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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
The start of the light air 17th edition of the Solo Maitre Coq where two Irish solo sailors are competing
It's been a baptism of fire for both Irish competitors in the 2020 Solo Maitre CoQ after the first night at sea in light and tricky conditions. Both Dublin's Kenny Rumball and Meath's Tom Dolan are currently in the bottom third…
New team - Kenny Rumball and Pam Lee on the two day 317nm spin from Port La Floret to Dun Laoghaire
As I type this, I am currently motor sailing along the Brittany coast having left Port La Floret and am delivering Figaro3 Number 20 to Dun Laoghaire with my co-skipper Pamela Lee. There has been a lot of speculation in…
The Bay of Saint-Brieuc in Brittany
The Bay of Saint-Brieuc in Brittany will host the start of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro for its 51st edition on 30 August 2020, it has been announced. As Sail World reports, the schedule for next year’s Figaro was moved…
Transat AG2R La Mondiale Courts Mixed Crews For 2020 Race
Two decades after the first victory by a mixed duo, the iconic Transat AG2R La Mondiale is making a serious pitch for mixed two-handed crews to take part in next year's outing. Entry will now be free for mixed crews,…
2019 La Solitaire racing
The 50th Solitaire Urgo-Le Figaro finished last Wednesday after a fourth and final leg won by Eric Péron, which confirmed Yoann Richomme’s overall first place. With hardly any time to get over this fourth leg, which was just as exhausting…
Bird in the hand - Tom Dolan arrives on the dock with a feathered friend in Roscoff last night after another tough leg of the Figaro Race
“You need to be mentally strong for this type of sailing. You have to make tough decisions when you’re tired.” “Being by yourself, sailing solo, depends very much on the person and how you use your own resources,” The first…
The fleet departs Kinsale. Scroll down for photo gallery by Bob Bateman
The northern latitudes of the Isle of Man once again will remain unconquered by the solo sailors of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro, after the planned course for stage 2 of the 50th-anniversary edition was radically altered to avoid strong…
Irish Sailing President Jack Roy (left) with Figaro Leg one winner Yoann Richmonne in Kinsale
Forty five solo racers will take the start line on Sunday afternoon at 1700hrs local time, heading out from Kinsale, Ireland on the 615-nautical mile second stage of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro to Roscoff via the Irish Sea with…
Tom Dolan skipper Smurfit Kappa at the end of stage one of la Solitaire Urgo Le Figaro 2019 off Kinsale
There was to be no glory for the Irish skippers as they sailed into home waters in the back end of the Figaro fleet into Kinsale this morning. County Meath's Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa) finished in 39th, ten hours after…
Tom Laperche, skipper of the Figaro yacht Bretagne passes the Fastnet Rock on his way to the Kinsale finish
From the highs of a top ten position earlier this week hopes have faded for a strong home waters finish for either Irish entry in the opening leg of the 50th La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro into Kinsale. Tonight Tom Dolan lies 39th and Joan…
Joan Mulloy gets to grips with her Beneteau Figaro 3 foiling yacht
Today’s Sunday Business Post will carry a special preview of the first leg of the 50th La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro international race as the skippers set sail from Nantes for Kinsale. The West Cork stopover this coming week is…
Martin Le Pape, Figaro Skipper of Macif 2017
The introduction of the new foil-assisted Figaro Bénéteau 3 has proven to have had a particularly magnetic attraction to past winners of the famous annual La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro. When the 47-strong fleet of solo racers start from Saint…
The Figaro fleet in the French port of Nantes this week. The 50th anniversary starts on Sunday and arrives in Kinsale, County Cork on June 6th
Preparations continue in Kinsale, County Cork to welcome the 50th Figaro Race race when the solo race returns to Ireland on June 6th. As added interest for Irish race followers, the huge entry for this 50th-anniversary edition of La Solitaire URGO Le Figaro…
Joan Mulloy shows off her new boat livery featuring the Grace O’Malley brand
Joan Mulloy is set to compete under the black sails of the Irish pirate queen — and fellow Mayo mariner — Grace O’Malley, the Figaro contender has announced. Following a months-long drive to secure sponsorship for her sophomore Solitaire bid,…
Tom Dolan - set for solo run
After an excellent 14th overall and fifth in the final leg, when sailing with Damian Foxall in the doublehanded Sardinha Cup, Ireland's Tom Dolan is now ready to fly solo on his Smurfit Kappa as he takes on this week's…
Damian Foxall (left) and Tom Dolan
Ireland’s Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall finish in an excellent final leg fifth place in the Sardhinha Cup. As Afloat previously reported, the Irish duo set sail on 30 March, 2019 to brave the elements in their Dubarry sailing boots.…

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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