Kinsale celebrated the arrival of La Solitaire Urgo Le Figaro, dubbed the ‘Tour de France of the Ocean’, on Friday 7thJune with an official awards and launch party sponsored by Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey, the official spirit of the Kinsale stopover. The official awards and launch event were part of five days of festivities to mark the stopover of this prestigious racing event in the town.
Welcoming guests to Hamlets of Kinsale for the event were Ciaran Fitzgerald and Enda O’Coineen of Kinsale Chamber of Tourism & Business, OC Sports’ Mathieu Sarrot, Stephen Cope of Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey and MCs for the evening, Serge Herbin and Marcus Hutchinson. Celebrating the Figaro’s golden jubilee with Grace O’Malley Whiskey’s own liquid gold, guests were treated to an evening of entertainment, fine whiskey and cocktails along with some of the great food Kinsale is renowned for.
Regarded as a tough race, the Figaro route took in a 550-mile trip in its first leg, from Nantes in France, around the Fastnet Rock and into Kinsale. The event hosted the 48 skippers competing along with their support crews and teams from the Figaro race event. Stefan Hansen of Grace O’Malley Whiskey presented a special award as part of the evening, while awards were also presented from Radio France and Bank Populaire Grand Ouest. This year, a Vivi Trophy was presented to the first non-French skipper overall in the race, in recognition of the extraordinary efforts made by the non-French contingent in this and future events.
One of two Irish skippers competing is Joan Mulloy of Westport, who also made a short speech on the evening, acknowledging the support of the official sponsors of the stopover, Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey, also supporting her in her many quests as a solo sailor. Joan will race under black sails emblazoned with the name of her formidable ancestor, Grace O’Malley, Irish Pirate Queen and will represent the brand at a number of events and in special challenges, including a trip later this year retracing the route of her formidable ancestor who sailed from Clew Bay to London for a meeting with Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1593.
The Solitaire Urgo Le Figaro jubilee launch party, sponsored by Grace O’Malley Irish Whiskey included entertainment from Mike O’Riordan and Aine Duffy with guests celebrating into the early hours.