David Kenefick delivered on his goal of improving on his rookie year in the gruelling Solitaire du Figaro single-handed event yesterday when he crossed the finishing of the final stage of the event in 20th place.
The result leaves him 23rd overall in the fleet of 38 boats of this year’s Figaro, which is considered the breeding ground for the world’s best ocean sailors.
Jérémie Beyou was the overall winner, and in the process wrote himself into the solo race’s record books, becoming only the fourth skipper to have triumphed overall three times.
Kenefick sailed the equivalent of three Fastnet Races (605 miles) in as many weeks, with the final stage from Les Sables d’Olonne to Cherbourg especially tough.
In 2013, the Royal Cork Yacht Club sailor won the overall Rookie of the Year trophy before taking time out to decide whether to commit to a second intense programme of preparation and competition.
Meanwhile, after a marathon four days and just over four hours at sea, the first finisher in the Round Ireland Race reached Wicklow Harbour yesterday evening to take line honours in the 704-mile race.
However, while the larger boats were dominating the unofficial contest for line honours and with the course record long since surrendered to the light winds, the attention switches to the handicap stakes that decide the outright winner.
The provisional standings indicated the Ian Hickey’s Cavatina from the RCYC had regained first place on corrected time.
The 38-footer was enjoying a fillip of sorts thanks to the faster reaching conditions along the north coast past Rathlin Island. Key rival Tanit, skippered by Richard Harris, was already starting the Irish Sea approach to the finish. While apparently dropping down the standings, Tanit was battling headwinds that Cavatina is yet to encounter and will most certainly do so early today.
Those conditions appear set to deny Hickey a third outright victory in this race.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved