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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
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…
At the exit from a challenging four-leg round the buoys sprint stage, leaving Lorient, Tom Dolan on Smurfit Kappa-Kinsgpan (above) was in 24th place over one mile behind the early leader, French ace Tom Laperche
After a promising tenth place on the 627 nautical miles first stage of La Solitaire du Figaro, Ireland’s Tom Dolan was fighting something of a rearguard battle after a modest start to Stage 2 this afternoon off Lorient. At the…
Tom Dolan Finishes Tenth in Stage One of Figaro Solo
Localised wind shifts in the finishing sections of Stage 1 of the Figaro Solo 2021 at Lorient this morning saw Tom Dolan in Smurfit Kappa - Kingspan being pipped for ninth place by one minute by female skipper Elodie Bonafous…
The start of the 52nd La Solitaire du Figaro in which Ireland's Tom Dolan is competing for the fourth time
Tom Dolan, the leading Irish solo sailor, started the first stage of the 52nd La Solitaire du Figaro in perfect conditions from Saint-Nazaire - on outer reaches of France’s Loire estuary - pledging to stick to his strategy but to…
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…

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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