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Joan Mulloy Puts Figaro Sponsorship Issues Aside To Focus On Sardinha Cup

23rd March 2019
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Joan Mulloy will be racing from the Bay of Biscay next week without a title sponsor Joan Mulloy will be racing from the Bay of Biscay next week without a title sponsor Photo: Afloat.ie

Joan Mulloy’s 2019 Figaro bid gets a step closer to reality as the first race of the season, the Sardinha Cup, comes in just a few days’ time.

Mulloy, who made her debut in the Figaro last year, has been juggling training with the sponsorship hunt for the last few months, and describes the prospect of her first race back as “a little intimidating”.

But from early next week her focus will be squarely on her Beneteau Figaro 3, which she will be racing with experienced co-skipper Mike Golding.

“Mike will bring a lot of experience to the team, with four Vendée Globes under his belt, but we will both be very much finding our feet for this race,” she says.

Mulloy and Golding will be part of a “pretty intense” lineup that includes more than a few offshore legends — and fellow Irish in the combination of last season’s third overall rookie Tom Dolan and Volvo Ocean Race veteran Damian Foxall.

“I’m very excited to be back on the circuit again this year, but it hasn’t been an easy winter in terms of finding sponsors,” Mulloy says, confirming that she will be starting this first race without a title sponsor.

She adds: “I have some good news in the pipeline, but not quite enough to see me to the end of the Solitaire.”

This year’s Solitaire URGO Le Figaro returns to Kinsale for the first time since 2009.

However, the Figaro is not Mulloy’s only campaign of his season, as she has also been conformed as co-skipper for Alexia Barrier in her IMOCA 60 4myplanet in this year’s Fastnet and Transat Jacques Vabre Races.

“These races give me crucial qualifying miles towards the Vendée Globe,” she says of her ultimate goal. “There are approximately 12 places left in the 2020 Vendée Globe, after those allocated for new boats or previous race competitors.

Vendee miles qualifying table

“These 12 places are allocated based on accumulated qualifying miles … I am currently 11th on this list and so working hard to stay here is very important.”

From next Wednesday follow Joan Mulloy’s progress (as well as Dolan and Foxall) on the Sardinha Cup race tracker HERE.

Published in Figaro, Offshore
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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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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