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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
Bon Depart as 2011 Solitaire du Figaro Heads for Dun Laoghaire
The 42nd edition of La Solitaire du Figaro race got off to a good start on Sunday in Perros Guirec, despite the light five-knot westerly breeze and unusual downwind start.  Hundreds of fans lined the cliffs and crowded onto the…
British Sailor Nigel King's Ready for Solitaire Du Figaro Start This Weekend
Seasoned Beneteau Solitaire du Figaro sailor Nigel King, from Lymington UK, is currently in Perros-Guirec, Northern Brittany, preparing for the Solitaire du Figaro, which starts this Sunday. King who is no stranger to this annual, French 1,695-mile marathon, having competed…
King Hops from Figaro Class to Cookson 50 for a Transatlantic dash
UK sailor Nigel King who recently finished a creditable second place overall in the Transmanche Race sailing his Figaro class yacht – E-line Orthodontics – is currently competing in the Transatlantic Race aboard Chris Bull's Cookson 50, Jazz writes Sue…
49 Skippers for the Solitaire du Figaro 2011
A total of 49 skippers have confirmed their entries for the 2011 Solitaire du Figaro that calls to Dun Laoghaire in August, the only foreign port in the race. Unfortunately there will be no Irish skippers.  Making up the group…
Lack of Sponsorship Halts Irish La Solitaire du Figaro Entries
A combination of an impossibly tight deadline, the high cost of entry and an appalling vista for sailing sponsorship in Ireland this season has halted any chance of an Irish entry into the La Solitaire du Figaro race when it…
Dun Laoghaire Welcomes World's Top Solo Yachts with Festival des Bateaux
Dublin Bay it set to burst alive with 'joie de vivre' during the only foreign stopover in the world-famous French Solitaire du Figaro yacht race. Dun Laoghaire will be the only international stop in the race, considered the unofficial world…
Preparing for the Challenge of La Solitaire du Figaro
Dubliner Paul O'Riain's comprehensive article on his Figaro debut experience in 2007 has moved, Click this link for it and the latest La Solitaire du Figaro news.
Two Irish Skippers among 71 for La Solitaire du Figaro 2011
Two Irish skippers are among the 71 'pre-entries', including 24 rookies, for the La Solitaire du Figaro race. Paul O'Riain and Mick Liddy, both from Dublin, will race back into their home port on the only foreign leg of the…
La Solitaire du Figaro 2011 Preview
In a major coup for Dun Laoghaire and for the National Yacht Club, a top French fixture involving 50 single-handed yachts will visit the east coast port next Summer. Dun Laoghaire will be the only stop-over outside France for next…
Liddy Launches La Solitaire du Figaro Campaign (Podcast)
Mick Liddy is already picturing the magical scene of the international Figaro fleet inside Dun Laoghaire's harbour next August. He's one of Ireland's top offshore sailors but before Liddy can join the 55 boat fleet he has two months to…
Details for next year's course of the La Solitaire du Figaro race were revealed at the Paris Boat Show yesterday. The race will comprise four French towns and Dun Laoghaire will be the only foreign port of call when the…
Dun Laoghaire Figaro Visit Plans Public Festival
One of Dun Laoghaire's major international events next season, the visit of the French single-handed fleet, La Solitaire du Figaro, in August, will have a public festival running alongside say the National YC organisers. Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and Dun Laoghaire…
Dun Laoghaire to Host Top French Race in 2011
In a major announcement for Dun Laoghaire sailing a top French fixture involving 50 single handed yachts will visit the east coast port next Summer. Dun Laoghaire will be the only stop over outside France for next year's  prestigious La…
Armel Le Cléac'h Wins Figaro Race
Armel Le Cléac'h crossed the finish line of Leg 4 of La Solitaire du Figaro to Cherbourg. It took to Brit Air's 54 hours, 30 minutes and 24 seconds to cover the 435 miles of the last lap at an…
Figaro Start Pics from Kinsale
Under a grey sky the 44 skippers taking part in La Solitaire du Figaro, left Kinsale for the fourth and decisive leg. Tension was high and the Committee was forced to give two general recalls. Swiss Bernard Stamm (Cheminée Poujoulat)…
Collision Forces Two Boats to Abandon Kinsale Figaro Race (Pics HERE)
A collision after the restart of the La Solitaire du Figaro off Kinsale this afternoon has resulted in the retiral of two of the leading competitors. Both boats have returned to Kinsale marina and withdrawn from the race. After a…

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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