As I sit down to write the February update, it dawns on me how quickly the month has gone by and also how much sailing and time on the water has been accomplished in 28 days!
We started the month on the water, sailing and training with Susan Beucke from Germany, silver medalist in the 49er FX class exploring the adventures of offshore sailing at the Figaro 3 circuit. Starting from Lorient we sailed with Lorient Grand Large. For me it was a chance to train with a different perspective and different training partners including Irish offshore champion Tom Dolan.
The superb sailing week made up for the fact that the team trailer was broken into and a lot of expensive and necessary ancillary equipment was stolen including scuba gear, stacking bags, offshore dry suits to name but a few of the items we will unfortunately have to deal with deal with the reduced resources that we need to replace.
To wrap up the first week we made our way back to La Rochelle where number 20 was stationed. Next up was a week of solo sailing for Kenny to ensure solo skills were still there as the potential to compete in some upcoming Figaro 3 events became a growing reality. During the week we had mixed conditions with windy days as well as light days, most importantly the solo skills were there! To complete the week it was necessary to deliver 20 north to Lorient as there was another charter on the boat for old skipper Will Harris and team Malizia. The 24 hour delivery was a perfect reminder that solo sailing at night in winter is not that fun!
“The solo sailing community out here in France cannot be underestimated”
With 20 chartered for a week there was time off and an opportunity to return to Ireland for some rest and recovery which was much needed…
Recharged and ready to go again and a nice surprise of a first class trip to France with Aer Lingus, it was off to Lorient to collect 20 and head south to the Ile d’Yeu for a 10 day training camp with Pole La Rochelle! I was joined for the week by Timothy Long from the UK. Timothy has an impressive sailing background, having circumnavigated the UK when he was just 15!
Conor Fogerty and his Figaro number 64 RAW would also join us for his first Figaro training camp. It was a pleasure to leave Lorient on the back of a front and it was a pleasure to have a co-skipper from Maïween Deffontaines to sail to the Ile d’Yeu with! Perfect conditions all the way there under gennaker in 20 knots of wind we made light work of the delivery arriving at the dock to be picked up by Timothy with plenty of time to get the boat ready for an intense week of training.
The week has certainly been intense, lots of wind every day in these conditions that you only get every now and then to actually push a boat and see what it can do! On a trip around the island we had 25 knots downwind with the big spinnaker up and then a blast with the gennaker in 30 knots! Check out our video below to get an idea of how intense the boat is!
Unfortunately Timothy had commitments to fulfill in the UK and I had to do a nice 24 hour individual practice race with the rest of the group. Slight downwind conditions followed by wind and lots of gennaker sailing back towards the island!
After much training and sailing it was time to return to Ireland. Literally 4 hours back on the island, enough time for a quick sleep and packing before we headed out again to sail the boats to St Gilles to put them to bed for a week or two!
The community out here shouldn’t be underestimated. No sooner had I arrived in St Gilles on a Saturday than the slings on the crane were changed and number 20 was out of the water and safe in its cradle! Top work by Guillaume and the team at Port La Vie and we also had Conor’s boat number 64 out! After a manic 48 hours it was time for some rest and food!
We have been in March for a few days and it is already busy, we provide a lot of training to the Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association and have a lot to do and plan as previously reported here
It’s great to be busy!