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La Solitaire du Figaro Yacht Race. French Solo Sailing Event News
Electronics problems forced Kenny Rumball to make the difficult decision to retire from the last leg and end my Solitaire for 2022
A lot of planning and preparation went into this year's Solitaire, from as early as January, I was out in France training, primarily in the Centre Excellence Voile in La Rochelle under the tutelage of coach Etienne Saiz while also…
Tom Dolan - The Irishman again showed he is one of the best in the fleet
Top Irish solo sailor Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) has taken seventh overall on the 53rd La Solitaire du Figaro, the three-stage French solo offshore race which finished last night in Saint Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire estuary on…
Tom Laperche Région Bretagne - CMB Performance is the 53rd La Solitaire du Figaro winner
When French solo skipper Tom Laperche (Région Bretagne – CMB Performance) crossed the finish line off Saint-Nazaire at the entrance to the Loire estuary this blustery Wednesday evening at 18:54:48 hrs local time to win the third and final stage…
The destination of the 2022 La Solitaire du Figaro title hangs in the balance and will be decided over the course of one 270 nautical miles long, thrilling marathon downwind sprint across the Bay of Biscay from the Los Farallones…
Solo sailor Kenny Rumball
In the last leg of La Solitaire du Figaro, race organisers report that Ireland’s Kenny Rumball was forced to abandon on Monday night due to persistent electronic problems, such as he suffered on Leg 1. With the last 24 hours…
Tom Dolan departs De Royan
Monday 1700hrs: With just over 120 nautical miles to sail to the Farallones turning mark which lies just off the rugged north Spanish coast near to Gijon, the two leading title contenders on the third and final leg of the…
2nd Achille Nebout - Amarris Primeo Énergie /1st Guillaume Pirouelle _Région Normandie / 3rd Tom LAPERCHE - Bretagne CMB Performance
French rookie Guillaume Pirouelle (Région Normandie) crossed the finish line off Royan at the mouth of the Gironde estuary at 06:28:26hrs (CEST/FRANCE) in this morning’s breaking dawn to claim victory on the 655 nautical Stage 2 of the 53rd La…
Three solo racers have largely profited inshore, closer to the Vendée coast. Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) (above) wriggled clear of 20-year-old rookie Basile Bourgnon (EDENRED) around lunchtime
With just over 100 nautical miles to the finish line of the 655 miles Stage 2 of La Solitaire du Figaro at 17.00hrs French time this late afternoon, the leading group are tightly packed, the solo skippers doing all they…
The start of the second stage of the 53rd La Solitaire du Figaro leaving the bay of Port-la-Forêt
The second stage of the 53rd La Solitaire du Figaro left Brittany’s scenic bay of Port-la-Forêt in a gentle ESE’’ly breeze and perfect warm sunshine at 1300hrs this Sunday afternoon, ideal weather to muster dozens of spectator craft on the…
Conor Fogerty
There will be only 33 starters in the second leg of La Solitaire du Figraro on Sunday as injured Irish solo sailor Conor Fogerty of Howth withdraws.  Following his leg injury sustained during the final night of Stage 1, Fogerty…
Tom Dolan content with hard earned 14th on La Solitaire Stage 1 after sticking to his game plan
Irish solo racer Tom Dolan remained in a positive, upbeat mood in the post-race sunshine of Port La Foret, Brittany after finishing 14th on the first 559 miles stage of the 2022 La Solitaire du Figaro. Racing Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan, he…
Nils Palmieri (Teamwork)
With 150 nautical miles still to complete of the Stage 1 course shortened to 559 miles Swiss skipper Nils Palmieri (Teamwork) has established a break at the head of the 34 strong La Solitaire du Figaro lead after he made…
Ireland's Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) at Bishop Rock in the shortened first stage of La Solitaire du Figaro
With the course now shortened by 85 miles to 559 nautical miles because of intermittent periods of light winds, the leaders on Stage 1 of the 2002 La Solitaire du Figaro should round a virtual waypoint at the mouth of…
County Meath sailor Tom Dolan is vying for the lead in the first stage of La Solitaire du Figaro
Pre-race favourite Tom Laperche (Région Bretagne-CMB Performance) and Ireland’s Tom Dolan (Smurfit Kappa-Kingspan) are leading the 644 nautical miles Stage 1 of the 2022 La Solitaire du Figaro into the second day of racing since leaving Sunday afternoon’s start off…
The 34-boat Figaro fleet with three Irish sailors among them started leg one in light drizzle and a gentle southerly breeze
In light drizzle and a gentle southerly breeze Corentin Horeau (Mutuelle Bleue) made the best start to lead the 34-strong 2022 La Solitaire du Figaro fleet away from the mouth of the Loire estuary, opening a 648 nautical miles Stage…
The young talents and top internationals set to shine on the 53rd edition of La Solitaire du Figaro include three Irish skippers; Conor Fogerty, Kenny Rumball and Tom Dolan
The 34 skippers of the 53rd La Solitaire du Figaro and their Figaro Beneteau 3s left Nantes on Saturday, August 20th lunchtime and to sail down to Saint-Nazaire at the mouth of the Loire. They docked there for the night…

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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