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Displaying items by tag: La Solitaire du Figaro

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 of four stage race over the course of the next four weeks.

The race will dock in Kinsale on around August 8, zig-zagging north from Brest leaving Wolf Rock to port, and then the Fastnet to starboard. With 8 rookies geared up for their first participation, 5 non French sailors wishing to leave their mark and 3 women including the return of Karinne Fauconnier, the 2010 line up promises to produce some memorable racing.

The weather forecasts vary and there could be either very light wind for the start of up to 10/12 knots from the northwest depending on which module you look at, explains Sylvain Mondon (Meteo France). "In the worst case we could have little and variable breeze for the start or if we look at the more favourable modules, we could see the northwesterly breeze established for the upwind run to the Cotentin headland for the first night. The breeze should freshen up and we could see up to 25 knots as it backs to the west and the turning tide, which will make for a tough first night of racing." Continues Mondon. Once the fleet round the Brittany point, with the wind of the beam, the forecast is for the breeze to lighten providing for a comfortable run with some it should be a straight down wind run towards Spain. "We can expect to see the first reach Gijon in the early hours of Saturday" predicts Mondon, if the forecasts do not develop and change too much.

The worlds leading solo sailors inevitably pass through the challenge of participating in the classic Figaro race. This 41st edition is no different. We see experienced sailors returning to hone their skills against the young future stars aiming to leave their mark. Previous winners include Jeremie Beyou (BPI), Kito de Pavant (Groupe Bel), Eric Drouglazet (Luisina), Armel le Cleac'h (Brit Air) and Nicholas Lunven (Generali).

* French title holder Gildas Morvan (Cercle Vert) won the Prologue Suzuki in the waters of Le Havre, second place goes to Ronan Treussart (Lufthansa) and third toThomas Rouxel (Credit Mutuel de Bretagne). An action packed prologue: light breeze, tidal flow and four starting procedures. Eight boats fall victim of a black flag start, including past winners Kito de Pavant and Jeremie Beyou.

* And this is just wrong... Thierry Chabagny will not participate at the race this summer due to a lack of sponsorship. He finished 4th in 2009 and 2nd in 2006.

Start of the 1st leg: Tuesday 27th July
Le Havre to Gijon (515 miles)
Expected arrival of the boats: Friday 30th Jul

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro
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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 finest sailors of the moment will meet for the classic summer race. The superb line-up and a racecourse covering 1,717 nautical miles, made up of a combination of short sprint legs and long marathon runs should guarantee some great competition.

This year there are 48 entries, including 8 are rookies and non-French sailors, proving yet again that La Solitaire is as popular as ever. Le Havre will host the race for the very first time, followed by stopovers in Gijón, Brest, Kinsale and finally Cherbourg-Octeville. A course with many traps punctuated with a number of tricky passages, notably the Raz Blanchard, the Raz de Sein and the Bay of Biscay, which can prove to be difficult at this time of year. Tactics, audacity and steady progress will be essential in order to hope to win.

Race director Jacques Caraës says: “What a fine show of skippers for the 41st edition of La Solitaire! In spite of the current circumstances, 48 competitors will be taking part, and great skippers they are! It is very satisfying. Five previous winners and potentially fifteen sailors with real chances of winning the title are going to be there. I am very happy about seeing some of the “oldies” coming to the class, it is very important for a competition to still attract so many renowned sailors. The younger ones this year are ambitious and well prepared following relentless training in their respective centers. They will have to be reckoned with, and let’s not forget the rookies, eager to compete and the amateurs still providing some great stories for La Solitaire.”


Five previous winners!

They are very determined to win a second title and enter into the tightly closed circle of multiple winners of La Solitaire: Michel Desjoyeaux, Philippe Poupon and Jean Le Cam with 3 victories, Guy Cornou, Jean-Marie Vidal, Gilles Gahinet, Nicolas Troussel and Gilles Le Baud and their 2 wins. Kito de Pavant is making his great comeback after a three-year absence during his Imoca season. He will have serious competition in the 2009 winner Nicolas Lunven, Armel Le Cléac’h, Eric Drouglazet, and Jérémie Beyou, who won two legs last year.

