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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
David Kenefick's #fullirish Blog: Counting Down the Hours to Figaro Leg One
#fullirish – With five days to go to the start of Leg One of the 2013 Solitaire du Figaro Ireland's David Kenefick reports in from Bordeaux, the start port. There is so much to do during this week before the…
Kenefick Signs Dubarry as Sponsor for His Figaro Campaign
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! David Kenefick has dreamt of being a word-class sailor all his life. From an early age David and his family cruised around Ireland, France, Spain and the Mediterranean. With his father, brother…
Kenefick Finishes 15th in Figaro Solo Concarneau Race
David Kenefick sailing FULL IRISH finished the 30-boat Solo Concarneau in 15th place and second Rookie late yesterday evening. He now has just three weks to the start of the Solitaire du Figaro in Bordeaux and will now travel home…
Kenefick Moves Up to 14th, Expected to Finish Solo Concarneau Figaro Race Tonight
#kenefick – The night has passed and the fleet has now rounded Ile d'Yeu at the Southern most end of the course and are on the long leg North. The winds are now fresher blowing at 20 knots from the…
Cork's Kenefick in 17th Place at Halfway Stage of Solo Concarneau Figaro race
#figaro – When we updated you yesterday about the Solo Concarneau Figaro race that David Kenefick is competing in we bemoaned the lack of a tracker for this race but outlined that we would have a half way stage update.…
Kenefick Race Position Unclear in Solo Concarneau Race
When you run a race of the calibre of the Solo Concarneau without a tracking system it is extremely frustrating to try and work out what is really going on writes Marcus Hutchinson, team manager to David Kenefick. There will…
Kenefick Ready for Today's Solo Concarneau Race
Cork's solo sailor David Kenefick, along with the rest of the Figaro fleet, is tackling his last race before the Solitaire du Figaro next month. The event is called the Solo Concarneau. It starts at 14:00 Irish time today. The…
Solo Sailor David Kenefick Qualifies for Solitaire du Figaro - Podcast
#figaro – Exhausted but elated to have secured his place for June's Solitaire du Figaro race, 22–year–old Cork sailor David Kenefick talked to Afloat.ie on completing his longest race to date, the 320–mile Solo Arrimer this morning.  The Crosshaven rookie…
Rookie Solo Sailors - How Tough is Tough?
There is a reason the Figaro Class has a Rookie prize in every event they run. And it is highly sought after writes Marcus Hutchinson. The French call it the Bizuth prize. In the Solo Arrimer there were six 'Bizuths',…
David Kenefick Racing for Figaro Qualification
#SoloArrimer – David Kenefick is racing in 21st position this morning after his first night at sea in the Solo Arrimer race in the Bay of Biscay. It is a 320 mile coastal race that has huge significance for the…
Track RCYC's David Kenefick in Solo Arrimer Race Here!
Follow David Kenefick's progress in his final qualification race for this Summer's figaro race. Today's race at 320nm miles is the longest the Crosshaven sailor will have completed to date. He's also lining up against some of the best French…
Royal Cork's Kenefick Must Complete 320–Mile Offshore Race for Figaro Qualification
#figaro – If solo sailor David Kenefick successfully completes completes tomorrow's 'Lien Cartographie Solo Arrimer' race he officially qualifies for this Summer's Figaro race, a long held ambition for the young Munster sailor. LIVE TRACK DAVID KENEFICK's PROGRESS The race…
Kenefick Fifth in Icom Cup Leg & Qualifies for La Solitaire du Figaro 2013
#lafigaro – Cork Solo sailor David Kenefick has completed the final leg of the ICOM CUP Méditeranée in fifth place to finish 11th overall and qualified to participate in La Solitaire du Figaro 2013 writes Claire Bateman. The ICOM Cup…
No Host Port for Ireland in 2013 Figaro
#Figaro - The course for this year's Solitaire du Figaro has been finalised - with no Irish port in the lineup. The Daily Sail details the four legs of the 44th edition of the prestigious and challenging single-handed offshore race,…
Figaro Campaigner Kenefick Takes Second in La Grande Motte Race
From onboard his Figaro yacht Cork rookie David Kenefick talks about his first 140–nautical mile race in La Grande Motte, France. Kenefick finished second of six finishers and in this audio clip with interviewer Brian Carlin describes race tactics, freezing…
First Route Announcement for 2013 Solitare du Figaro
#FIGARO - Part of the route for next year's Solitaire du Figaro has been announced at the Paris Boat Show, as The Daily Sail reports. Organisers Pen Duick have unveiled a four-leg course from 2-23 June that takes in three…

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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