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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
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…
Tom Dolan on the podium after his stellar offshore podium in France
Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire) lifted the overall title for the 51st La Solitaire du Figaro at the end of race prizegiving in Saint Nazaire, France today. It is Le Cléach’s third time of winning after successes in 2003 and…
Tom Dolan finishes fifth overall - It is the best ever Irish sailing result has been achieved in the Figaro Race
With not enough wind to run Stage 4 of La Solitaire du Figaro Ireland’s Tom Dolan secured an excellent fifth place overall on Smurfit Kappa. It is the best international overall placing in the historic French multi-stage offshore race series…
Tom Dolan dockside - the County Meath solo sailor finished 10th on the first stage, 11th on the second and seventh into Saint Nazaire at the end of the third stage. It is an excellent result for the 33-year-old on just his third La Solitaire
Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) took fifth place overall in the La Solitare du Figaro Race tonight, the best finish on the General Classification overall by a non French skipper since 1997 when Switzerland’s Dominique Wavre finished runner up. Dolan…
Tom Dolan to Challenge for La Solitaire du Figaro Podium Tonight
County Meath's Tom Dolan will have his chance to seal Ireland's best ever La Solitaire du Figaro this evening after completing three stand-out legs to be in striking distance of a podium result. The final, deciding stage of the La Solitaire…
Top form - Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan
The newfound more robust, cool-headed approach continues to work for Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan who today finished seventh on Leg 3 of the 51st La Solitaire du Figaro, an epic four day 492 miles light winds slog from Dunkirk…
Tom Dolan approaches the Saint-Nazaire finish at the end of stage three in a highly creditable seventh place
Ireland's Tom Dolan has finished the third leg of the La Solitaire du Figaro race in seventh overall, a result that will almost guarantee him a top five overall going into the final leg of the French solo marathon. Dolan sailed…
Tom Dolan (left) and Erwan Le Draoulec in the middle of the fleet in stage three
Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan is delivering on his pre-race promise of consistent sailing and is now up to 13th place and less than four miles behind the leader. It's an impressive performance from the County Meath sailor to add…
Figaro Leader Sam Goodchild Well Placed To Deal With A Night of Calms
Having led the 33 strong La Solitaire du Figaro fleet since the early hours of this morning Britain’s Sam Goodchild (Leyton) has had to see his hard-earned margin evaporate in a fast failing breeze off the Baie de Morlaix this…
It's been a slow start to leg three of the Figaro Race from Dunkirk today
Dun Laoghaire Harbour Rookie Kenny Rumball is currently as high as 15th place and staying very much in touch with the fleet in the opening hours of Stage 3 of La Solitaire du Figaro tonight while Ireland's top-ranked Tom Dolan is…
Tom Dolan in Dunkirk and ready to go for stage 3 on Sunday morning
Tom Dolan is hoping the same measured, steady approach that has served him well on the first two stages of La Solitaire du Figaro will work just as well on Stage 3, a challenging 504 miles leg from Dunkirk in…
Dolan is now only 12 minutes outside the top five as the 35 solo skippers seek to maximise their rest and recovery before Sunday’s restart
Finishing 11th into Dunkirk, France on the 404 miles second stage of La Solitaire du Figaro this evening Ireland’s Tom Dolan has maintained the level of consistency which he was seeking when he left Saint Brieuc on Sunday morning. As…
Tom Dolan finishes in Dunkirk
Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) retained an excellent level of consistency on Stage 2 of the 51st La Solitaire du Figaro to back up his tenth on the first leg with an 11th to lie 11th overall. Sailing a near-perfect…
Figaro boats in stage two of the race to Dunkirk
There's another strong performance in the making for County Meath's Tom Dolan in the second stage of the La Solitaire du Figaro today with the third time Irish Figarista lying 11th in the 35-boat fleet, having been as high as…
French skipper Robin Marais got a fright this morning after falling asleep
The strain of the marathon La Solitaire du Figaro Race is starting to take its toll on the 35-competing solo sailors off the French coast. French skipper Robin Marais got a fright this morning after falling asleep and running his…
Keeny Rumball from Dun Laoghaire is competing  for the first time  in the La Solitaire Du Figaro
 The second stage of the La Solitaire du Figaro started on the Baie de Saint-Brieuc, northern Brittany in a light to moderate north-easterly breeze at 1100hrs this Sunday morning. The 404 nautical miles stage takes the 35 strong field of…

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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