Set on finally reaching the top step of the podium, Yann Eliès, Frédéric Duthil, Thierry Chabagny, Gildas Morvan and Erwan Tabarly will no doubt be in the front lines.

Noticeable comebacks…

Sébastien Josse returns to La Solitaire after two Vendée Globes and a Volvo Ocean Race, following a seven-year break sailing the oceans - a very good omen to start on the Figaro again. Karine Fauconnier’s participation is also a nice surprise. The Baden skipper last took part in La Solitaire in 2000, and this summer she will be once more be at the start line with thousand of miles of sailing experience under her belt.

Eclectic rookies

Not quite so numerous as in preceding years, with 8 competitors, the rookie line-up is set to be of a high standard.  From Mini 6.50 to Imoca, each one of the rookies has excelled in his or her field.  Swiss-man Bernard Stamm, the Portuguese Francisco Lobato, winner of the Transat 6.50, and Damien Guillou, with several Olympic campaigns to his credit. Also to be watched are Anthony Marchand, Yoann Richomme and Damien Cloarec, newcomers all looking for success.  The novices to La Solitaire will be lining up against the veterans of the Figaro circuit, headed by Jean-Paul Mouren who is on his 23rd participation!

The rising figures!

To be watched very closely, Fabien Delahaye, 1st rookie in 2009, Adrien Hardy, winner of the Solidaire du Chocolat 2009, François Gabart, Thomas Rouxel, Paul Meilhat, Alexis Loison, Ronan Treussart and Eric Peron who over the years have been making remarkable progress.

From all walks of life…

5 foreign sailors will be participating in La Solitaire this summer: Jonny Malbon (GBR), Pietro D’Ali (ITA), Isabelle Joschke (GER), Francisco Lobato (POR) and Bernard Stamm (SUI). As for the French sailors, most skippers are from Brittany, 29 in 2010, 6 from southern France, 4 from the Atlantic coast, 3 from Normandy and 1 from Paris.

Le Havre, Gijón in Spain, Brest, Kinsale in Ireland and Cherbourg-Octeville, four legs to make up the 41st edition of La Solitaire du Figaro. 48 competitors, all highly determined to get a coveted spot in the top ten.  It will be a thrilling competition. Tactics and perseverance will undoubtedly mark the difference, and whatever happens, as each year, there will be strong emotions, and sometimes disappointments… The event starts with the Suzuki Prologue on 25th July in Le Havre, gathering the prestigious sailors for the classic summer race.

Reminder of the key dates:


Village opens: Tuesday 20th July

Suzuki Prologue: Sunday 25th July

Start of the 1st leg: Tuesday 27th July

- GIJON (515 miles)

Expected arrival of the boats: Friday 30th July

Start of the 2nd leg: Tuesday 3rd August

- BREST (418 miles)

Expected arrival of the boats: Thursday 5th August

Start of the 3rd leg: Monday 9th August

- KINSALE (349 miles)

Expected arrival of the boats: Wednesday 11th August

Start of the 4th leg: Monday 16th August


Expected arrival of the boats: Thursday 19th August

Closing Parade: Sunday 22nd August

Preparing for La Solitaire du Figaro here

Latest news for La Solitaire du Figaro here
Published in Figaro
Tagged under
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Tom Dolan, Solo Offshore Sailor

Even when County Meath solo sailor Tom Dolan had been down the numbers in the early stages of the four-stage 2,000 mile 2020 Figaro Race, Dolan and his boat were soon eating their way up through the fleet in any situation which demanded difficult tactical decisions.

His fifth overall at the finish – the highest-placed non-French sailor and winner of the Vivi Cup – had him right among the international elite in one of 2020's few major events.

The 33-year-old who has lived in Concarneau, Brittany since 2009 but grew up on a farm in rural County Meath came into the gruelling four-stage race aiming to get into the top half of the fleet and to underline his potential to Irish sailing administrators considering the selection process for the 2024 Olympic Mixed Double Offshore category which comes in for the Paris games.