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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
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…
Tom Dolan has received a welcome boost heading into the second stage from Sunday
Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan is now in an even stronger position heading into the second leg of La Solitare du Figaro, after the protest committee’s strike against two higher-placing finishers from Thursday (3 September). Both Tanguy Le Turquais and…
The French media record the Figaro fleet rounding of the Fastnet Rock on Tuesday evening
Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan made the solid start he wanted to open the 51st La Solitaire Figaro, the annual French multi-stage solo offshore race when he brought Smurfit Kappa across the finish line on the Baie de Saint Brieuc…
Tom Dolan - 12th in leg one of the 2020 La Solitaire du Figaro
After three days of racing, County Meath's Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) was pipped on the line this morning by Britain's Sam Goodchild two seconds, the Irish skipper taking 12th in the first leg of the La Solitaire du Figaro.  It…
Ireland's Tom Dolan rounds the Fastnet Rock in tenth place in the La Solitaire du Figaro race
Passing the iconic rock in his home waters in seventh place casts out some of the ghosts of La Solitaires past for Tom Dolan. The Irish sailor was third for most of the passage across the Celtic Sea but dropped…
County Meath's Tom Dolan is vying for the lead as the fleet approach the Fastnet Rock
Ireland's solo sailor Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) is in third position as the 35-boat La Solitaire du Figaro race to the Fastnet Rock off the County Cork.  Dolan left the Baie de Saint Brieuc start line on Sunday with one…
Tom Dolan is currently lying in seventh place after the first night at sea  in the 51st Figaro Race from France
Tom Dolan has had a great start to the 51st La Solitaire Du Figaro, the County Meath man's third attempt at the solo marathon race.  Dolan is lying in seventh place this morning, mixing it with the all-important top ten…
Ireland has two entries in today's noon start (Irish time) of the La Soltiaire du Figaro fleet
Dublin's Kenny Rumball and Meath's Tom Dolan can expect a fairly fast, long, and open 642 nautical miles first leg, to the Fastnet and back, in the first challenge for the 35 solo sailors who embark on the 51st edition of…
Ireland’s Kenny Rumball is a rookie entry in Sunday’s Figaro Race
Eight of the 35 solo skippers who will start the 51st edition of La Solitaire du Figaro on the Bay of Saint Brieuc on Sunday are not French natives and so are eligible to compete for the Vivi Trophy which…
Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Kenny Rumball
Ireland’s Kenneth Rumball is in the final preparation stages before starting his first La Solitaire du Figaro which start this Sunday, 30th August in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc. Having made the twenty-four-hour delivery up from Port-La-Foret on Sunday, Rumball’s Team…
Kenny Rumball on board RL Sailing before the start of the Solo Concarneau Race
Dublin rookie Kenneth Rumball reflects on the Solo Concarneau Race, his last lead up race before next month's Solitaire Du Figaro debut  Our final training race before the big one in a few weeks (GULP!) was the Solo Concarneau 2020.…
Tom Dolan after finishing the Solo Concarneau
From what proved to be a very closely fought, light winds psychological roller coaster Ireland’s Tom Dolan returned a solid, middle of the fleet 14th place in the Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten which finished Saturday. For Kenny Rumball, Ireland's…
Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Kenny Rumball on deck in his Figaro3
Irish solo sailors Kenneth Rumball and Tom Dolan are both looking for the advantage in this afternoon’s Solo Concarneau race, the final warm-up event before the 1830 miles, four-stage La Solitaire du Figaro which takes place at the end of…
Tom Dolan is racing in the Solo Concarneau this weekend
Ireland’s Tom Dolan sailing Smurfit Kappa is looking to the 380 nautical miles Solo Concarneau Trophée Guy Cotten, which starts Thursday, to confirm that he has everything in place for the season’s pinnacle solo event, the 1830 miles, four-stage La…

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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