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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
Figaro Race Departs Kinsale at 1pm Today
The fourth and decisive leg of 2010 La Solitaire du Figaro will start from Kinsale tomorrow at 13.00. The 44 skippers will have to deal with the last 435 miles to Cherbourg and weather conditions are expected to be fairly…
Kinsale Yacht Club Hosts a Crowded Prize Giving Ceremony
During a very friendly and informal ceremony,  (Click HERE for photos by Bob Bateman) Kinsale Yacht Club’s Commodore Alice Kingston welcomed back the La Solitaire du Figaro fleet after 12 years’ absence and said that she hoped her hometown will…
Figaro fleet in Kinsale
The penultimate leg of the Solitaire du Figaro finished last night in Kinsale with Adrien Hardy claiming the leg win in a time of 2 days, 6 hours, 8 minutes and 45 seconds, arriving just after 8.00pm. Jonny Malbon on…
Solitaire du Figaro: Irish Coast Beckons
The first night at sea of Leg 3 of La Solitaire du Figaro proved to be as demanding as expected, with the skippers fighting against high winds, cold weather, drizzling rain, fog and, especially, a very fastidious swell. Several blown…
Fast Lane to Kinsale, Leg 3 of Solitaire du Figaro to Ireland has Started
The 44 skippers taking part to Leg 3 of the Solitaire du Figaro left Brest today for a 349 miles long route bound for Kinsale.  The start was hampered by the bulk of the fleet clustering the pin end of…
After 13 Year Absence, Kinsale Gets Ready for French Invasion
The 44 skippers get ready for Leg 3 of the Solitaire du Figaro in a surprisingly sunny and warm Brest while hundreds of supporters crowd the race village and the pontoons. Tomorrow at 14.00 they will leave Brittany for a…
Solitaire du Figaro:  Jury Decision Alters Scoreboard
As Kinsale gets ready to host the La Solitaire du Figaro single-handed sailors next week the race Jury met today in Brest to discuss the protest against Yann Eliès, who was forced to use his engine during the first leg…
Exciting finale for the second leg of the 41st edition of La Solitaire du Figaro
No wonder that he's called "the Jackal", Armel Le Cleac'h is showing such a determination and mental strength in La Solitaire du Figaro that he surely deserves the nickname. On Friday August 6th at 2 hours 44 minutes and 40…
Solitaire du Figaro: Beyou in the lead, high winds on the Radar
Sun, warm weather and light wind are all just a memory for the 45 skippers participating to the 41st Solitaire du Figaro. The fleet crossed the high pressure ridge fairly early and is now preparing for the second night at…
Figaro Sailors Face Difficult Night at Sea
The 45 Figaro sailors set off from Le Havre in Northern Normandy yesterday on their first leg, 515 miles to the Gijón, in Asturias on the Spanish Cantabrian coastline. The race is calling to the Cork coast next month. Eric…
La Solitaire du Figaro: The Bay of Seine Stage is Set
The 45 sailors competing on the 41st edition of La Solitaire du Figaro got off today at 14:00 under overcast skies in the bay of Le Havre with 8/9 knots of breeze from varying north-westerly direction.  Bar the two individual…
Corkbound Figaro Begins Today
The 45 competitors taking part in the 2010 edition of the classic summer solo race, La Solitaire du Figaro, are set to sail from Le Havre for Gijón on a 515 nautical mile leg tomorrow, Tuesday 27th July; the first…
La Solitaire du Figaro 2010: 41 years and 48 entries
The 41st edition of La Solitaire du Figaro will no doubt be the most important solo sailing event of the summer, from 20th July to 22nd August. With 48 entries, including 8 rookies and 5 non-French entries, some of the…
No Figaro for O'Riain
Irish sailor Paul O'Riain has announce that due to a lack of sponsorship, he is withdrawing his bid to enter the Figaro single-handed offshore race this year. "It is with regret that I have had to withdraw my entry from…
La Solitaire du Figaro 2005 Race 1st Leg – Perros-Guirec to Getxo-Bilbao (390 miles) – A clean and fast start to the race for all. There is a downwind spinnaker crossing of the Bay of Biscay and then fight to…
Afloat.ie: Kinsale is La Solitaire du Figaro 2010 Port
The 2010 edition of La Solitaire du Figaro will stop in Kinsale next August as part of the 2010 edition of the race. The race will cover 1,717 nautical miles between ports both old and new to the race.  There…

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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