state quite quickly became confused and choppy to the point where we were only doing 2.5 kts which was incredibly frustrating. However, we had a pretty cool encounter with a pod of 20 Dolphins which was absolutely brilliant and was the highlight of the day!"

Having had to delay his departure from Holyhead by about 18 hours due to adverse weather, he arrived in Pwllheli Marina in North Western Wales on Friday (11th) which he says was frustrating as it meant he had to sail through the night.

He continued "The passage to Pwllheli started off quite bumpy with big standing waves, which of course feel even bigger in the dark".

Timothy will head off tomorrow for Fishguard, then Milford Haven but he needs a weather window to cross the Bristol Channel. At this stage he has raised £4500 of the £5000 target.

Published in Solo Sailing
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While Ireland is battered by the multiple surges of Storm Ellen, the irrepressible Pat Lawless of Ballyferriter on the Dingle Peninsula is riding it out on the southern fringes of the huge weather system, halfway home from the Azores in his robust Saltram Saga 36.

His boat Iniscealtra is a modern variant on the classic Colin Archer concept, and Pat is building up ocean miles towards participation in the 2022 Golden Globe Race.

The word from the far southwest of Ireland is that he’d been looking for something approaching real Southern Ocean weather in the North Atlantic, and It looks as though the south side of Storm Ellen has obliged. For now, we’re told that all is well on board as the Ballyferriter man rides it out under bare poles aboard Iniscealtra, named after the renowned holy island on Lough Derg.

Pat Lawless aboard IniscealtraPat Lawless aboard IniscealtraWhile the winds halfway between the Azores and Ireland may not be as severe as some of those experienced in Ireland in the last 18 hours, Iniscealtra has still been experiencing full Atlantic gales

Published in Golden Globe Race
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Ireland’s solo racer Tom Dolan gave his hopes for this year’s La Solitaire du Figaro solo offshore race a significant boost when he and French co-skipper François Jambou finished second overall on Smurfit Kappa in the Figaro duo class of the 428 nautical miles Drheam Cup yesterday.

For most of the race, the Irish/French duo enjoyed a spirited match race against the eventual category winners, French 2012 Olympian Pierre Leboucher sailing with Benoit Mariette, and finished less than five minutes behind the class victors.

Dolan and Jambou were eighth across the finish line overall in the Figaro class which was won outright by Briton Sam Goodchild.

Dolan was pleased with the Smurfit Kappa duo’s race and the result, atoning for a disappointing light wind Maitre-CoQ solo offshore race two weeks ago when he finished mid-fleet.

“I am pretty happy. We sailed well. We went the right way all of the time and stuck to the roadbook, our strategy, and that paid off. We were quick enough all the time and that augers well for the future. I have sailed with François eight or ten times now and so we are a good team.” Smiled Dolan at the finish in La Trinite.

The course took the fleet from Sunday’s start off Cherbourg-Cotentin north across the Channel, turning west to Wolf Rock then south to La Trinite.

“I am especially pleased because the race was a complete test starting out in light winds, with some stronger spells with some upwind and downwind but lots of reaching when you have to be fast. We started badly – again – but worked our way up through the fleet progressively and then held our own. We had a little bit of an error during the second night when we were working to keep a boat in check which we thought was Leboucher but the lights were those of a different boat.” Dolan recalled, “But the key takeaway from this is that the course was like a leg of the Solitaire and we did well enough, certainly I am a bit more confident than after the Maitre-CoQ.”

"Need to check for damage after hitting an unidentified object during the race"

“The game was played on the first night really when the wind came from the east towards the end of the crossing of the Channel and we were to the right of the fleet and so that was good and paid off. Then we stuck to the strategy, to the roadbook I had prepared, and raced the boats around us. That is a good lesson in itself.”

Racing with the Mini Transat winner Jambou, the duo elected to put in some time now to enhance their prospects for next year’s two handed Transat AG2R, Transatlantic. And Dolan is preparing to diversify his programme towards selection for Ireland for the 2024 Olympics’ mixed offshore racing. The race also represent a gilt edged opportunity to run what will be part of this summer’s La Solitaire course.

On returning to base today (Wednesday) Dolan will have the Figaro Beneteau Smurfit lifted out of the water to check for damage after hitting an unidentified object during the race.

“It is a little bit of a worry because in terms of repairs and preparation I am just working myself at the moment with no help. But there is no sign of damage to the inside skin of the boat so I am hoping it will be OK.” Dolan concluded.

Published in Figaro

County Meath Solo sailor Tom Dolan is dicing for the lead this morning in the closing stages of the double-handed Drheam Cup as the fleet close in on the La Trinite sur Mer finish line. See tracker below.

A determined Dolan – who is sailing with France's Francois Jamnbou – is making good on his pre-race commitment to make amends for a mid-fleet performance in last month's Solo Maitre Coq season debut.

