Damian Foxall determined to stay out of trouble this time

David Kenifick lifts Rookie-of-the-Year award for his debut performance in the single-handed Figaro class

Damian Foxall is bracing himself for a tough Jacques Vabre Transatlantic Race.

Damian Foxall is bracing himself for a tough Jacques Vabre Transatlantic Race.

Thu, Oct 17, 2013, 21:04


In a week that saw Cork sailor David Kenifick lift the Rookie-of-the-Year award for his debut performance in the single-handed Figaro class, marking the end of the main European season, preparations are underway for the Jacques Vabre Transatlantic Race as boats prepare to escape the worst of the winter weather ahead.

Old ghosts will be laid to rest when these professional crews get underway from Le Harve at the end of this month as a large fleet gathers for the 6,000 nautical mile contest to Itajai in Brazil.

Aside from the distance and the worsening weather with the onset of autumn, the race is sailed two-handed and non-stop for three weeks.

This exorcism of sorts is multi-layered, at least it is for Damian Foxall, who returns to this race for the first time since 2005.

That ended barely three days into the start on board Foncia with Armel le Cleac’h after their trimaran capsized at night in sudden gale force gust.

“This is a very tough race, right at the start of autumn,” Foxall told The Irish Times yesterday. “I’m determined to stay out of trouble this time and do well.”

Returns to Lorient
The Kerry sailor returns to Lorient in Brittany this weekend where he will re-join his co-skipper Sidney Gavignet on Oman Air Musandam, their Multi-One-Design (MOD) 70-footer that they have been campaigning around Europe this year.

But perhaps the biggest item on the agenda is the future of the MOD70 class itself.

Having taken over from the older, more costly ORMA 60 footers, these new boats with their one-design programme aimed at delivering high-performance with controlled budgets, have been hampered by the economic mayhem globally and the original seven boat fleet has suffered a series of setback.

The Route des Princes Round Europe Race earlier this year saw the spectacular full capsize of Spindrift off Dún Laoghaire that resulted in serious injury to one crewman.

Then earlier this week, Jean-Pierre Dick, with co-skipper Roland Jourdain, capsized on a routine practice sail off Lorient in the build-up to the Transat Jaques Vabre, instantly ruining their prospects of competing.

“It’s going to look a little like the America’s Cup with two thoroughbreds lined up on the starting except in this race there’ll only be two of us on board each boat,” Foxall said.