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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
Ireland’s Tom Dolan (left with England’s Alan Roberts
Ireland’s Tom Dolan pairs up with England’s Alan Roberts looking to cash in on new 800 mile Trophée Banque Populaire Grand Ouest race. Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan paired up with on-form top English racer Alan Roberts on Sunday when…
Kenny Rumball at the Solo Maitre Coq Regatta
Here I am on the ferry back to Ireland, absolutely shattered after another month of intense offshore sailing in France at the highest level, there is a lot to reflect on as always and more importantly build upon! If you…
Tom Dolan - shorter courses have been the Achilles heel for the Irish solo sailor
A hard-earned 12th place in the final coastal race (Sunday) was small consolation for Irish solo racer Tom Dolan. Added to his 13th from Saturday’s light wind windward-leeward circuit Dolan, skipper of Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan finishes the first major race of…
The Offshore Racing Academy's Kenny Rumball from Dun Laoghaire Harbour
There was a dramatic end to the 'grand course' of the 19th edition of the Solo Maître CoQ with plenty of light patches putting the sailors' nerves on edge. Corentin Horeau crossed the finish line completing the 327-mile course between Belle-Ile,…
Ireland’s leading solo offshore racer Tom Dolan
Ireland’s leading solo offshore racer Tom Dolan has almost finished his training phase prior to the start of the five events which comprise the 2022 French Elite Offshore Racing Championship, the season-long solo and short-handed circuit which has La Solitaire…
The U25 team of Lorcan Tighe, Andrew Irvin, Ronan Mooney and Cian Crowe have chartered a Figaro 3 from the Offshore Racing Academy for their Round Ireland challenge
The SSE Renewables Round Ireland Yacht Race is an incredibly well-renowned race for most who are involved in sailing in any respect. Happening only once every two years, it is a very prestigious event steeped in history. The gruelling 704-nautical-mile…
As I sit down to write the update for February, it dawns on me, how quickly the month has raced past and also as to how much sailing and time on the water was achieved in 28 days! We started…
Ireland's Tom Dolan - His fifth overall at the Figaro finish – the highest-placed non-French sailor and winner of the Vivi Cup – had him right among the international elite in one of 2020s few major events
The Figaro Beneteau class held its general assembly on December 9. There the 2022 calendar was adopted and the creation of an Academy was validated. This initiative is intended to facilitate access to the circuit for newcomers. This is seen…
Serious stuff. The Figaro 3 Championship in the Spi Ouest Regatta
Almost exactly a year after we set off on the Around Ireland World Record blast with the Figaro 3 RL Sailing from Dun Laoghaire last year reports Pamela Lee of Greystones, I joined forces again with Cat Hunt to undertake…
Tom Dolan and Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan have clear air and are on their way to first at the Fastnet Rock.
The exceptionally-demanding final 642-mile stage of La Solitaire du Figaro 2021 took the 34-strong fleet from Morlaix in Brittany northwest round the Fastnet Rock, and then southeast to the finish at Saint-Nazaire on France's Biscay Coast. After three frustrating stages,…
Ireland's Tom Dolan is expected to return to the Fastnet Rock this week in the final stage of the 2021 Figaro solo race
Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan was placing his faith in a slightly different, more westerly strategy as he left Morlaix Bay in north Brittany this afternoon at the start of a mammoth 685 miles final stage of La Solitaire du…
A friend in need? Even with the support of friendly dolphins, the final leg of Stage 3 of the Figaro Solo 2021 has not gone well for Tom Dolan
Things had been looking good for Tom Dolan on Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan going into the final 120-mile Isles of Scilly to Roscoff leg of Stage 3 in the Figaro Solo 2021. He’d worked his way up to 8th as they made…
Tom Dolan has ranged through the fleet in Stage 3 of the Figaro Solo 2021, but is currently in the top ten in the final 120-mile leg from the isles of Scilly to Roscoff in Brittany
In the exceptionally challenging sailing of the 620-mile third stage of the Figaro Solo 2021, Tom Dolan on Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan was lying eighth as he rounded the Bishop Rock at the western point of the Isles of Scilly at 1400…
Ireland's Tom Dolan lies 17th in the 34 boat fleet of La Solitaire du Figaro
Ireland’s solo offshore racer Tom Dolan set out from Fécamp on the north coast of France at midday today ready to take on the 620 miles Leg 3 of La Solitaire du Figaro. After two tough stages which both featured…
Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan arrives in Fécamp
It was a tired, disappointed but totally objective Tom Dolan who arrived in Fécamp, France this morning in 22nd place at the end of a tough 490 miles Leg 2 of La Solitaire du Figaro which started on Sunday afternoon…
Tom Dolan is lying in 19th place and has a deficit, according to the official tracker of around eight miles
Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) is hoping for some compression with the front of the fleet as Stage 2 of La Solitaire du Figaro, from Lorient to Fécamp, takes on the notorious Alderney Race. The strong tidal current there, between Alderney…

Ireland & La Solitaire du Figaro

The Solitaire du Figaro, was originally called the course de l’Aurore until 1980, was created in 1970 by Jean-Louis Guillemard and Jean-Michel Barrault.

Half a decade later, the race has created some of France's top offshore sailors, and it celebrated its 50th anniversary with a new boat equipped with foils and almost 50 skippers Including novices, aficionados and six former winners.

The solo multi-stage offshore sailing race is one of the most cherished races in French sailing and one that has had Irish interest stretching back over 20 years due to the number of Irish stopovers, usually the only foreign leg of the French race.

What Irish ports have hosted The Solitaire du Figaro?

The race has previously called to Ireland to the following ports; Dingle, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Howth and Dun Laoghaire.

What Irish sailors have raced The Solitaire du Figaro?

So far there have been seven Irish skippers to participate in La Solitaire du Figaro. 

In 1997, County Kerry's Damian Foxall first tackled the Figaro from Ireland. His win in the Rookie division in DHL gave him the budget to compete again the following year with Barlo Plastics where he won the final leg of the race from Gijon to Concarneau. That same year a second Irish sailor Marcus Hutchinson sailing Bergamotte completed the course in 26th place and third Rookie.

In 2000, Hutchinson of Howth Yacht Club completed the course again with IMPACT, again finishing in the twenties.

In 2006, Paul O’Riain became the third Irish skipper to complete the course.

In 2013, Royal Cork's David Kenefick raised the bar by becoming a top rookie sailor in the race. 

In 2018, for the first time, Ireland had two Irish boats in the offshore race thanks to Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy who joined the rookie ranks and kept the Irish tricolour flying high in France. Mulloy became the first Irish female to take on the race.

Tom Dolan in Smurfit Kappa competed for his third year in 2020 after a 25th place finish in 2019. Dolan sailed a remarkably consistent series in 2020 and took fifth overall, the best finish by a non-French skipper since 1997 when Switzerland’s Dominique Wavre finished runner up. Dolan wins the VIVI Trophy.

Dolan finished 10th on the first stage, 11th on the second and seventh into Saint Nazaire at the end of the third stage. Stage four was abandoned due to lack of wind. 

Also in 2020, Dun Laoghaire’s Kenneth Rumball became the eleventh Irish sailor to sail the Figaro.

At A Glance – Figaro Race

  • It starts in June or July from a French port.
  • The race is split into four stages varying from year to year, from the length of the French coast and making up a total of around 1,500 to 2,000 nautical miles (1,700 to 2,300 mi; 2,800 to 3,700 km) on average.
  • Over the years the race has lasted between 10 and 13 days at sea.
  • The competitor is alone in the boat, participation is mixed.
  • Since 1990, all boats are of one design.

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