Damien Foxall set for fifth leg of Volvo Ocean Race

Irish sailor again teams up with Dongfeng crew in New Zealand

The Dongfeng race team during the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race last month.

The Dongfeng race team during the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race last month.

 

Fresh from a offshore series win in the Middle East, Ireland’s Damian Foxall has arrived in New Zealand to join the Chinese-flagged Dongfeng team for the upcoming fifth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The Kerry sailor joins the seven other sailors on board for the longest and arguably toughest leg of the 49,000 nautical mile race that takes the six-boat fleet from Auckland to Itajai in Brazil via the Southern Ocean.

For Foxall, this will be his fifth appearance in this Round the World Race but his ninth rounding of the notorious Cape Horn.

Last weekend, he completed the second EFG Tour of Arabia with skipper Sidney Gavignet with whom he been sailing regularly for the past three years.

The 11-boat fleet that competed in a series of offshore races around the Arabian Gulf over the past month saw the Pymouth University team, including two-time Figaro sailor David Kenefick from the Royal Cork Yacht Club finishing second overall.

Natural progression

Oman Sail, a non-profit organisation has had a number of notable achievements including establishing Muscat as a regular sailing destination, an Omani became the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world and history was made by another becoming the first Arab woman to compete in the Fastnet race.

The MOD 70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail that raced in Dublin two years ago when Spindrift memorably capsized broke the Round Britain and Ireland record by over 16 minutes in 2014 with Foxall on board with Gavignet.

After returning to his now permanent base in Quebec, it is that boat that Foxall will return to in early Summer for another series of events including several record-breaking efforts as well as the 605-mile Fastnet Race in August.

However, the coming month is likely to be the longest period he’ll be at sea for since winning the last Volvo Ocean Race in Galway four years ago as watch-leader on Franck Cammas’ Groupama.

branigandavid@gmail.com

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