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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
Kenefick Poised for Top Finish in Closing Stage of Generali Solo
#generalisolo – With just 52 miles to go in an offshore single-handed race from Barcelona to Bealieu sur Mer, Ireland's David Kenefick is ninth and in stronger breeze than closely packed rivals in the Generali Solo race this morning. Racing…
Solo Kenefick Lying 15th in Generali Solo Light Wind Race to Barcelona
#fullirish – Royal Cork's David Kenefick is among 17 Figaro Benetau sailors in the Generali Solo 2013 left Cavalaire-sur-Mer on Sunday heading for Barcelona. A few miles after the start the race organisers announced a modification of the original route…
David Kenefick to Embark on 1,200 Mile Generali Solo race
#fullirish – Royal Cork's David Kenefick is competing in next week's Generali Solo race, a 1,200 mile single–handed race around the Med, consisting of three legs and starting on September 22nd. The Generali solo is very much like La solitaire de…
Kenefick Off to Good Start in Tour de Bretagne ala Voile
#fullirish – Cork Figaro single–hander David Kenefick is13th overall in a 23–boat fleet in the first leg of the Tour de Bretagne ala Voile that began today in Western France. The race is a double-handed race with inshore and offshore components. Kenefick…
David Kenefick, Youngest Irish Skipper, Finishes Figaro
#figaro – David Kenefick finished the fourth and final leg of the 2013 Solitaire Figaro in Dieppe in the small hours of this morning. Forty-one skippers started this solo race and 2000 miles over the four legs visiting three countries.…
Marcus Hutchinson's Leg 4 Figaro Blog – Roscoff to Dieppe, 520 miles
#fullrish – Well Leg 3 didn't go as well as David Kenefick would have liked. He has had a tendancy to treat 200-mile long legs like the first beat of a windward leeward and want to immediately tack to clear…
Marcus Hutchinson Figaro Blog: Leg 3 Start - Gijon Roscoff
#fullirish – This is probably going to be the hardest leg of the course. Its in two parts, the offshore component, 200-miles to Ild'Yeu straight across Biscay. This is real offshore sailing where an eye has to be kept on…
Cork's David Kenefick Finishes in the Top 20 in Figaro Leg Two
#fullirish – Royal Cork's David Kenefick was 18th in the second leg of the Figaro Race that concluded this morning. Overall this puts the sole Irish sailor 30th overall in the 41-boat professional fleet. Full results breakdown below. Vendée Globe…
Marcus Hutchinson's Figaro Blog (Post Leg 2 Finish)
#fullirish – The most important moment in Leg 2 turned out to be in the last 45 miles of the race. There had been plenty of things that went against the forecast up to that point but most of the…
David Kenefick Blog #5 – Figaro Leg Two, 300 miles from Porto to Gijon
#fullirish – So they are off on Leg Two, a shortened version of the original programme because of extremely light conditions forecast the leg is just 300 nautical miles long. The course is now very simple, sail North from Porto…
What Did David Kenefick Hit in Leg One of the Figaro?
#fullirish – Rookie figaro sailor David Kenefick told readers in his Afloat blog about a 'little collision' just after the start on Leg 1 in the Gironde Estuary, team manager Marcus Hutchinson was witness to it. At the time the…
David Kenefick Blog #4 – 'I Made a Mistake, the Biggest of My Figaro Race and it Cost Me'
Irish Figaro race rookie David Kenefick describes his first leg in which he finished 33rd from 41 starters The first night I was exhausted. I guess it was the week-long build-up in Bordeaux, all the stress of moving from Bordeaux…
David Kenefick Blog#3 – Cape Finisterre & Leg One of the Solitaire du Figaro
#fullirish – We are 45 hours into the first leg and the fleet are about eight hours ahead of the initial routeing calculations writes David Kenefick team manager Marcus Hutchinson. The fleet of 41 Figaros has been enjoying great sailing…
Rookie Kenefick Makes a Poor Start But Figaro Leg One is Well Underway
La solitaire du Figaro - the big race - started today at 13:00 and for young David Kenefick it was indeed a big occasion. 10,000s of people had come to see the 41 solo sailors head off on the first…
David Kenefick Relaxed & Ready for the Sail of his Life
#fullirsh – David Kenefick's bid for Figaro success as a rookie is underway in Paluillac, France this afternoon after month's of preparation brought the solo Irish sailor to the start line at noon today.  This morning shore teams gave the…
David Kenefick Blog #2 – Final Countdown to My first Figaro
#fullirish – Three days before the start of the Solitaire du Figaro now. I have still got a bit to do, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have been very fortunate to sign…

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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