79 skippers of which 25 are rookies, 6 are women and 8 from outside France, have registered to take part in La Solitaire du Figaro in 2008. For this 39th edition of the race, the competitors will follow in the footsteps of the original “Course de l’Aurore” race, a race made up of three stages, amounting to a new record 1,880 nautical miles.
La Solitaire du Figaro, one of the Summer’s highlight events in the Figaro sailor’s calendar, will take place between the 19th of July and 17th of August 2008. They are many, well and not so well known, professional and amateur, experienced or rookies, who are all keen to make their mark on the race. To date, seventy-nine have registered for this new edition and all are determined to be on the start line in La Rochelle on the 25th of July.
The notice of race does stipulate however that the number of competitors is limited to 55 and that those confirming their registration must do so before the 31st of May 2008.
Like every year, La Solitaire brings together one of the most important fleets of one design boats. Among the skippers announcing their intention to take part in the 2008 edition, we can find both the experienced and loyal to the Figaro Bénéteau circuit, as well as the rising young talent taking part for the first time.
They come back…After a few years off the scene, Alain Gautier returns to try and win the event yet again; Erwan Tabarly comes back sailing under new colours, while also entered are Ronan Guérin, Antoine Koch and Sébastien Audigane, who was sailing on Groupama 3 during their Trophée Jules Verne attempt.
The invincibles…such as Jean-Paul Mouren (22nd participation), Gildas Morvan, Nicolas Troussel (winner in 2006), Eric Drouglazet (winner in 2001), Thierry Chabagny, Jeanne Grégoire, Nicolas Béranger and others will fight it out to the bitter end for the best places.
Then you can’t take your eyes of the young and fiery such as Frédéric Duthil, Gildas Mahé, Thomas Rouxel, Nicolas Lunven rookie class winner in 2007), Christopher Pratt (rookie class winner in 2006) who really put those invincible ones to the test.
The 25 rookies entered to date confirm once again that La Solitaire du Figaro attracts new talent each year. Others have proved themselves in other offshore areas. The 2007 favourites on the Mini 6.50 circuit enter: Isabelle Joschke and Adrien Hardy.
From the dinghy and windsurfing worlds come Thibaut Vauchel-Camus, the Champion de France in F18 in 2007 and Arthur L Vaillant who finished 3rd in the windsurfing World Championship in 2006.
La Solitaire 2008 will have the pleasure of welcoming 8 international sailors: Antonio-Pedro Da Cruz (Cape Verde Islands), Pietro D’Ali (Italy), Andy Grenwood (Great Britain), Isabelle Joschke (Franco-German), Nigel King (Great Britain), Juan Merediz (Spain), Paul O’Rian (Ireland), Liz Wardley (Papa New Guinea).
Jacques Caraës, the Race Director explains: “ With 79 entries, once again we see a particularly talented selection of sailors for the 39th edition of La Solitaire du Figaro. Not only do we have the experienced, notably the return of Alain Gautier, the 1989 winner, but also a number of rookies who have come in strength; Adrien Hardy and Thibaut Vauchel-Camus, come from different areas of dinghy sailing; the Mini circuit, Mumm 30s…”
The sailors set off from La Rochelle on the 25th of July with the same and sole aim: to win La Solitaire du Figaro 2008. In order to cross the finish line in l’Aber Wrac’h in Brittany, as winner, they will have to excel in tactics, strategy, weather analysis, and also contact racing. The 1,880 nautical miles course will see the skippers across the English Channel, the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic Sea and the Irish and Celtic Seas
La Rochelle will play host to the Solitaire sailors for the 8th time. The boats will moor in the Chalutiers basin in the old port.
Race Village opens: Saturday 19th July
Prologue Suzuki: Wednesday 23rd of July
Start of the first leg: Friday 25th July
Vigo, in Galicia, welcomes the Figaro sailors for the third time. The race had not been hosted here since 1990.l
Expected arrival of the boats: Monday 28th July
Start of the 2nd leg: Thursday 31st July
The international sailing harbour of Cherbourg-Octeville, a major gateway to Europe, will host La Solitaire du Figaro for the sixth time.
Expected arrival of the boats: Monday 4th August
Start of the third leg: Friday 8th August
L’Aber Wrac’h, will crown the winner of the 2008 edition of La Solitaire du Figaro. It will be the first time the race goes to this little idyll in Brittany.
Expected arrival of the boats: Thursday 14th August
Nautical Parade: Sunday 17th August Qualifying Races:
In order to race in La Solitaire du Figaro 2008, the skippers must compete in one or more qualifying races:
- From 27th to the 29th of March 2008: Solo Figaro Les Sables
- From 1st April to 31st May 2008: Le Record SNSM – Saint-Nazaire – Saint-Malo
- From 9th to 11th May 2008: La Transmanche (Yacht Club des Abers)
- From 23rd to 25th May: Solo Figaro Portdefrance.com Concarneau Participating Skippers
||SURNAME First Name
||No. of participation excluding 2008|
||DA CRUZ Antonio -Pedro (Cap Vert)
||D'ALI Pietro (It)
||GREENWOOD Andy (GB)
||JOSCHKE Isabelle (Fr-Alle)
||KING Nigel (GB)
||LE BAUT Jimmy
||LE GAL Michaël
||LE GAL Franck
||LE MEITOUR Jean-Philippe
||LE MIERE Grégoire
||LE NABOUR Quentin
||LE VAILLANT Arthur
||MEREDIZ Juan (ESP)
||NEU PIETRI Guillaume
||O'RIAN Paul (Irl)
||PAVANT (de) Hugo
||WARDLEY Liz (Papouasie Nouvelle Guinée)