Irish Figaro campaign
With Irish ports hosting events as diverse as the Volvo Ocean Race, the MOD 70 European Tour and the Youth Sailing World Championships, and Irish sailors competing at the highest level around the world with Damian Foxhall winning this year’s Volvo Ocean Race on Groupama and Annalise Murphy finishing fourth at the Olympic Games, so another significant Irish sailing campaign gets underway.
Highlight of the Figaro season is annual La Solitaire du Figaro, effectively the world championship of solo offshore race. The event is a frequent visitor to Irish ports. 2013 will see only the fourth Irish sailor ever to enter this competition.
“I’m really excited about this incredible opportunity to embark on a Figaro campaign," says Kenefick. "The number of offshore legends that have passed through and regularly compete in the Figaro class is unbelievable. This 32-foot racing class features water-ballast, two rudders, some pretty sophisticated autopilot and navigation routing electronics and is strictly One Design. There is a well-supported racing circuit with this class in France that culminates with the Solitaire du Figaro race each year.
“I haven’t been sailing in this class for long but I already have an appreciation for how tough this is going to be. I would say that a few weeks ago I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Today I am beginning to appreciate the complexity of this discipline of the sport plus obviously managing myself, my fitness and my commercial programme,” Kenefick continues.
The sport of shorthanded offshore racing requires total commitment and years of practice, preparation and competition before skippers get to a credible level. From the moment in September that Kenefick decided to go ahead with this campaign every day has counted.
“There are just over seven months to the start of the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro race and everyday in my training schedule counts. My programme is being managed by Figaro veteran Marcus Hutchinson who has organised my boat and technical programme and secured for me a place in the elite CEM training centre in La Grande Motte on the French Mediterranean coast. We will be here for the next five months developing my shorthanded sailing skills to such a level that I can confidently compete in the Solitaire du Figaro in 2013,” he elaborates
The season will see several training races before the Solitaire du Figaro in June and then several other big competitions later in the summer.
“My season after la Solitaire will see me racing in Cowes Week and then tackling the Rolex Fastnet Race, for which the Figaro class will have its own start next year. We are expecting at least ten boats to sail the race two-handed,” he concludes.
The full schedule for David Kenefick’s programme is as follows:
CEM Training Centre, La Grande Motte (November-March)
Icom Cup, Marseille (6-12 March)
Solo Concarneau, Concarneau (4-9 May)
Transmanche, l’Aberwrach (16-20 May)
La Solitaire du Figaro, Bordeaux to Dieppe (2 – 31 June)
Cowes Week (3-9 August)
Rolex Fastnet Race (11-15 August)
Two-handed Tour of Brittany (31 August – 7 September)
Generali Med (22-30 September)