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Joan Mulloy: 'A Wee Bit Disappointed' to Finish 27th in First Leg of Le Figaro Race

30th August 2018
Joan Mulloy - starts leg two of the Le Figaro on Sunday Joan Mulloy - starts leg two of the Le Figaro on Sunday

At 03:00am this morning, County Mayo’s Joan Mulloy crossed the finish line of the first leg of one of the most competitive solo sailing races, La Solitaire Urgo Le Figaro. Mulloy is the first Irish female to compete in this famous race. Mulloy placed 4th out of the 8 Rookies and 27th overall from 36. Speaking about her performance Mulloy said: “I am disappointed in the result a wee bit, but then you just have to look at what our goals were at the start of the year and where we are now, it is great to have been on the start line and now at the finish line.”

Speaking on arrival as she stepped off her boat ‘Taste the Atlantic - A Seafood Journey’, Mulloy said: “I’m totally zonked, the intensity, and the length of it. Three and a half days is a long time to constantly have your foot on the pedal. I loved it, I felt really well prepared, and we felt really well prepared as a team and I had fun!”

The gruelling three and a half day race started in the French port of Le Harve and finished off Saint Quai Portrieux in France. The fleet raced across the English channel battling 30+ knot winds only to be becalmed as the made their way towards a lighthouse off the southwest tip of England. 36 identical 32ft yachts crossed the starting line but the punishing conditions saw seven skippers forced to retire including Ireland’s Tom Dolan.

On Sunday Mulloy will be starting leg 2 of this 4 leg race. When asked what her priorities were during that time she said: “Sleep, have a bath and eat food!”

Leg 2 will see the fleet crossing the notorious Bay of Biscay to finish in the Spanish town of Ría de Muros-Noia 520 miles later.

Published in Figaro Team

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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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