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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
Tom Dolan - lessons learned in the 380–nautical miles offshore race
Tired, slightly disappointed but nonetheless armed with a number of valuable lessons which he will take forward to next month’s La Solitaire URO Le Figaro, Ireland’s Tom Dolan finished 28th into Les Sables d’Olonne on Smurfit Kappa yesterday afternoon (Saturday)…
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.…
Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall on Smurfit Kappa
After minor frustrations marred the first two legs of the Sardinha Cup, Ireland's Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall on Smurfit Kappa finished the first offshore series for the new Figaro Beneteau 3 class on a high note, securing an excellent…
The Swiss entry Team Work (Justine Mettraux and Gwenola Gahinet) showing the new Figaro 3’s foiling potential during the current Sardinha Cup series. A non-foiling version of the boat is being proposed as an economical possibility for the new Olympic Offshore Class. Meanwhile, the new fleet have to address some rig challenges and other teething problems before the Golden Jubilee Figaro brings the class to Kinsale in early June
The miraculous years of 2016 and 2017 provided a magic time in Irish sailing writes W M Nixon. Annalise won her Olympic Silver Medal. Shane McCarthy won the GP14 Worlds. And the most glamorous Round Ireland Race ever staged saw…
Smurfit Kappa has shown some impressive bursts of speed
Smurfit Kappa, the new Figaro 3 being raced in the current Sardinha Cup series in France by Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall, has been comfortably in the top ten since the start of the 320-mile Leg 3 off St Gillles…
She likes a breeze. The new foiling Figaro 3 has been recording impressive speeds in the current Sradinha Cup series when the wind is up, but strong winds are unlikely for the long Stage 3 now re-scheduled for Tomorrow (Thursday).   
The start of the Sardinha Cup Stage 3 for the new Beneteau Figaro 3 fleet has now been reset for 1330hrs local time tomorrow, Thursday, April 11th off St Gilles Croix de Ville, following a massive effort by the shore…
The new Figaro 3 fleet at the start of the Sardinha Cup series. Rig problems for a significant part of the fleet have resulted in Leg 3 being postponed until the weekend
After the heavy going experienced for much of the first two stages of the Sardinha Cup for the brand new Figaro 3 boats, a significant part of the fleet had sustained such serious rig problems that the long-distance Leg 3…
Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall competing together in the Sardinha Cup
A glutton for punishment? After a tough, stamina-sapping 408 nautical miles second leg of the Sardinha Cup in strong, gusty winds, freezing temperatures which even brought hailstones, Ireland’s Smurfit Kappa pair Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall cannot wait to go…
Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall round the first mark in the lead of the Sardinha Cup at the weekend
If the first stage of the Sardinha Cup, the first offshore races for the Figaro Beneteau 3, proved to be something of a gentle baptism, the 405 nautical miles second stage which starts this Tuesday afternoon at 1600hrs local time,…
Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall were 13th in the first leg but were as high as third at one point in the first leg of the Sardinha Cup
Irish offshore sailors Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall finished 13th in the new foil-assisted Figaro Bénéteau 3 in the first leg of the Sardinha Cup, France this morning. A second Irish team, Atlantic Youth Trust, skippered by Joan Mulloy and Mike Golding were 32nd…
Joan Mulloy will be racing from the Bay of Biscay next week without a title sponsor
Joan Mulloy’s 2019 Figaro bid gets a step closer to reality as the first race of the season, the Sardinha Cup, comes in just a few days’ time. Mulloy, who made her debut in the Figaro last year, has been juggling training…
Tom Dolan and Damian Foxall will race the new Figaro Beneteau 3
Tom Dolan will form an all-Irish partnership with the vastly experienced Damian Foxall for the first race for the new Figaro Beneteau 3, the Sardinha Cup which starts on March 27th. After last year’s promising first season in the Figaro…
The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork on fleet manoeuvres at sea in 1738, as recorded by Dutch artist Peter Monamy. Today, the flags may have changed, the boats may be different, and it is now the Royal Cork Yacht Club. But the spirit of 1720 lives on with its Tricentenary next year. Image courtesy RCYC
Sailing in Ireland is a sport of long-lived organisations, writes W M Nixon. It’s a vehicle sport in which a significant number of the sailing vehicles are cherished classics, sometimes passed down from one generation to the next. Like it…
Celebrating the Figaro announcement for Kinsale: (L to R) Stewart Hosford (5West), Jo Murphy (Kinsale Experience) Ciaran Fitzgerald,  (Kinsale Chamber)  Mathieu Sarrot (OC Sport)  Jack Roy (President ISA), Joan Mulloy and Donal Small ( Doyle Sails Ireland)
Ireland will host the 50th Figaro Race 6th/ 9th June next. Two Irish Skippers, Joan Mulloy and Tom Dolan will compete in the event that for the first time features a new foiler one-design boat. Full details were announced on Thursday…
The 2019 Figaro course features racing in Irish waters
The legendary Figaro URGO sailing show will be coming to Ireland and the Irish Sea big time for its Golden Jubilee season in 2019 writes W M Nixon, with a 20th visit to Kinsale being supported by a subsequent second…

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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