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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
Dingle to Dieppe - Last Leg Starts Tomorrow
The fourth leg of this year’s Solitaire du Figaro sets off from Dingle at noon local time tomorrow, at 511 miles the longest and the last of the series, and another classic mix of coastal and offshore sailing. After nearly…
Low pressure springs surprises for Figaro
Equipped with only the most limited means of communication with the outside world, life can be full of surprises for the solo skipper in La Solitaire du Figaro – and not all of them welcome. Just one such bolt from…
The ‘Figaristes’ Dilemma - Short Term Gain or Long-Term Profit ?
The sun put in a brief reappearance yesterday evening, but ever since it has been a return to unremitting greyness and damp for the 52 skippers making their way from France to Dingle, on Ireland’s west coast – a phenomenon…
Third Leg Under Way : Ireland Here We Come!
The third leg of the 40th Anniversary edition of La Solitaire du Figaro got under way as scheduled at 13h00 this afternoon, a complex 485 mile passage between St. Gilles Croix-de-Vie in France’s Vendée region across to Dingle on the…
Dingle welcomes La Solitaire du Figaro
La Solitaire du Figaro - France’s Top Single Handed Yacht Race arrives to Dingle, Co. Kerry next Thursday 13th August. The fishing town welcomes the race for its 40th Anniversary and the fourth time back to Dingle. The 53-boat fleet…
Beyou's strategy pays off in second leg
La Solitaire du Figaro – Jérémie Beyou guided his Figaro Beneteau 2 across the finish line in St. Gilles Croix-de-Vie at 20H20 and 37 seconds yesterday evening, to win the second leg of the event in an elapsed time of…
No clear leader as yet in Figaro
The Figaro fleet is expected to arrive in St. Gilles Croix-de-Vie tonight, and the finish line won’t come a moment too soon for the 52 skippers. This second leg has been one long drag race since the fleet escaped the…
Weather shuffles the Figaro pack
Since yesterday’s light airs start at Coruna, the returning north-westerly breeze has comprehensively shuffled the pack, as the 52-boat fleet heads back across the Bay of Biscay on its way to the second leg finish at St. Gilles Croix de…

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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