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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
Ireland's solo sailor Tom Dolan is back for his third Figaro Race bid next month
Ireland's Tom Dolan who won Ireland's best-ever finish in the 2020 race is back on the La Solitaire du Figaro line next month. The 52nd edition, which will start from Saint-Nazaire on August 22, promises to be quite a spectacle. Throughout…
Rumball and Lee competed in the gruelling Tour De Bretagne a La Voile
The Irish Offshore Sailing team RL Sailing, sponsored by Hanley Energy, recently completed the gruelling Tour De Bretagne a La Voile. The famous race was spread across several stages over nine days, with a combination of inshore and offshore racing…
Tom Dolan - relishing return to solo racing
Tom Dolan set off this afternoon on his final solo offshore race test before La Solitaire du Figaro, starting the 33-boat 380 nautical miles Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten. After a season which so far has largely been dominated by…
Tom Dolan and Tanguy Leglatin make a good start in the Tour de Bretagne à la voile
After four of the eight races which constitute the Tour de Bretagne à la Voile, Ireland’s Tom Dolan who is racing Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan with coach Tanguy Leglatin, lies in eighth place in the 32 boat fleet. Buoyed by his first-ever…
Irish newcomers Kenny Rumball and Pamela Lee finished in seventh overall after a Tour De Bretagne a La Voile prologue race before the tour gets underway today
The 13th Edition of France's Tour De Bretagne a La Voile kicked off yesterday (2nd July) with the Prologue race, which saw the 32 teams in a challenging battle with light winds around the Bay of Saint-Malo. For the first…
Kenneth Rumball and teammate Pamela Lee
Dun Laoghaire Harbour sailor Kenneth Rumball a previous successful competitor on the ISORA circuit, along with teammate Pamela Lee has been competing in the toughest offshore sailing circuit, the one-design Figaro circuit in France. This circuit has produced some of…
Tom Dolan - overbalanced while stepping back into the cockpit of his Figaro Beneteau 3 and landed heavily, hurting his ankle and injuring his hand
County Meath solo sailor Tom Dolan is confident he will be fighting fit for the double-handed Transat en Doible Concarneau to Saint Barthelem which starts May 9th. This is despite an ankle injury sustained by Dolan in the Season Opening…
'Like a dope' Tom Dolan says he sprained his right ankle onboard his Figaro 3 in the Solo Maite Coq, first solo offshore race of the season
Tom Dolan had a disappointing retiral in the weekend's first on offshore race of the season that saw only 18 or 29 of the Solo Maitre Coq fleet finish the course in the Bay of Quiberon. Dolan, who fell in the…
Tom Dolan was pleased with the first race’s opening seventh place but he was nearly as happy to have kept his head on the second race and recovered after a bad start
The annual Solo Maître CoQ, the traditional curtain-raiser for the Figaro season, has never gone very well for the Irish racer Tom Dolan but the skipper of Smurfit Kappa has this time made a strong start to the early season…
Figaro Beneteau 3 sailor Tom Dolan took seventh from 29 in the first race of the 2021 Solo Maitre Coq Regatta
Tom Dolan finished seventh and just seven minutes and five seconds behind Alan Roberts, the winner of the first inshore race of the 2021 Solo Maitre Coq. Dolan is racing in the foiling Figaro Beneteau 3 class of 29 entries.…
Tom Dolan - I have done the work I wanted to do and in training I have been going well so I am quite confident, but, hey let’s wait and see
It is with a mix of hard-earned confidence and early season nerves that Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan starts his 2021 racing season on Monday in Les Sables d’Olonne. France on the annual Solo Maître CoQ race series. Since finishing…
A fleet start of the la Solitaire du Figaro 2020 from Saint-Quay- Portrieux
Boasting four legs and a route spanning nearly 2,500 miles, which alternates between offshore roller-coaster rides and high-voltage coastal skirmishes, the 52nd edition of the Solitaire du Figaro 2021, the third to be contested on a Figaro Bénéteau 3, is…
A short season maybe, but all their stars were in alignment in 2020 - Tom Dolan on his Figaro 3 Smurfit Kappa
The Figaro Solo was arguably the peak in sailing competition – both inshore and offshore – in Europe during 2020. In a truncated and contorted season, somehow the crème de la creme of international solo sailing were guided into a…
National Yacht Club Under 30s to Host Solo Sailor Q&A with Tom Dolan
After its successful match racing webinar earlier this season, the National Yacht Club’s Under 25 and under 30 sections are now moving offshore for their next online session. The NYCs very own Tom Dolan, who achieved the best ever Irish…
Kenny Rumball at the helm of the RL Sailing Figaro 3, with its North Sails 3Di set-up
Rookie Kenny Rumball competed in his Figaro debut this autumn, reaching as high as 15th in the third stage in the notoriously tough French solo marathon event that saw the Dubliner end up 33rd from 35 starters overall. It marked the first…
Tom Dolan on Smurfit Kappa maintaining concentration, keeping the boat moving, staying on the optimum course……the Figaro Solitaire 2020 was a massive test of focus and wakefulness for the lone sailors over hundreds of miles in light winds
When solo star Tom Dolan was told last Saturday evening that the exceptionally calm condition of the inner Bay of Biscay meant that the proposed final fourth stage of the Solitaire du Figaro 2020 would not be sailed, among the…

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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