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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
Andrew Baker from Strangford Lough
Northern Ireland solo sailor Andrew Baker has announced his support of UKSA’s youth development campaign ‘#SeaChange’ during the 2016 Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro. #SeaChange provides life-changing opportunities to schools and groups, disadvantaged and disaffected young people who are not in…
Academy Alumni Andrew Baker (Artemis 64) was 13th
Northern Ireland solo sailor Andrew Baker finished 13th in the Solo Normandie race. Baker, from Strangford Lough, is part of the British Artemis offshore team. British Figaro racer Alan Roberts secured third place, his third top-10 finish of 2016 on…
Six British skippers will take part in the Solo Normandie 2016, Robin Elsey, Alan Roberts, NI's Andrew Baker, Hugh Brayshaw, Mary Rook and Will Harris.
Northern Ireland solo offshore sailor Andrew Baker sailing Artemis 64 says he's learned to 'forget the small stuff in anticipation of bigger challenges' as he prepares for today's Solo Normandie that offers him and his fellow Artemis team–mates the chance to check out…
Northern Ireland solo sailor Hamish Baker from Strangford Lough is in action in France today
Strangford Lough sailor Hammy Baker is among a line up of British sailors from the Cowes-based Artemis Offshore Academy are looking to post strong results in the week-long Solo Maitre Coq race that starts from Les Sables d’Olonne today. With…
Eight British Artemis Offshore Academy skippers competing on the Classe Figaro Bénéteau Circuit in 2016.
Great Britain’s Will Harris was the stand-out performer in the opening race of the 2016 single-handed Figaro circuit, finishing in an impressive sixth place in a fleet of 23 boats on debut. Harris, aged 22, from Surrey at the helm…
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…
Figaro Season Curtain Raiser Starts in Three Days
#AOAsolo – And they're off...nearly. Just three days now stand between Artemis Offshore Academy Rookies Rob Bunce (Artemis 37), Robin Elsey (Artemis 43), Andrew Baker (Artemis 23) and the first race of their solo offshore careers – the 196 mile Solo…
UK Solo Sailor Signs New Sponsor For Second Solitaire du Figaro Campaign
#solosailor – A talented UK dinghy and solo sailor Alan Roberts for 2015 has signed a new sponsor for his second Solitaire du Figaro campaign. Alan, has been a professional sailor since 2012 and spent 2013/14 training and competing with…
Twenty Skippers Sign Up For La Solitaire du Figaro, One Potential Irish Helm
#lasolitaire – Three winners, five Rookies and counting - 20 skippers registered so far for the 46th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro - Eric Bompard Cachemire. The last two editions of the race have featured Cork entry David Kenefick…
Back to College for Royal Cork Solo Sailor David Kenefick
#fullrish – Since my last blog update quite a lot has happened and as a result things have changed for my sailing campaign writes Figaro solo sailor David Kenefick. As I said, after the Figaro I was tired and I needed…
Solo Sailor David Kenefick Completes Second Figaro Race
#fullrish –  Irish solo sailor David Kenefick shares some thoughts at the end of his second Figaro which I finished yesterday in Cherbourg. The season This was my second year and my biggest take out from the first year was…
Kenefick Moves into Tenth Position in Figaro Leg Four
#fullrish – The start of leg 4 from Les Sables on Sunday was pretty wild writes Irish solo sailor David Kenefick competing in the La Solitaire du Figaro. 25 knots and a two metre swell in bright sunshine made for…
David Kenefick's Long, Light Leg Three of La Solitaire Du Figaro
#fullrish – Solo Irish sailor David Kenefick sends Afloat.ie this update from Leg three of  the La Solitaire Du Figaro race That was tough, frustrating and it seemed to be long but in fact it wasn't excessive. I started nicely at…
Kenefick Makes Solid Start on Leg Three of La Solitaire Du Figaro
The morning after the first night at sea on leg three of the La Solitaire Du Figaro Cork's David Kenefick is in 14th place as the fleet of 37 Figaros race across the West of Brittany and past the Glenan Islands…
Kenefick Sails into Roscoff with La Solitaire Figaro Fleet
#fullirish – Royal Cork's David Kenefick and The La Solitaire du Figaro fleet sailed in to Roscoff this morning at the end of two with the solo Irish sailor now 25th overall from 38 after the second stage of four in…
Kenefick Well Placed on Cork Coast as La Solitaire Race Passes Ireland
#fullrish – The La Solitaire du Figaro fleet which includes  sole Irish entry David Kenefick's 'Full Irish' has been racing hard for 33 hours now and although it hasn't been hard physically it has been a drain on the mental side…

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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