The 47th edition of the Solitaire du Figaro will start from Deauville, France on 19th June 2016
The course will span 1,525nm between four European host venues – Deauville, Isle of Wight – Cowes, Paimpol and La Rochelle
vendredi 4 décembre 2015 –
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“This edition of the Solitaire will be particularly challenging,” Race Director Gilles Chiorri explained. “The coastal route will throw the game wide open, with skippers left to decide whether to stay closer to shore or go further offshore. To be successful around this course, the competitors will need seasoned offshore experience and tactical intelligence, enabling them to play the tides and weather to their advantage.”
Now in it’s 47th year, the Solitaire du Figaro is one of the world’s toughest sailing competitions. Fiercely competitive, the race is recognised as the world championships of solo offshore racing, with the course taking just over a month to complete. Requiring a unique skill set and a raw ambition present in so few, the Solitaire du Figaro pushes competitors to the edges of their physical and mental limits.
For the first time in race history, in 2016 the Solitaire du Figaro will stopover on the Isle of Wight. Starting Leg 1 from Deauville, the fleet will race the longest 510-mile leg across the channel, around the south of the Island to Lands end, before heading east along the UK south coast towards the finish line in Cowes – a maritime town famous for its unique sailing waters.
The Solitaire du Figaro Race Village will offer five days of fun family entertainment in Cowes, including food markets, a drinks bar, live music in the Race Village and try sailing for all on the Solent. Alongside the racing and live entertainment, there will be a host of interactive stands and activities to entertain the public.
Expected to arrive on the Isle of Wight around the 22nd June, the Solitaire du Figaro will stay in the UK until Sunday 26th June, when the fleet will set sail on Leg 2 (475nm) to Paimpol in Brittany. Leg 2 will take skippers back along the south coast of England and around the iconic Wolf Rock. From there, they will cross back into French waters to a mark off of Penmarc’h, sending the fleet north along the coast of Brittany past Ushant and through the infamous Raz de Seine.
From Paimpol, the fleet will race 410nm to La Rochelle, back through the Raz and cutting across the fickle waters of the Bay of Biscay. To end the 2016 Solitaire du Figaro, competitors will race a final 160nm around Île de Ré, an island linked to La Rochelle by an impressive bridge, and the small fishing island of Île d’Yeu. A short but tricky route, the tired skippers will be careful to avoid fish farms, trawlers and the wind shadows of the Islands.
The 2016 Solitaire du Figaro will finish in La Rochelle on the 7th July.
OC Sport Paris Events Director Mathieu Sarrot concluded :
“As 2016 is a Vendée Globe year, the Solitaire’s most experienced skippers may be absent. This means the stakes will be high among the intermediate skippers, the skippers who consistently finish top 10 on a leg, but can’t quite out sail the Yann Eliés and Jeremie Beyous among the fleet. This is the year of the Solitaire regulars, their time to shine.”
The 2016 course – 1,525nm :
Leg 1 : Deauville – Isle of Wight Cowes (via Wolf Rock) 510nm
Leg 2 : Isle of Wight Cowes – Paimpol (via Lands End and the Celtic Sea) 475nm
Leg 3 : Paimpol – La Rochelle 410nm
Leg 4 : La Rochelle – La Rochelle (via the Île d’Yeu) 130nm
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Solitaire du Figaro : Armel Le Cleac’h wins leg 2