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2016 Solitaire Du Figaro Course Is Announced

7th December 2015

At 1300 CET on Sunday 19th June, Leg 1 of the 2016 Solitaire du Figaro will kick off from the historic French town of Deauville. Unfortunately, for Irish fans, after a string of Irish stopovers at Howth, Crosshaven, Dingle, Kinsale and most recently Dun Laoghaire there will be no Irish stopover this year nor is there any Irish sailor involved.

As many as 40 brave skippers are expected on the Solitaire start line next year, as a fleet formed of the world's best ocean racers and ambitious young Rookies prepares to take on 1,525 miles of Europe's roughest waters - single-handed.

"This edition of the Solitaire will be particularly challenging," Race Director Gilles Chiorri explained. "The coastal route will throw the game wide open, with skippers left to decide whether to stay closer to shore or go further offshore. To be successful around this course, the competitors will need seasoned offshore experience and tactical intelligence, enabling them to play the tides and weather to their advantage."

Director Mathieu Sarrot: "As 2016 is a Vendee Globe year, the Solitaire's most experienced skippers may be absent. This means the stakes will be high among the intermediate skippers, the skippers who consistently finish top 10 on a leg, but can't quite out sail the Yann Elies and Jeremie Beyous among the fleet. This is the year of the Solitaire regulars, their time to shine."

The 2016 course - 1,525nm:
Leg 1: Deauville - Isle of Wight Cowes (via Wolf Rock), 510nm
Leg 2: Isle of Wight Cowes - Paimpol (via Lands End and the Celtic Sea), 475nm
Leg 3: Paimpol - La Rochelle, 410nm
Leg 4: La Rochelle - La Rochelle (via the Ile d'Yeu), 130nm

Published in Figaro
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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 celebrates 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.

The race has previously called to Dingle, Kinsale, Crosshaven, Howth and Dun Laoghaire.

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 will have two Irish boats in the offshore race thanks to Tom Dolan and Joan Mulloy who join the rookie ranks and keep the Irish tricolour flying high in France. 

The 2019 course is more Than 2,000 miles between Nantes, Kinsale (Ireland), Roscoff and Dieppe and is the longest in the race's history.

 

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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