This morning Dolan and Jambou are heading south with under 70 miles to go in the 400-miler that started on Sunday.

The French-Irish pair, competing in the Figaro Duo class, are just .5 mile behind leader Guy Environment (Pierre Leboucher) in the seven-boat Figaro duo class.

As well as being second in class, Dolan's Smurfit Kappa - Concarneau Entreprendre Ireland campaign is also lying in the top ten of the 100-boat Drheam Cup overall.

Tom Dolan is in contention for Drheam Cup class honous later todayTom Dolan is in contention for Drheam Cup class honours later today

Before the start, Dolan gave an insight as to how he was going to sail the race: Look I did not do well on the Maitre CoQ the last race and that was disappointing so I am really looking forward to putting that behind me and sailing with Francois. We have been good mates for many years together and started a little business teaching and coaching people on the Mini, so we know each other well.” Dolan emphasizes, “Our skills are complementary, we work well together. He has shown he can win races and so it will be good to have some fresh ideas and to be able to support each other. A second opinion is what you lack racing solo and so it will be nice to have that this time.”

Dolan added, “Francois is very calm, and very French in the way he approaches his sailing. That is to say different to Anglo Saxon, he is quiet and intuitive and able to hold the rhythm of the race. I have tended to be too up and down recently and so I have worked on that. There is a good level of trust between us, knowing when each other are tired and taking over at the right time to keep the performance up.”

Drheam Cup 2020 leaderboard showing Ireland's Tom Dolan in second overallDrheam Cup 2020 leaderboard

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee, in their first outing in the Figaro 3 having been neck and neck with Dolan at one point are lying fifth in class, some forty miles astern of the leaders.

Both Rumball and Dolan are working up for September's season climax, the La Solitaire du Figaro.

See race tracker below. Select 'LA Drheam Cup 400' and then Group: 'Figaro Duo' to see the latest from the racecourse.

Published in Figaro

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee make their double-handed debut for Ireland at the Drheam Cup on Sunday and joining them on the Figaro Beneteau 3 fleet start line are County Meath and French combination Tom Dolan and Mini Transat Winner François Jambou in what is the first major multi-class race on the French coast this season.

The 400-mile race mirrors some of what is likely to be part of September’s pinnacle event the La Solitaire du Figaro offshore in which Rumball and Dolan have their sights on.

Both Rumball and Dolan will be looking for a performance boost after both Irish solo sailors posted mixed results in the Solo Maitre Coq last month.

It will be the first time the Figaro Beneteau 3 fleet has been invited to race in this 100-plus boat event which has become a multi-class French offshore Grand Prix, set to feature the Ultime and IMOCA fleets too.

Tom Dolan Tom Dolan sailing with Mini Transat Winner François Jambou

The course starts from Cherbourg Cotentin and finishes in Lorient and first takes the fleet across the Channel to the West Shambles mark off Weymouth, westwards along the English coast to Wolf Rock off Land’s End and then back across the entrance to the Channel to finish at Lorient.

"We’ve had a bit of time off now with the boat in the shed getting antifouled and we had a chance to get the rig out ahead of the Drheam Cup. This we will do doublehanded, in line with the main aim of the programme" says Rumball who gives a nod to their Paris 2024 Olympic bid.

Dolan admits he did not do well on the Maitre CoQ.  "That was disappointing so I am really looking forward to putting that behind me and sailing with Francois. We have been good mates for many years together and started a little business teaching and coaching people on the Mini, so we know each other well.” Dolan emphasises, “Our skills are complementary, we work well together. He has shown he can win races and so it will be good to have some fresh ideas and to be able to support each other. A second opinion is what you lack racing solo and so it will be nice to have that this time.”

The Drheam 2020 programme

  • Thursday 16 July: Arrival of boats in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin
  • Friday 17 and Saturday 18 July: Technical and safety checks
  • Sunday 19 July: DRHEAM-CUP start
  • From Tuesday 21 July: arrival of boats in La Trinité-sur-Mer

Garry Crothers, the indomitable 64-year-old one-armed solo sailor from Lough Swilly Yacht Club, hopes to get back to his Lough Foyle berth in Derry on Saturday after completing his Coronavirus Lockdown-enforced 3,500 mile marathon from the Caribbean in his Ovni 435 Kind of Blue.

This morning (Thursday) he is enjoying pleasant conditions as Kind of Blue passes the coast of Connacht far offshore, but as the day draws on the weather will deteriorate from the west, although the winds will at least remain in a favourable direction. While every attempt to comply with social-distancing restrictions will be in place at Foyle Marina as he reaches home, it is going to be a very emotional moment for his family and friends and many supporters when Kind of Blue comes up the River Foyle at the conclusion of this remarkable achievement.

