David Kenefick’s musings and thoughts as the fleet patiently and anxiously await this evening’s (Sat) FG at 18.30 hrs for Leg Two of this daunting and extremely challenging single handed race.
Leg Two of the 2014 Solitaire du Figaro is upon us and FULL IRISH – Comptoir Irlandais is all geared up and ready. We are currently in balmy Plymouth with incredible weather and about to be given the race briefing for the next leg. That will be 535 miles from here to our very own Fastnet Rock and back to Roscoff. Exciting for me as any leg is but especially because we are going to be close to home for me. I sailed around the Fastnet Rock in the Fastnet Race last year with Olaf Sorensen but that was two-handed. This of course is different, thirty nine boats in the fleet, all of us on our own, and all of us fighting for places in the most important race of our year.
So, what’s it going to be like? Well all of us are enjoying major summer weather that inevitably means not too much wind. It’s going to take a long time. Although we will have reaching and spinnaker conditions for most of the way out and back it isn’t going to be physical, it will be mental. There are a few obstacles on the way some of them real and some of them virtual. We have to respect the Traffic Separation Zones of which there are three large areas to the West and South of Lands End, at the Fastnet Rock and North of Ushant. If we stray into there areas it is instant disqualification. But we can only see them on our navigation charts and computer screens. There are no lines on the water!!!
We will start in Plymouth with an hour long inshore element around the buoys in Plymouth Sound before heading out to the West. The start is at 18:30 today (Sat) breeze is dropping off and the gradient is re-establishing itself from the other direction and will eventually be a Northerly going North East 10-15 knots all the way to Ireland.
I’m pretty sure the wind will drop considerably as we approach the Rock as it is almost coincident with the centre of the high pressure you are enjoying this weekend and next week. We will have to be careful because there will be light winds and transitions from gradient to sea breeze as we approach the Irish coast. We will make landfall somewhere between Castletownsend and Loch Hyne as we have to round The Stags South Cardinal buoy before making our way to the Rock. The reason for this little detour is to keep us safely away from the Traffic Separation Zone just to the South of the lighthouse. There may not be any wind and plenty of strong current flowing that might take us into the TSS, and that would mean instant disqualification. No messing. So if you will be around on Monday morning in that part of the world look out for the boat with the tricolor and the shamrock on the mainsail…
The way back to Roscoff from the Fastnet is the best part of 300 miles in a straight line. That’s a long way in a straight line and the further we go the windier it will get which basically means those who are ahead will go faster earlier. It will turn into a beat at the end in quite a bit of breeze and we should arrive in Roscoff sometime on Wednesday.
To all followers of this Leg The team will try to keep you posted along the way but check out the great tracker on lasolitaire.com and also my facebook page.
David, the Executive Committee, Members and Staff of the Royal Cork are with you every step of the way and wishing you well.
Meilleur de la chance et avoir un voyage sécuritaire!