Garry Crothers – with unsettled conditions in the Atlantic, it has taken a month to get back to ireland from the CaribbeanGarry Crothers – with unsettled conditions in the Atlantic, it has taken a month to get back to Ireland from the Caribbean

Published in Cruising

Fancy a little distraction? I've decided to show you some of the steps that we took to reduce waste during last year's Solitaire du Figaro writes Irish Solo Sailor Tom Dolan

Now more than ever we all need to think about what we buy, where it comes from and where it goes afterwards.

Snacks are difficult to choose; they need to be high in calories while at the same time being tough enough to survive banging around the boat for a couple of days. 

So, we can quickly get lazy when shopping and buy things that are triple wrapped in single-use plastic, things that we wouldn't normally eat on land. So why do differently at sea? It took a bit of searching. 

I found this great chocolate called 'Grain de Sail', which is manufactured in Brittany. The raw materials (green coffee and cocoa) come mainly from the Caribbean and Central America and are sourced equitably. The company are building their own sailing boat in order to transport the raw materials under sail! Their packaging is made entirely of paper and to top it all off it is very, very good! 

I bought dried and fresh fruit and stored it in reusable Tupperware boxes along with cold meats and portions of cheese all from the local market or shop and again wrapped in paper.

  • Sacrifices: Babybel, Snickers and penguin bars!
  • What I saved: A little under one small bin bag full of single-use plastic packaging
  • Shopping list: Lots and lots of reusable Tupperware!
Published in Solo Sailing

The Coronavirus outbreak has caused French organisers of the Solo Maitre Coq and the Transat AG2R La Mondiale to delay both events and with it the plans of Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan for an Irish bid in the Transatlantic Race. 

For now though, County Meath's Dolan, who is based in France, must sit and wait to find out how the French Offshore Racing Championship will be reorganised before the Solitaire du Figaro race begins this summer.

"I'm keeping busy with physical exercises, weather classes offered by Lorient Grand Large and a lot of paperwork", Dolan said on social media.

Also as Afloat reported earlier, Dolan is expected back to Irish waters for trialling with a new female sailing partner in a bid to represent Ireland in the World Offshore Sailing Championships. As also reported previously, these trials will now be sailed as part of June's SSE Renewables Round Ireland Race from Wicklow.

Published in Solo Sailing
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On Saturday, the 22nd February, Bill Hatfield became the oldest man to sail around the world solo and non-stop. But Bill is not only the oldest man to circumnavigate the world solo, nonstop and unassisted at age 81, he’s now also secured two official records regardless of age, as confirmed by the World Sailing Speed Record (WSSR) Council on the 11th March 2020.

The WSSR Council announces the establishment of a new World Record Reference Time:

Time: Around the World Westabout. Singlehanded 40ft
Yacht: “L’Eau Commotion”. Northshore 38. Monohull
Name: Bill Hatfield. AUS
Dates: 8th June 2019 to the 22nd February 2020
Start time: 02; 04; 10 UTC on 08/06/19
Finish time: 00; 28; 19 UTC on 22/02/20
Elapsed time: 258 days 22 hours 24 minutes and 9 seconds
Distance: 21600 NM
Average speed: 3.48 kts
Comments:
No previous record - hence this will be listed as an “Initial Benchmark Time”

When asked to confirm that this record is regardless of age, Bill wrote, “Yes it’s the first Westabout circumnavigation [solo nonstop] from Australia and the first Westabout circumnavigation from any country [solo nonstop] in a vessel under 40 feet regardless of age.”

“I really didn’t set out for it to be a big media thing. A few people said I must do a blog and, because I did it every day, I rather selfishly thought if I didn’t do it everyday people would take seriously any EPIRB activation and I did get a few alerts when I got closer to land than I should have. The girl in black (see photo) is my daughter, Katherine Ann Lambros with whom I race in National Masters rowing regattas in a double scull, the lady on my right is Angie Bell MP, Federal Member for Moncrieff and the upraised arm is that of my grandson Constantine Lambros.”

Published in Solo Sailing
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Solo sailor Jeanne Socrates, a member of the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC), has sailed into Victoria BC harbour on the west coast of Canada on 7th September after successfully completing another single-handed unassisted nonstop circumnavigation. Jeanne set sail from Victoria on the 3 October 2018 on NEREIDA with the intent of becoming the oldest person to sail alone around the world. She is 77 years old.

NEREIDA had severe mainsail damage in the Cape Horn area which took a long time to repair, suffered a knockdown SW of New Zealand after which she had to enter Timaru Bay in NZ to make repairs, and later lost her headsail in the North Pacific.

Jeanne’s single-mindedness and determination to complete this voyage has culminated in a successful conclusion and she received a warm welcome back from many of her local supporters. All OCC members offer Jeanne their congratulations and Bravo Zulu!

According to Marine Traffic, NEREIDA arrived at Port VICTORIA on 2019-09-07 at 16:22 Local Time (2019-09-07 23:22 UTC).

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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